A Conscious Change

This is the follow-up post to Driving Towards The End Of The World – After The End Of The World, Part One, a look back on 2012 and my own personal adventure during that year riding the bipolarcoaster, creating art and watching the wheels go round and round as each day we moved closer to the end of the world…

In this post we go down a rabbit hole of books – into fear and loathing, conspiracy theories, alien abductions, near-death experiences and finally into the NOW as I write about my reading journey to the fringes of the world of ideas in pursuit of my subject, consciousness – while looking for better descriptions of the human experience.

After The End Of The World, Part Two

Book-pile

Change is an unpredictable process. Every day you’re constantly in the process of changing, but once in a great while a quantum leap kind-of-change can come along and really speed up the process.

It arrives suddenly, quickly, in a moment, but it’s usually the result of a number of changes over a period of time which have built on each other like a kind of pressure. When there’s a new vibration, frequency or idea which pushes the pressure past the tipping point a quantum leap change can happen – and then suddenly everything becomes different.

After the year I’d had in 2012, and the devastation which depression was wrecking upon my psyche, I desperately needed a change. Not an external change but one inside me… and not a little change but the quantum leap size change. I just had no idea what it could be that would do this, or how to get there… Continue reading

Driving Towards The End Of The World

Introduction  – The Ongoing Documentation Of Life

For over 30 years I’ve been consciously saving little souvenirs of my journey through life – stuff to help document the adventure. I don’t know why this is so important to me, but it is, and it affects much of the way I approach life.

Writing has played a huge part of the documentation process – years and years of filling up journals, writing and editing stories posted on the internet and numerous short essays that I’ve never published. Millions of words just trying to capture the experience of one human being during this pilgrimage here on planet Earth.

Here is the latest installment in the story reflecting on the year I had in 2012 – it’s called “Driving Towards The End Of The World”. I choose that title because, you know, the world was supposed to end last year, which it didn’t 🙂

So before I jump into writing about some really nice changes that have happened since the end of the world I thought I should post something to document 2012 from this one human being’s perspective…

After The End Of The World, Part One

jon-2012December 21, 2012 – a.k.a. “the end of the world” – was quite a good day for me. Probably one of the best days I’d had in weeks, and definitely one of my top ten best days of 2012.

Maybe I was just glad we had reached that date we had all been speculating about for years, or maybe the day really did have some special cosmic alignment I was feeling. Maybe it was because my wife and best friend, Tania, had the day off and it was a wonderful happy morning around the homestead… whatever the cause, it was a day where the burdens of the world slipped from my shoulders for a moment, and the depression, which this year had been the worst it has ever been for me, was pushed back for a moment.

Now that the end of the world was behind us I could feel like something else might happen. Like we had passed a giant border sign while driving through a long desert, “Welcome to the State of Now”. At first nothing seems different, but when you stop for gas at the first town across the border you realize you truly are in a different state, and all that entails…

Continue reading

Talking Medical Marijuana Blues

An Introduction

Since 2007 I’ve been a member of a number of different collectives in Long Beach.

I’ve volunteered, built websites, taken photos of over 300 different strains of medical marijuana, and grown to care about a number of incredible people.

I’ve also watched one collective after another crumble under the burden of legal fees, changing city regulations and other costs associated with always having to fight to stay open…

My personal history with medical marijuana goes back much further than that however, back to when I first started using marijuana in 1983.

I’ve spent a lot of years watching the medical marijuana story get to where we are today, and in this series I share my motivation for being an activist, talk about being a collective member, and about my own medical use of marijuana.

And then there’s this – RIGHT NOW, in Long Beach, our collectives are facing the prospect of having our city council ban them on Tuesday evening, and all my thinking about this has given me the talking medical marijuana blues – Enjoy!

Talking Medical Marijuana Blues – Part One

Includes the story: The Man On The Other Side Of The Wall

“On Tuesday night, November 18th, I got home from work, sat in my big chair, kicked back, and for the first time in my life smoked marijuana legally…”

Talking Medical Marijuana Blues – Part Two

I Get By With The Help Of My Friends – a brief look at my personal history with medical marijuana…

“There was a time, not very long ago, when I would often have to wait for days, sometimes a week to get my medicine. Sometimes nothing would be available from the few friends I knew, who knew a friend, who knew a friend who could get marijuana for them…”

Talking Medical Marijuana Blues – Part Three

Talking ‘Bout My Medication – looking at the different ways to use medical marijuana and how I use it…

“I wasn’t diagnosed with Bi-Polar Disorder until I was 33 years old. This revelation – that there was a medical reason, of some kind, behind my most confusing moods and actions – caused a paradigm shift that made me look back over my life through a new perspective…”

Talking Medical Marijuana Blues – Part Four

Rev. Martin Luther KingWe Shall Overcome! – talking about the situation here in Long Beach, right now – about the City Attorney’s effort to ban the collectives, and how you can help!

“Rev. Martin Luther King stated over 40 years ago in a speech that “the arc of the moral Universe is long, but it’s bent towards Justice…”

During my long, personal civil rights march towards medical marijuana justice I’ve seen that this statement is true, just as I also believe that one day ‘we shall overcome!'”

We Shall Overcome!

Talking Medical Marijuana Blues – Part Four

Rev. Martin Luther King stated over 40 years ago in a speech that “the arc of the moral Universe is long, but it’s bent towards Justice…”

During my long, personal civil rights march towards medical marijuana justice I’ve seen that this statement is true, just as I also believe that one day “we shall overcome!”

My heart can not be moved from the fact that our cause is morally right, and that we, as a people, are constantly making progress in that march towards freedom and justice.

I know we will prevail, if not today, then tomorrow…

Long Beach – Right Now – Stop The Ban

From an Americans For Safe Access email I got today:

The Long Beach City Council will consider a ban on medical cannabis patients’ associations in the city at tomorrow’s meeting. Americans for Safe Access (ASA) is calling on patients and advocates to oppose this ban. It failed to get enough votes last month… let’s be sure it loses again this week!

