Monthly Archive: June 2009

Getting Brave

Tonight I got out of my house — something I rarely do on Mondays, but as I said, I’ve been feeling better.  I got on my bicycle.  OK, so I only rode it downhill, loaded it on the bus’ bike rack, and went downtown.  But I was planning on staying out later than the bus could get me home, and as unskilled as my legs are, a bike would be better than walking (at least downhill).

I went to a meeting of Asheville Radical Mental Health Collective, a group I helped found several years ago… but had not been to for at least 2 years, probably longer.  I have had some problems holding onto my energy at meetings if one particular person was there.  I thought I might be strong enough to handle it anyhow.

I got there early (6:30).  A couple of people came in shortly after, both their first time.  Eventually there were 6 people, one of whom claimed to have met me before.  All my friends, and that one person, were not in attendance.  About 8:00 someone I actually knew came in.  We had a good time, as always I was afraid I was monopolizing things but it seemed that what I knew and what I am was needed.  After the meeting, the last person to come in offered me a ride home, he had a pickup truck so I could just throw my bike in the back.

So I took care of myself, took a couple risks, and everything worked out in the end.  I did talk to three of my old ARMHC friends on the phone — two before the meeting, one after I got home.

Yay me!  Maybe I’ll try again next week.

I don’t have anything on my schedule except for Thursday, so I might take some time and get outside tomorrow and Wednesday — although Thursday is also likely to be payday which means the stress of paying bills.  I had a major good thing happen with my parents the other day, but best to keep that to ourselves, just letting you know that good things are happening.


I wrote the goddess who held my hand last Saturday night.  I woke up this morning, thinking I might look for her on MySpace.  I didn’t find her there, but had a thought that I might find her on Facebook (which I had been avoiding, as many of you know).  She was there.  Looking just as beautiful.

So I wrote her a quick note.  She responded that she also did have a MySpace and also MyYearbook.  I went back over to MySpace and “Friended” her there.  I then wrote her a note, a bit longer… long enough to put both feet in my mouth clear up to my hip, but I was honest.

To be serious, I’m not trying to get her to fall for me… but I’ve already fallen, and I want to know if that’s where she wants me, or should I get back up and keep going…  Her relationship status on Facebook is “Complicated”, I don’t know what that means or how scared I should be.


Doing all right

Managed to get through Thursday’s meeting without any triggering, still felt good enough when I got home to go back out and do Open Mic Night, and last night only needed 7.5 hours’ sleep… I usually get 10-12 or more Thursday night, just to recover…

I’ve been getting some nudge-nudge-wink-wink comments from some friends about last weekend.  Any of you who think that the Thursday night event was even CLOSE to the Saturday night event don’t know me at all.  I just wish I would get an email from her…

I haven’t previously mentioned that I was made a Moderator at the Beyond Meds website – .  The blog attached to this website is the #1 rated blog in the US on mental health issues, and the writer is a personal friend (in fact, only lives about 2-3 miles away).  This gives me access to even more people searching for alternatives to their pharmaceutical overlords.


Dammit, triggered again

One of my closest friends tonight — a woman who has been badly abused and still doesn’t believe she is beautiful — tried to get me to play the old male game of “nudge, nudge, wink, wink” about my events of the past weekend.  I froze up and asked her to stop, and she devalued my feelings (“Pish Tosh” fits my definition of this).  I’m sitting here all locked up again, like I know I didn’t do anything wrong but someone wants me to say I did…  I have spent a lifetime trying to NOT be like a stupid so-called male who can only alternate between making fun of the women he got to bed and bragging about his own prowess.  I had a good time Thursday night, and so did she, and I got some GOOD NATURED comments from my Family about it.  This was not, although she kept trying to protest that (a) she didn’t mean anything and (b) I was being too sensitive.  Well HELL, sensitive is what I TRY to be.  She is usually good at it herself.  I hope there’s an explanation for it.  I maybe should be mad, but I’m too scared…


What I Did With My Weekend

I spent a long weekend – Thursday through Sunday – at a camping site called Splendor Hollow, one of the few places I call “home”, with SerpentStone Family, which I call “Family” (and which naming has been proven accurate over and over since 1996).  This weekend was easily the best weekend in my life, despite other weekends I may have called such, and for many reasons.