Take a minute right now to email members of the Long Beach City Council and tell them to vote no on a ban. Instead, City Council Members should work with stakeholders to find a better solution. ASA’s online action center makes it easy to email the City Council Members right now.

You can attend the Long Beach City Council Meeting to talk to the City Council Members in person on Tuesday, January 17, at 5:00 PM. The meeting is in Council Chambers, 333 W. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach, CA 90802. Arrive early to complete a public speaker’s card for agenda item #25 under “Unfinished Business” on Tuesday’s agenda.

Legal patients rely on patients’ cooperatives and collectives for safe access to the medicine they need to treat the symptoms of cancer, HIV/AIDS, Multiple Sclerosis, chronic pain, and other serious conditions. Closing cooperatives and collectives will harm patients, but research conducted by ASA shows that sensible regulations reduce crime and complaints while preserving patients’ access. The Long Beach City Council should work with patients and other community members to improve the existing medical cannabis ordinance, instead of banning patients’ associations outright.

Thank you for helping to defend safe access in Long Beach,

Don Duncan
California Director

Why This Is A Bad Idea

Here a few points I’d like to bring up as to why this plan to ban the collectives is such a bad idea…

Why This Is A Bad Idea – Infrastructure

Right now, in Long Beach we have an infrastructure of medical marijuana collectives that serve thousands of patients everyday. Many of these collectives, run by non-profits, have invested thousands of dollars each to build establishments that comply with the regulations the city passed several years ago.

Those regulations were badly constructed, but could be re-written to conform to the court order against them. But banning collectives outright would immediately cripple the existing infrastructure – forcing thousands of patients into the black market to get their medicine.

You could basically call banning the collectives as a “Gang Stimulus Program.” I don’t think that’s what we want to do…

Why This Is A Bad Idea – Lawsuits

The collectives have already spent thousands of dollars in legal fees fighting this effort by our City Attorney Bob Shannon. I do not doubt that if the city attempts to close down the collectives, law suits are bound to follow.

After millions of dollars have been spent throughout the city by various collectives to be in compliance with the city’s regulation, I just can’t imagine this ending quietly, without lawsuits, can you?

Why This Is A Bad Idea – Good Neighborhoods and Law Enforcement

Studies have shown that cities with well-regulated collectives have lower crime rates, better neighborhoods, and that the collectives attract customers to the surrounding businesses.

Over and over again, in spite of the fears of those that say collectives will increase crime, it has been seen that crime actually drops, and many neighboring businesses report that they are thankful for the increased security provided by the collectives as well as the extra customers. In most cases, well-regulated collectives have been considered very good neighbors.

Our police chief doesn’t seem to believe any of this and would like to put our thin police resources to work shutting down all the collectives. I really have to question the wisdom of those priorities.

When over 70% (being very conservative with that number) of the residents of the city are actually in favor of medical marijuana, I not only question the wisdom of our police chief, but also his motivation.

 How You Can Help

Stop The Ban

Call A Long Beach City Council Member

Here’s a list of their phone numbers, as well as links to the LBCA website’s council district Take Action page for each council member:

So Much Things To Say…

There is many other issues around the subject of medical marijuana I could go into, but I’m going to wrap this up here for the time being.

Thank you for reading. Much of what I’ve written is more candid then I expected to be, but this is an extremely important issue, and I hope I can do my part to help us move forward.

Jon, onehumanbeing
Long Beach, CA – January 16, 2012

Previously:

Talking Medical Marijuana Blues – Part One
Includes the story: The Man On The Other Side Of The Wall

Talking Medical Marijuana Blues – Part Two
I Get By With The Help Of My Friends – a brief look at my personal history with medical marijuana…

Talking Medical Marijuana Blues – Part Three
Talking ‘Bout My Medication – looking at the different ways to use medical marijuana and how I use it…

Talking ‘Bout My Medication

Talking Medical Marijuana Blues – Part Three

A Life Long Journey

I wasn’t diagnosed with Bi-Polar Disorder until I was 33 years old. This revelation – that there was a medical reason, of some kind, behind my most confusing moods and actions – caused a paradigm shift that made me look back over my life through a new perspective.

Over time I came to see how this disorder had been with me my whole life, starting as a little child, becoming much more severe during my teen-age years, quieter during my twenties, and then finally an emotion collapse in early 1998 that lead to my diagnosis.

Making My Body Fit

For as long as I can remember I’ve lived in a very uncomfortable body – like I don’t exactly fit in my body, or as if “me” and my body were constantly twisted against one another. As you can imagine, this feeling gets horribly annoying. This is one of the on-going, daily realities I deal with as part of this thing called Bi-Polar Spectrum Disorder.

When I think about my disorder, this is the first thing I think about. After years of feeling this way, discovering something that makes this feeling go away for awhile was like discovering gold.

Unless you’ve lived with a chronic condition you don’t know what just a few hours a day of relief can do for a person. Many times it has been, literally, a life-saver.

Without exaggerating at all I could easily say – “if there was no other thing that medical marijuana did for me, this one thing would be worth all the money I’ve ever spend, all the time I’ve used as an activist, all the time I’ve spent thinking and praying about this issue.” This one aspect of this medicine is that important to me. But that’s not all this plant does for me.

Moods, Getting Stuck, Depressions and Hypo-Manias

Unfortunately, this uncomfortableness I experience isn’t the only symptom of this disorder. There is the ever-changing moods, a roller coaster ride of thoughts, feeling, ideas, and perceptions that move in cycles from high to low, and in cycles within the cycles.

And then there’s the relentless depressions – sometimes you just get stuck in a depression that won’t lift for weeks – like being caught in a giant whirlpool that spins you around and around while dragging you further and further underwater.

During these depressions I have a hard time getting around to using marijuana, often spending the whole day being beat up by a relentless depression before my wife can convince me to take a smoke break, to have a marijuana break.

This may seem odd, but depression pretty much wipes out all your desire to do anything to fix your misery – even the one thing that has worked over and over again.

I can not even count the number of times this has rescued a day from the hard grip of depression and brought me a few hours of relief.

With hypo-manias it’s the exact opposite – I can’t smoke enough marijuana, and I can end up smoking it like cigarettes.

[Note: Hypo-manias are a lot like typical Manias, but don’t go to the same extremes – Thank God!]

I don’t need any encouragement to smoke during a mania, but it helps to keep me from being overtaken by the moment – thanks to marijuana’s well-known mellowing qualities.

But Smoking Isn’t Medicine Is It?

Many people, including our President, Barack Obama, have stated, as if it were a fact, that marijuana is not medicine because it is smoked.

This is, of course, complete nonsense.

Not only is smoking just one of the ways to get the medicine in the marijuana plant into your body, but the truth is, smoking is a very effective and, for the most part, a harmless way to deliver the drug to the body.

Not All Smoke Is The Same

Even though this seems a little elementary to state, I will any way – not all forms of smoke are the same.

When most people think of smoking it seems they think of cigarette smoking, and without thinking it completely through, automatically equate marijuana smoke with cigarette smoke.

But just as smoke from a burning toxic trash dump is different from a camp fire’s smoke, cigarette smoke is completely different from marijuana smoke.

And like I said, smoking isn’t the only way to get the medicine from the plant to your body.

The Medical Rope Trick

Try this picture. Imagine there was a special rope that contained a variety of medicines. These medicines can do great things – if you can just get them from the rope into your body. How could you go about doing this?

Smoking

One way is to burn the rope and inhale the smoke. While you do ingest a portion of the medicine in a manner that delivers it very quickly to the blood stream and to the brain, you destroy a lot of the medicine in the burning process.

There are several different ways you can smoke marijuana – smoking a joint, using a pipe or using a bong.

Smoking, using a glass pipe is my preferred way to “take my medicine.” I happen to like the feel of marijuana smoke filling up my lungs, but not everyone feels that way though…

Eating

Another way to get the medicine in your body is to eat it.

The active ingredients in the plant are alcohol and fat soluble – meaning that you can cook the plant in a fat, like butter, or in alcohol, to break it down and use it as a baking or cooking ingredient.

When you eat marijuana it is processed differently by your body than when you smoke it. It takes longer for the medicine to kick in, and the effects last a lot longer.

I’ve seen so many different kinds of edibles over the last few years, from the standard “pot brownie” to amazing gourmet wonders, from sodas to candies, from cheese puffs to pretzel sticks to extra-virgin, marijuana infused, olive oil.

Unfortunately, I don’t really like to use edibles…

Tinctures

As I stated above, marijuana is alcohol soluble, which makes it possible to make it into a tincture. Tinctures have a long medical history, because it made it possible to remove the medical properties from medicinal herbs and plants and store them until they needed to be administered, nice and conveniently by the teaspoon.

We now have glycerines that make it possible to do the same thing, but without the alcohol.

I love tinctures! I use a brand called MJ Wild Nectars. Here’s something I posted back in 2010 about Tinctures:

Edibles Without The Sugar

Not all medical marijuana patients like to smoke or vape their medicine, but prefer the effects of edibles instead.

The problem is you don’t always want to have to eat something to get that effect… or, if you’re a diabetic than your choices of edibles are severely limited because most edibles are cookies, brownies, cakes and other sweets.

Tinctures might help you get around those problems…

Tinctures

About Alcohol Based Tinctures

In medicine, a tincture is an alcoholic extract (e.g. of leaves or other plant material) or solution of a non-volatile substance; (e.g. of iodine, mercurochrome). To qualify as a tincture, the alcoholic extract is to have an ethanol percentage of at least 40-60% (sometimes a 90% pure liquid is even achieved). [1] In herbal medicine, alcoholic tinctures are often made with various concentrations of ethanol, 25% being the most common.

Source: from Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tincture

About Glycerines Based Tinctures

Glycerines have a shorter shelf life than alcohol based tinctures and while they can sit on the shelf I refrigerate mine. Vegetable glycerine has nearly no impact on blood sugar or insulin and is very low in calories (4.3 per gram). It’s sweet taste makes the tincture more palatable than the alcohol based tincture and is a suitable substitute for those concerned with alcohol consumption.

Source: AAMJ http://www.letfreedomgrow.com/recipes/glycerine_tincture.htm

Introducing MJ’s Wild Nectar Tinctures

Fruit nectar and honey blended glycerin-based tinctures from MJ’s Wild Nectar come in a wide variety of flavors – Raspberry Raw Honey, Perfect Peach Nectar, Chocolate Raw Honey, Mango Tango Nectar and many more.

Donation amount for each bottle is only $25 and provides enough medicine for a number of doses – depending on the strength you require.

Medicating a couple drops at a time…

These tinctures are high in Cannabichromene (abbreviated as CBC), which provides more body relief than the psychoactive effects caused primarily by THC.

Application is easy – just a couple of drops on the tongue and then wait 15 to 30 minutes…

Note: Like with all herbal medicines, it may take a couple applications to judge what strength is best for you.

Vaporizers

The last Medical Rope Trick I want to mention is the one that is probably the safest and most effective, and that is using a vaporizer.

You don’t have to heat marijuana to the burning point to get it to release it’s medicine. When marijuana reaches a temperature of close to 300 degrees it begins to give off vapors – a tasty mist of medicine – while not causing the plant material to burn.

There are many different kinds of vaporizers on the market to choose from, and quite frankly, I’m not well enough informed about all the different styles to give any advice on which kind to choose.

I will tell you that the best one I’ve ever had the pleasure of trying is the “Volcano” brand, but it’s around $500-$600 (and well worth it)  – it’s on my dream list.

Oh That Crazy Federal Government…

In spite of the numerous reports, studies, personal stories and other evidence, our federal Government’s official position is, in a hold-over from the Nixon era, that marijuana has no medicinal value.

This position is scientifically absurd and has been disproved numerous times, but it’s their story, and they’re sticking to it…

“But I’ve been to the mountain top, and I’ve seen the other side… I’m here to tell you that we as a people will get to that other side!”