First off, I do not give many workshops… in fact, I don’t believe I have had one at a Gathering since the time I was taking psych drugs (which time, as many of you reading the know, ended in November of 2003).  This weekend I had two, one called “Hinduism 101” (many pagans WANT to know about Hinduism) and the other “Malas and Mantras with Moss”.  Both were well-attended and well-received… well, I want to give more details than that.

On my way to the Gather, in which I was transported by Lady Rhiannon (the spiritual head of the Family and I could not possibly have asked for better company and conversation), I talked about a book I had been reading, “Agnes’ Jacket”.  I had gotten through the first four chapters, which mostly dealt with voice-hearers.  Some time during the conversation, I became aware that the critical thoughts in my head, which were not at all like me but were VERY like the criticisms I took all the time as a child, were being responded to by me in the same way those who hear voices respond to their voices, quite often triggering fears and, hence, poor performance of whatever they are doing.  I knew that the criticisms I was thinking were no longer valid, if ever they were, but they triggered my worst, most nerve-wracked moments.

This morning (Monday, June 22) I decided I am a “deaf voice-hearer” — doesn’t matter whether I hear a voice, I still get the message, so I must be using other faculties.  However, before the weekend began, in the car talking to Lady Rhiannon (who hates to be called “Lady” as she feels no need to be held in higher esteem than others in the Family), I had decided that I didn’t need to follow my triggers anymore.  I had spent years working to not be the person my “non-voices” kept telling me I was (or was in danger of becoming if I did not listen to them).  It was no different from not listening to the VOCAL criticisms I have learned to stop giving myself, the energy-robbing, initiative-stealing negative thoughts.  At this moment (Thursday morning in the car with Rhiannon), it was a small and simple, even easy, step to take, so I decided to take it.

If that were the only thing good that happened, it would have been a great weekend.

Most people do not get to the Gather until Friday, some even Saturday, and I was there at Noon on Thursday.  My tent was the first erected on site, I even took a picture of what Splendor Hollow looks like without tents, something I had never before seen.  Two hours later, after a nap I took during a thunderstorm, I awoke to find about 20 campsites set up.

Thursday night I had trouble sleeping early, and heard one group of voices across the site and decided to visit them and have a good conversation.  I found about 4 or 5 people, one of whom was a very lovely lady who was also very obviously already 3/4 way through a bottle of R&R Canadian Whisky.  She started passing it to me during the conversation… and about the time the conversation was breaking up, perhaps 90 minutes or two hours later, she (in her words) pounced on me (which she apologized for later, although not as if it were a mistake).  The next few hours were spent in her tent, and I won’t give details… although she was loud enough that it got to be the talk of the Gather for the next day or so.  (I do not mind at all taking responsibility for giving pleasure.  I do not, however, take responsibility for the volume the other person chooses to employ  in expressing this pleasure.)  Yes, I’m bragging.  About f’ing time, too, in the past I would have been so embarassed as to never show my face again for the rest of the weekend, and be scared about attending future gatherings.  (Note that she, among all mentioned in this particular blog, was not named.  I think that’s the right thing to do.)  I will state that this has never happened to me before at a Gather, and I’m not expecting it to happen again but hey, whatever, ya know?  Pagan gathers are NOT gigantic f’-fests, as many people believe them to be… if you want that kind of thing, there are gathering FOR that kind of thing.  It’s not my kind of thing.  I like to be able to talk to people afterwards (and before, and sometimes even during), whereas that kind of gather usually doesn’t have much to do with talking.

If that were the only thing that happened, it would have been a great weekend.

There are many loving and knowledgeable people in my Family.  There are many truth-tellers as well, which is a good thing.  There is no one person I know who is both of these things more so than Owl.  If Owl thinks you may be sensitive to the truth he is about to tell you, and cares, he will warn you first if you have asked for it… and then he will tell you, with no prevarication whatever, and most times you will find yourself laughing your head off at the bright truth of it and the way it comes out his mouth.

Owl’s wife, Mau, is also a truth-teller and someone whose knowledge and spirit I honor.