Coming up in Part Four (on Martin Luther King Day, 2012) I’ll be discussing how you can help change things – Right Now – Today – In This Very Moment!

Next: Talking Medical Marijuana Blues – Part Four – We Shall Overcome!

Previously:

Talking Medical Marijuana Blues – Part One
Includes the story: The Man On The Other Side Of The Wall

Talking Medical Marijuana Blues – Part Two
I Get By With The Help Of My Friends – a brief look at my personal history with medical marijuana…

I Get By With The Help Of My Friends

Talking Medical Marijuana Blues – Part Two

That’s No Way To Get Your Medicine

There was a time, not very long ago, when I would often have to wait for days, sometimes a week to get my medicine. Sometimes nothing would be available from the few friends I knew, who knew a friend, who knew a friend who could get marijuana for them.

I guess that’s a pretty tolerable situation if you’re just buying marijuana for recreational use, just as a weekend kind-of-thing… but horrible for someone who really uses it as a medicine.

Can you imagine a diabetic having to do this to get insulin?

Of course, you could make your own insulin – if you know how and can afford the manufacturing process…

Grow Your Own

I wish I could grow top-grade marijuana, but I’m not very good at it. I know because I tried for a whole year.

In California our Attorney General has issued guidelines for medical marijuana to try and help clarify some of the legal issue within the state. One aspect of these guidelines was to set the personal plant limit at 6 mature plants OR 12 immature plants.

I set-up an indoor grow several years ago for only 5 plants, just to be safe and stay below the limit.

I got 5 Mr. Nice clones (Mr. Nice is a “double-indica” strain that produces short marijuana bushes – very good for an indoor grow like mine) and built a small 4’x6′ grow closet complete with medical marijuana stickers and labeling to make sure it was all identifiable as a medical grow.

I loved my little grow. I learned all kinds of stuff about nutrients and pest control, PH balance and watering schedules – I was into it. I invested over $1000 to get it all set-up and running. I was going to prove to myself that I had a green thumb and could grow my own medicine.

The first crop I grew ended up being so-so. I tried not to be too disappointed, but… I was. I thought to myself, “that was just a learning period – now I really knew what I was doing…”

Crop number two was even less impressive, and when I switched strains after the second crop and grew something else, I ended up with some pretty low to mid-grade medicine and became thoroughly disillusioned with the idea of myself as a “self-sustaining grower of my own medicine.”

I dismantled the grow closet and turned it into an art storage rack, gave all my grow equipment to the collective I belonged to at the time, and since then I happily rely on professionals to grow my medicine.

The Benefits Of Being A Collective Member

Here is an excerpt from a posting a couple of years ago on The MMJ Project:

Being in a collective creates an opportunity for them [the collective] to purchase the herb for a larger number of people, lowering the prices for everyone involved…

Of course, to start, you need some people to put up large amounts of money as capital for the collective and those who keep a eye on the business side of things, making sure all the bills are paid on time and that everything is kept financially legal – like in any business.

Other people bring different talents, skills and time to the collective and get compensated for their contributions – and often it’s comes as below cost or free herb – a benefit that helps keep the medicine bills in check – all the volunteers at AAC [the collective I belonged to at the time] are also medical patients.

Still other people are members of the collective who just come by to pick up their herb and they pay what is needed to help cover the costs…

All the different levels of involvement are important and needed.

But the most important part is that the goal is a sustainable model with ever lowering costs instead of a huge profit goal with ever higher investor returns and excessive wealth. A collective, like a co-op, is for mutual benefit of all it’s members…

source: http://mmj.onehumanbeing.com/inside/2009/04/28/updates-april-28th-2009/

Financially Speaking

So what does it cost to buy marijuana at a collective?

I started going to medical marijuana collectives in 2007, four years after I got my first medical marijuana recommendation from my Kaiser psychiatrist.

At the time I would pay around $70 for a decent “eighth” of marijuana. An eighth is 3.5 grams – and if you figure a joint is around .5 to .7 grams, then an eighth will provide about 5 or 6 joints.

Because I could use one joint for two different times of “taking my medicine”, I was paying about $6 per “dose” of medicine.

I had a friend, who had a friend, who could get me a “quarter”, or 7 grams, for around $100, but I never knew what I’d get, and how good it would be for me. The collective had over a dozen different strains to choose from, so I went there whenever I could… but it gets really expensive, very fast.

Currently my daily use can be up to about 2 grams a day – during deep depressions- and more during periods of hypo-manias, so you can imagine how expensive this medicine was…

At the collective I go to now, the same quality medicine would cost only $35-$45 for an eighth, but most of the medicine is much better than I could get just 4 years ago.

Since 2008 I’ve become a volunteer at most of the collectives I belong to, taking photographs of the different strains, helping with the website and generally contributing whatever skills I can to help offset the cost of my medicine.

The Uphill Battle And The Casualties

Unfortunately, over the last few years I’ve watched collective after collective crumble under the weight of legal fees and having to always fight to stay open.

I’ve watched people with the best hearts and purest intentions lose thousands of dollars while just trying to do the right thing for patients, ending up in debt and burned-out from all the struggle.

I’ve also learned that there are some amazingly self-serving individuals that see this industry as just another potential cash-cow for themselves. That’s pretty typical in any industry I guess.

But more often than not, the people I’ve met have been good, kind people that would just like to make a decent living and be a part of something positive at the same time. Fellow patients helping other patients.

Reality – 2012

Medical marijuana has a consistent approval of over 70% of Americans, and in Long Beach, where I live, people are even more sympathetic to medical marijuana. I rarely meet someone from Long Beach who is against either medical marijuana or the existence of collectives in the city. Most people don’t even notice them.

But, despite that reality, our city council is deciding this coming Tuesday, January 17th, on whether or not to ban all collectives in Long Beach.

I assume they would prefer that all of us patients either grow our own (you see how that worked out for me) or go back to the black market and the days of waiting for a friend of a friend to make his delivery.

Taking Action Now!

At this time I’d like to shamelessly plug the LBCA – the Long Beach Collective Association and their website because they are working very hard to Stop The Ban on Tuesday. (Disclosure: I worked on the website)

Visit their website, call one of our city council members and voice your support for medical marijuana. I happen to live in the Third District, so you can call my council member, Gary Delong.

Next: Talking Medical Marijuana Blues – Part Three – Talking ‘Bout My Medication

Previously:

Talking Medical Marijuana Blues – Part One
Includes the story: The Man On The Other Side Of The Wall

The Man On The Other Side Of The Wall

Talking Medical Marijuana Blues – Part One

Today I have a number of thoughts about medical marijuana running around my head, all of which I’ve grouped under the heading of Talking Medical Marijuana Blues in my head.

I plan on posting several articles today and tomorrow following this line of thinking…

In these postings I’d like to tell you about:
(1) my own personal reasons for being involved in this fight,
(2) the importance of collectives for regular patients,
(3) how marijuana works as a medicine for me,
(4) and the proposed ban on collectives here in Long Beach and why this is such a bad idea. (And what you can do to help!)

A Brief Look At My Personal History With Medical Marijuana

First off – Why is medical marijuana such an important issue in my life?

I use marijuana to help manage the symptoms of a chronic physical condition I’ll lived with my whole life called Bi-Polar Spectrum Disorder, which means I experience repeated, severe depressions and occasional hypo-manias. Even though this is often thought of as a “mental” illness – it’s really a “physical” illness that affects every part of me, including my thought processes.

When I first started smoking marijuana in 1983, I immediately felt relief from the extreme body discomfort I live with daily. It would still be years before I was diagnosed, but I knew that marijuana “made life feel right” to me.

Right after I started smoking marijuana the Reagan Just Say No era began and I became very politicized because of my involvement with marijuana and my rock-solid conviction that the Drug War was wrong in every way.

In 1998, because of severe bout of depression I was diagnosed with Bi-Polar disorder, and so began my long adventure with pharmaceutical drugs to treat this chronic and debilitating condition.

In 2002 I started a year and a half campaign to educate my Kaiser psychiatrist about the various way in which medical marijuana helps my condition and it’s value to me as a medicine (the only one that has work so far, by the way).

The following story was written on the weekend in November 2003 after I finally got my medical marijuana recommendation (one of the very few ever given out by a Kaiser doctor) and entered the new world of “legal” medical marijuana.

The Man On The Other Side Of The Wall

On Tuesday night, November 18th, I got home from work, sat in my big chair, kicked back, and for the first time in my life smoked marijuana legally.

Within minutes the herb was soothing the chemical hell of the mania I was enduring. I couldn’t believe it. Here I was, in my own living room, smoking pot legally. After all these years of self-medicating my disorder, finally I was legit, the doctor had given me his recommendation, no, his strong recommendation that I use medical marijuana.

I couldn’t wait to share my good news. I called some friends and shared my story of my yearlong journey with my psychiatrist and the doctor I met with today. These are people I’ve smoked marijuana with before. They know what a hassle the drug war is.

Yesterday I was one of them. This morning when I woke up I was one of them. If the Federal Government takes a disliking to me, I’m still one of them. But somehow, during the course of my conversations I realized that I had been smuggled out of the country, and now I was the man living on the other side of the wall.

One of my friends said, “Wow, that’s really great for you, Jon, I wish…” and he sounded like someone wishing for the far country. It breaks my heart. I think I can imagine what it must have felt like to be smuggled out of East Berlin into West Berlin, and knowing that people just like you should be where you are.

I didn’t realize when I walked into that doctor’s office on Tuesday morning, that it was actually a tunnel under the wall. I walked into that office from the East Berlin of the drug war and walked out in West Berlin. The city is still surrounded, but that is about to change. Freedom has to win. The wall will come down.

But for now, that wall is standing, looking as solid as ever, and I’m a confused immigrant trying to find my way around. How do I go about handling this situation? How do other people who use medical marijuana handle their situation? When and where can I smoke when I need to medicate? Do I now have a greater freedom of movement just like with the other prescription meds I take? It’s a strange new world to me, just a few days old.

So what’s it like on that side of the wall, you might be wondering? Well, when you grow up afraid of the secret police, the fear doesn’t go away over night. I still feel reflexively like I’m on the other side of the wall, I’m sure that will change with time.

I keep turning the doctors words over in my mind “I’m strongly recommending that you use medical marijuana.” When being a criminal is the last thing you want to be, those are the best words you can hear. I’ll figure out how to do my shopping in this new city soon enough, but for this moment, I’m just smelling the air of freedom.

I know the city is surrounded, and I know they have the blockade on. But I’ve been smuggled out to live, die and pray with those that breathe the air of freedom, even if it’s just for a moment.

Ich bin ein Berliner.

November 22, 2003

Next: Talking Medical Marijuana Blues – Part TwoI Get By With The Help Of My Friends

Sleep, Wake, Sleep, Wake, Repeat…

Tonight the moon is full, Orion is rising large in the east, Jupiter is straight overhead and Venus is shining brightly as the Evening Star – it’s a beautiful night on planet Earth…

The Secret Waits For Eyes Unclouded

“Can a Buddhist also be Taoist?” one of us had asked.

It was late last night, during a great conversation with Tania, and the question made me reach into the book* we were discussing and rip out a random page – it was just the mood of the conversation…

I looked at the words on the page:

“The secret waits for eyes unclouded by longing”
– Tao Ti Ching: The Way And It’s Power

Wow, that was pretty surreal, answers at my fingertips.

“Tao Buddha Baby” I thought.

As we kept talking I started to draw on the page, in that distracted way, like doodling, which tends to bring the subconscious to the surface and give it a voice.

While the conversation drifted through a number of subjects, mostly we talked about the depression I was going through and writing about…

Sleep, Wake, Sleep…

For the last week, since Tuesday, I’ve been caught in the undertow of depression – just part of the regular cycle of things. This routine is so familiar, yet it’s also a dark cloud of mystery every time it settles in on me.