Both came to my Hinduism 101 workshop.

In times past, I would have wilted or turned into a ball of nerves, am I going to say the right thing, in the right way… how much will they feel the need to correct me…

Instead I welcomed their presence — if indeed I did not cover the material as well as I wished to, not only could either of them improve my knowledge but that would, in turn, improve my workshop, and it gave me a chance to practice ignoring my triggers.

I sailed through the workshop.  There were many bright eyes.  When I completed a section on the history of the various sects of Hinduism, I looked at Owl and Mau, and asked Owl directly, “Did I miss anything?”  And Owl didn’t blink (do owls ever? LOL), he looked at me and said, simply, “No, I think you’ve pretty well covered it all.”

If that was all that happened, it would have been a great and successful weekend.  (Even better, I was talking with some friends including Mau later Saturday night, and Mau said she was so impressed with the workshop she called Starrah and told her about it — Starrah being another Family member whose knowledge and affection I treasure, but who was not at this Gather.)

I went to a workshop Owl was leading, at the same site and immediately before my second workshop.  During the workshop, Owl referred to a statement which, at one point, was common in pagan rituals but which, he said, has long since been forgotten, “by just about everyone, except maybe Moss.”  I’m amazed someone didn’t start looking for an off switch, I was glowing so brightly.  I did tell him, no, I didn’t know that one… but it was clear I was being viewed — by someone whose knowledge and affection I valued most highly — as a valuable resource, not someone who was going to fuck up all the time — and piss everyone off — the way my thoughts had it.

If that ONE COMMENT was the only thing that happened, it would have been as great a weekend as I have had, probably in the top 20 all time.

Needless to say, I sailed through my second workshop just as well.  With one funny exception.  I had separated the handouts from the first workshop from those of the second, and thought I had left the FIRST group of handouts in my tent… then discovered, no, I had left the handouts for THIS workshop behind.  No problem, I asked people to wait as I went to my tent, got the handouts, and returned, without dissolving into a nervous mass of embarrassed tissue as I would have in the past, and the workshop went on gloriously after that.

I will state that the closing part of the workshop was to chant “OM GAM GANAPATAYEI NAMAHA” for a full round of 108 times, ALL of us in the workshop (many of us with malas).  I would further add that this workshop was being done at the Central Fire, a spot which has years and years of energy being worked around it (and that this choice was intentional on my part).

I have asked certain members of the Family, including all at that workshop, to keep records of what walls fall in their presence, including (especially) ones they were not aware of the presence of.

Saturday night was even better, although I had already begun to succumb to heat exhaustion.  I got in another late, deep conversation, on a variety of topics.  I held my own without feeling the least obnoxious.  I had about the right amount of alcohol — and then they started passing more to me.  I refused a few times, but then after you get so much in you, you stop refusing.  So I was beyond where I wanted to be.  However, all during this time, a beautiful woman was sitting next to me  on my right (and at other times I had one or two other beauties on my left side)… at some time early in the discussion she reached over and held my hand.  That’s all.  We smiled at each other a lot, but nothing was expected — i.e., we were in the company we wanted to be in, and we were holding each other’s hand.  I did not waste my time thinking whether it was a signal of something else (remember my non-voices?  they get REALLY BAD in situations like this, and I start wondering what she wanted me to do next, or if I don’t do something will she be insulted, or… or… or…  Well, this time they SHUT THE F*** UP and left me to enjoy the fact that a beautiful woman was holding my hand, and a wonderful conversation among several friends was going on including us and around us.)

If that had been the only thing that happened, it would have been a GREAT weekend.  I also know she knows how to contact me should she choose to do so, and I’m not going to worry about whether or not, or when, that is going to happen.

In the meantime, I completed knitting two hats over the weekend, got to play a fair bit of music, sold a few malas and a mala bag, hung out with some of the most beautiful, wonderful, spiritual people in the world, with all of them accepting me as the same and as Family.