This time it came in like a fog. My inner vision changed to opaque, shades of grey and black. My body took on all the effects of having something like the flu – chills, exhaustion and fatigue, uncomfortableness throughout my body, heavy sadness and repeating loops of negative thoughts…

On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday the repeating loops of really stupid Jon-hating crap mounted their full assault. I made my counter-move and went to sleep.

Sometimes that’s all you can do. Sleep, wake and try to sleep again. It makes for a very long week.

By Friday I felt bruised and battered from the assault and it was hard to remember any of the good stuff that happened before Tuesday. That seemed so long ago, weeks ago, so many times of sleeping, waking, sleeping and waking had blurred all sense of time…

Because depression really likes to kick you when you’re down, on Friday and Saturday endless streams of false guilt and recriminating thoughts rained down on me.

Meanwhile my inner vision remained darkly opaque – my inner vision that I rely on constantly for my creative work.

Without Vision The People PerishProverbs 29:18

The full quote of that verse is “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.” (King James Version)

To me this says – when faith is lost, people lose their way, but the one who keeps his faith against the odds will find their way and survive.

Faith is the thing that keeps my feet from stumbling even when my inner vision is opaque as cataracts and horribly dark in it’s shadowed thinking.

Faith is something which has been built during my lucid moments and during the day-in-day-out reality, something that’s proven itself over and over, something more solid than stone and larger than my imagination.

Sometime faith is like a talisman I hold onto, because it’s something so familiar it anchors me to this reality through the strongest storms of depression.

Familiar Routine

Because, quite frankly, this storm will pass, but another one will hit again in a week or two, and then again, and again. Sometimes in new and creative ways to drive me towards despair, and other times in relentlessly familiar ways.

During that time I might get an upswing – a period of extra energy that will eventually run out, often when I’m in mid-stride on an idea.

It’s like my system shoots me up with some amazing drug and then one day decides to make me quit cold-turkey, with days of withdrawal-like symptoms, until one day the drug returns, and then withdrawal, over and over.

This has been happening to me my whole life, and unless some miracle happens, will continue through the rest of my days.

Ever since I was diagnosed in 1998** I’ve been watched this repeating cycle happen over and over – I’ve been studying it like a cellmate, I know it’s moves, but it’s been a very puzzling experience.

Clouds Hunger For Your Very Puzzling Experience, For Example.

Do randomly selected words on a page mean anything? Can seemingly chance events be telling anything? Is it possible to reach your hand into a book and rip the answer from it?

Some things you would never choose for yourself, or anyone else. Bi-polar spectrum disorder is one of those things, but this is the path I find myself on, the story I’ve been given in this life. It’s kind of random but I’m looking to find meaning in it.

The secret waits for eyes unclouded.

So, tonight I’ll sleep under the full moon, as Orion watches over us and Jupiter hangs majestically in the heavens.

Tomorrow Venus will again shine brightly as the Evening Star and it’ll be another beautiful night on planet Earth.

Notes:

*The book we were discussing was called Awakening The Buddha Within by Lama Surya Das which Tania read this last year.

**Currently, the name they use for my situation is “Bi-polar Spectrum Disorder.” It’s still a mystery to the doctors and drug-makers.

(This Story Is) Subject To Change, Pt 1

Change? You’re soaking in it…

After a prolonged period of depression (this latest bout started in early July around the 8th) it takes some extra effort to start communicating again; responding to emails, getting back on Facebook, getting my various project sites updated and trying to reconnect with my friends again because my head is so filled up with all the various changes that have happened since my latest depression-induced social disappearance.

To get the “catching up” process started, here’s some of my Facebook postings since I cut my pinkie on July 11th (it’s all healed up now, but a have a new scar to remember it by), starting with the most recent posts first…

August 17, 2010

New post on UFOverdriver with a sound collage (recorded in July 2010) featuring Automatic Pete from UFOverdriver Information Services… Enjoy!

Read the post: The UFOverdriver Flies Like A Vimana


Metaphorically speaking, the UFOverdriver flies at 72,000 feet, through the stratosphere of Mid-Heaven.

By applying ancient techniques of sound modulation and frequency control to mysterious substances known to physicists as “Dark Matter” (“Dark” meaning they don’t know what it is) and propelled by Solar rays and an equally mysterious force called “Dark Energy”, or as I like to called it – “Vimana Fuel”…

Simply put – the UFOverdriver flies like a Vimana.

Read More Here: http://ufoverdriver.onehumanbeing.com/2010/08/17/the-ufoverdriver-flies-like-a-vimana/

August 17, 2010

Trying out a program called Blender that does 3D animation – steep learning curve.  Here’s my first weird little piece of something…

[media id=54 width=500 height=350]

 

August 12, 2010

Beautiful gathering of planets tonight looking towards the West during twilight: Venus, Mars and Saturn together in Virgo with the sliver of a crescent of the New Moon that slides under them towards Mercury… Enjoy!

Evening Sky - August 12, 2010

August 9, 2010

“The first thing you need to learn is to do your own thing…” – U-Roy

August 3, 2010

The Flower – this is a cute video with a great point… enjoy!

August 2, 2010

I’ve been very Facebook quiet due to an extended period of depression – I’ll have much to talk about when I’m back to the “normal” range… soon, I hope.

July 24, 2010

It’s been so many days since I headed down into Hades on this particular journey that I’ve lost track of time and the way back up to the surface… I’m very exhausted from trying.

July 19, 2010

live life slowly.

July 14, 2010

Our friend and reggae legend Claudius “Kingman” Linton has passed away… R.I.P. Claudius – thank you for your words and songs. We will miss you brother…

July 13, 2010

Land of the FREE? not by a long shot. We’re #1 in the world for imprisoning our citizens, kind of makes me want to scream… Wasted money, wasted lives, wasted time… and to think, we could build Super Colleges instead.