After the Gather, Lady Rhiannon’s daughter, Diana, was my ride home… but first we went to Golden Corral in Sevierville TN for dinner — myself, Diana, Rhiannon, Astarte, Owl and Mau.  The conversation was as always exceptional, I was not nervous in the least (I hope to not even have to keep saying that, and that a time will come when I will forget about my past nervousness because it was SO FAR IN THE PAST as to be immaterial).  The air-conditioned atmosphere and good food went a long way to healing the effects of my heat exhaustion.

And if THAT were the only thing that happened, it would have been a great weekend.  The trip home with Diana was at times good music, at times good conversation, and at times I just sat in the passenger seat and knitted (finishing my second hat of the weekend.)

So.  I had a WONDERFUL weekend, probably my best ever.  My next step is to learn that I don’t have to tell everyone about my weekend (the non-voices say that if nobody knows, it didn’t really happen or wasn’t all that important.  I’ll get over that.  Soon?)

This is NOT a work of fiction.  Some details may be different from someone else’s perspective, and MY wonderful weekend was not the ONLY wonderful weekend had.



Guess I haven’t been posting much here.  Had a few things to post on my LJ and one or two for my MySpace, because they fit there better, but gotta remember this is MY BLOG.

Not much going on.  Computer are working great.  Been a little low-energy lately, but that should pick up by next weekend.  I still haven’t called for an acupuncture appointment.  Helped someone on the phone last night, who had found my phone number on the Internet and NEEDED to talk to me, that definitely picked me up some… or maybe it was the Terri Tea I was drinking, or both…

I’ve been mostly off Messenger lately, and mostly invisible when I’m on.  Used to be I would talk to anyone and everyone, now I wait for someone to want to talk to me or someone I really like talking to.  Also could be a sign of the low energy mentioned earlier.

I’m trying to get people interested in MadPride Asheville, which I have scheduled for July 11 at The Old Magnolia Tree in front of City Hall…  anyone wants to join in, come on down.  MadPride is a celebration of we gleefully maladjusted people, sponsored/coordinated by MindFreedom International — of which I am not only a member but, by virtue of being President of Asheville Homeless Network, head of a Sponsoring Organization.

Ah well.  Minor disappointment last Thursday, I thought my whole half hour concert was being recorded but they only recorded the first two songs… and may only release one of them to the podcast.


Most Blogs Now Abandoned: Slashdot

Most Blogs Now Abandoned on Monday June 08, @04:19PM

Posted by ScuttleMonkey on Monday June 08, @04:19PM
from the short-attention-span dept.
The Narrative Fallacy writes “Douglas Quenqua reports in the NY Times that according to a 2008 survey only 7.4 million out of the 133 million blogs the company tracks had been updated in the past 120 days meaning that “95 percent of blogs being essentially abandoned, left to lie fallow on the Web, where they become public remnants of a dream — or at least an ambition — unfulfilled.” Richard Jalichandra, chief executive of Technorati, said that at any given time there are 7 million to 10 million active blogs on the Internet, but it’s probably between 50,000 and 100,000 blogs that are generating most of the page views. “There’s a joke within the blogging community that most blogs have an audience of one.” Many people who think blogging is a fast path to financial independence also find themselves discouraged. “I did some Craigslist postings to advertise it, and I very quickly got an audience of about 50,000 viewers a month,” says Matt Goodman, an advertising executive in Atlanta who had no trouble attracting an audience to his site, Things My Dog Ate, leading to some small advertising deals. “I think I made about $20 from readers clicking on the ads.””

For the rest of the article and comments, visit

Are we going to let this happen to Xanga?


Hippo Haven Updates

I have just updated my website ( ) with articles #22 and 23 from my series, “Door to the Beyond: Paganism and Mental Health”.  I’m sure you will enjoy them, so please do.  I also have posted my earliest articles, the editorials I wrote for CultWatch Response Newsletter back in the late 1980s.  When you visit the website, click on “My Writings (Prose)” and the whole vista will open to you.  (No relation to Microsoft.)


Computer setup is running great.  After trying a few different distros, I went back to Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope.  Runs great, no known problems.  All I have to do to jump from Windoze to Linux is push a button, and both are connected (through an old hub) to the Internet.  The only thing not accessible to both computers is the printer, and it doesn’t play nice with Linux anyhow.