Read Article Supermax Prisons: Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading

David C. Fathi: Director, ACLU National Prison Project
Posted: July 9, 2010 02:30 PM

Excerpt

The court’s decision was not a surprise. International human rights bodies have repeatedly expressed the view that supermax prisons — in which prisoners are held in near-total social isolation, sometimes for years on end — may violate international human rights law. In 2006, the U.N. Committee Against Torture expressed concern about “the extremely harsh regime” in US supermax prisons, which it said could violate the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, a human rights treaty ratified by the United States in 1994.

Despite these warnings, supermax prisons are common in the United States. In the 1990s they were a raging fad, yet another round in the perpetual “tough on crime” political bidding war. Suddenly every state had to build one — Virginia was so tough it built two. By the end of the decade, more than 30 states, as well as the federal government, were operating a supermax facility or unit.

Article Link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-c-fathi/supermax-prisons-cruel-in_b_641145.html

July 12, 2010

Those that are born of the Great Spirit are led by the Great Spirit; they move like the wind, flavor the world like spices, pray for justice and bind up the wounded… they do not need to announce themselves because you always know them when you meet them…

July 11, 2010 (the day I cut my pinkie very deeply…)

6:04 pm – just before I cut my pinkie finger…

Ah, the Bootsybumpandwigglepsychofunkadelic Funk Inducer Drive… just what I needed for the UFOverdriver – what a find!

7:23 pm – one hour and fifteen minutes after the pinkie accident…

bad accident installing the Funk Inducer Drive – now my pinkie is all funked up…

End of (This Story Is) Subject To Change, Pt 1

I think that’s enough of the Facebook postings for now; in Part 2 I’ll tell you what’s up with my various project sites…

Until later, best of health.

Rainy Days With Whirlpools

For today I’ll just re-post the three songs about the weather, both inside and out, which I posted on Facebook this afternoon…

First Posting

Depression comes in like a storm with my thoughts washing down a gutter of whirlpools – The first day is always the worst…

Here’s a Verve song I listen to on days like this…

LINK HERE | The Verve | The Drugs Don’t Work – link to YouTube page…

Second Posting

Medicating with Music: Another Verve song from the Urban Hymns album… “One Day” – link is to the song – no video

Favorite line – “Just tie yourself to the mast my friend and the storm will end…”

Third (and last) Posting

And here’s one for the rainy day…

Post Script…

Hoping for better weather tomorrow…

The Turning – Helter Skelter

the-turning-helter-skelte

The Dream of the Two-Headed Dragon

I remember the comfort… spread out like a blanket in the quiet dreams, and rest, and wisdom, and communion, everywhere, nowhere – the only existence.

I remember when I was the universe, before the journey that crossed your path – when all of time was one instant, one symphony.

It was you that woke me, it was your story that called me across the ages. You were my gravity. You were my reason to wake…

Your story came to me on a wave, on a memory, on the resonating notes of a string pluck so long ago… A string that resonated and hummed to life sending out ripples and waves, that sent out a song that woke all the strings within me that had gone quiet… and they started to hum with your song.

I had told you long ago we would never be apart, and at the edge of never, your song, your gravity called me back...

The Building Blocks of Life

There are many people that can tell you how the world is seen and known, but this story is about the unseen and the unknown and the pieces that have come together to form the small symphony of waves, sounds, connections, systems, worlds and galaxies that move around with me.

What is a human being? I wonder if we even know…

Biologically, I’m a union of billions of individual cells that form a manifestation of personal intelligence which creates what you see as my body.

My body is really borrowed organic material that will someday return to the stream of earth life, while life, the person I know as myself, will grow and evolve into… what?

The organic material that feeds my little personal galaxy was created from the death of stars, the death of plants, the death of billions of organic creatures that came before me. I was formed in the womb of death and destruction and it has given birth to life and creation.

But this story of life is not about the natural cycle of organic life and death, but about the life which is something more, something much bigger.

Life is not something you can own – it’s a story that has been given to you, it is your sparking moment to be born, your moment in eternity to come alive, to form as a soul, to become a flame that burns on and on.

From the moment of my birth the chains of civilization were wrapped around me. I was stamped with the mark. With punishments and rewards I learned to ignore the nourishment of my soul and to cage it in a box of fears and anxieties. Unless I wore the mark and conformed to the civilization I was born into, I could not earn my daily bread and water needed to continue my organic life.

Everyone of us is born a slave into the world system, and none can escape it unless their spark becomes a flame, unless they become a soul that is alive, unless they sacrifice their organic life for that something “other” – that other kind of life.

How Did I Get Here?

Do you wonder if your time here is a accident of the great cosmic comedy?

Did you know it took years of genetic work, generations actually, to create you?

Has anyone told you that your time was appointed; as were your talents, skills, hungers, desires, strengths and weaknesses, so that you could accomplish the dream inside you?

Has anyone told you that the dream you keep burying inside yourself is your spark and the voice of the story that has been given you, and what’s going on around you is mostly illusions and distractions?

Helter Skelter  – or  – Riding The Bipolar Coaster

2008-12-5-helter-skelter.jpg

When I was very young I used to dream of being able to ride endlessly on a roller coaster. I loved roller coasters, the ups and downs and all the funny ways it made my body feel. I felt alive on a roller coaster.

I would imagine in my dream that I had won some kind of prize that allowed me to ride the roller coaster over and over again, just waved on through each time the ride came to an end and back out onto the track, around and around, up and down, up and down.

Now, at age 45, and after 10 years of battling the symptoms of bipolar disorder with endless pharmaceutical drugs, I wonder if the dream I had as a child was a glimpse into my future, the place I am now. Now I ride a bipolar coaster, like I’m strapped in and I can’t get off of this ride – it never stops – I just go round and round again.

At age five it was a dream that has become twisted over the last forty years into an illness… a mental illness. Is it a prize and a dream or is it a mental illness? Have I been missing out on something amazing about myself or am I really just broken machinery?

End of Helter Skelter – Part One

To be continued…

Click Here For More Information about The Turning – A Serial


Faith

a-ladder-to-the-stars

This is a drawing I made back in May of 1998… when I made this drawing I was in the midst of my first big depression, laid off from work, injured, and on Workman’s Comp.

If you would like to get a framed print, sticker, note card, journal or greeting cards of this drawing, you can visit my Cafe Press shop here

faith-framed_print

UPDATE: Later in the day, August 13th…

streamsEveryday Tania and I have a few devotionals that we read and have been for a long time. One of those devotionals is “Streams In The Desert – 366 Daily Devotional Readings” by L.B. Cowman, revised, 1997 edition.

For today the reading included this:

“If the clouds are full of water, they pour rain upon the earth” – Ecclesiastes 11:3

“…How can we have rain without clouds? Our troubles have always brought us blessings, and they always will, for they are the dark chariots of God’s bright and glorious grace.”

There was much more in the devotional that seemed to go with the drawing… funny how things work out like that.

Tracking The Storm on Facebook

I had a pretty bad depression storm move in this last week, and I’ve been tracking it by making daily posts on Facebook. Tonight I thought I’d try to elaborate a little on those postings…

Day 1 – Wednesday

This storm started on Wednesday morning, the 22nd – I could feel the storm coming and I tried to hang on to the positive mindset I woke up with, only to have it slip away as the morning wore on… that night on Facebook I wrote:

Facebook Posting: Wednesday, July 22nd 10:56pm

Heavy and dark depression today – tired of the mantras of stupidity and failure endlessly repeating themselves in my head, for hours, all day long…

Mantras or looping tapes – don’t know what to really call them – just the endless repeating of crap – STUPID STUPID STUPID SHITHEAD FAILURE… (that and worse) over and over all day long… it really does gets a little tiring and if you had to live through it (and many people do) you’d quickly understand why people turn to alcohol and drugs to numb their poor, tortured soul.

Day 2 – Thursday

I was hoping this storm would just be a quick, little, one day event, but no, it continued on into Thursday – and I woke up to those same crappy tapes playing in my head  – the same as when I went to bed – damn. Just relentless from the word go…

Later on, I ended up watching an interesting documentary on the Catholic Channel on TV (who knew we had a Catholic Channel?!?) about a priest named Father Solanus Casey. I’ll write more on Father Solanus in a future post.

Facebook Posting: Thursday, July 23rd 10:47 am

Another heavy and dark day – Slowly posting a retrospective of my paintings – So far – Line Abstracts from the mid 1990’s – http://onehumanbeing.com/blog/resources/art-works-a-retropective/line-abstracts/

I’ll let people know when more work is posted…

I thought I’d do my best to work through the storm, but I didn’t get very far and spent most of the rest of the Thursday sleeping.

Day 3 – Friday

Facebook Posting: Friday, July 24th 4:41 pm

Depression – Day Three – Yet one more time down this road… Today the depression moved on to the physical part – like having the flu – sort of. Hopefully that means this storm will move out in a day or so. I’ve been here many times before…

In my opinion, depression is a physical illness that affects your thinking and thought processes. As a bout of depression runs it course, I have days where it’s mostly a physical experience – tired, nauseous, achy, irritable and uncomfortable in my own skin – very much like how the flu feels.

This phase can mean this bout is nearly over, or it’s just warming up for round two… I just have to wait and see.

There’s a line in a song by The Verve that runs through my head on these days “Just tie yourself to the mast my friend and the storm will end…” It helps keep me alive.

On Friday evening I went with Tania to Friday Night Happy Hour, a weekly tradition with our friends, which I’ve been skipping out on lately because of depression-related issues, and did my best to be present. Our friends and the co-founders of our little Happy Hour group are leaving this next week on amazing new adventures – and I couldn’t miss their last Happy Hour with us.

Day 4 – Saturday

Facebook Posting: Saturday, July 25th 1:14 pm

Depression Day Four – 15% better – Took photos at AAC this morning of Pure Kush, The Purps and Razzle Berry – beautiful herbs! Will be posted on the AAC menu later today (this is my volunteer work that keeps me going) http://aacollective.com/inside/menu/

On Saturday morning I was determined to start turning this around – wake up – go take photos – come home and spend the afternoon processing photos – go, go, go and out-run the tape loops… on sugar and fake energy, anxiety and frustration – doesn’t work for long and I end up just drained before the day is nearly half over.

Day 5 – Sunday

Sunday – is it Sunday? No, just Fogday in my head and I can’t shake it… sometimes the clouds seem like they’re going to clear, but no, just a false hope and more gray fog thickly and slowly oozing through my day and into the evening…

Facebook Posting: Sunday, July 26th 11:04 pm

Depression Day 5 – gray fog and heavy clouds – now it’s just settled in, thick with slow motion… an endless day with tiny, quickly evaporating breaks in the mental weather.

Tough storm so far, but you never know… tomorrow could be the day I wake and the sun will be shining on my eyelids and whispering appreciations and hopes that blow away the looping tapes and make this just a memory and a story.

The Monster Pill, Part 2 – Jelly Paws and Black Hole Suitcases…

Continued from The Monster Pill – July 19, 2009…

jellypaws_drawing_websized

Last summer, and during August in particular, I went through a really bad depression – I mean – really bad. As you can see from the drawing to the left that I made of my brain in my sketchbook during that time it was not good.

On the same page I made this drawing I wrote the following – I call it…

Jelly Paws

We’re just soft tissue
with sharp claws
hidden in our jelly paws
with anxiety triggers
and stress-blinded attack plans…

Lazy, selfish,
lulled by isolation
into fearful creatures
launching preemptive strikes
shock and awe with sharp claws
and we roll on and on…

A few pages after this entry I made my drawings of The Monster Pill, which I posted yesterday, inspired by the ongoing and eternal prescription medication hassles…

Seriously people, in my opinion, nothing helps Bi-Polar II more than good medical marijuana (and good diet, exercise, sunlight… which I should do more of…) – but I faithfully go through the never-ending (over ten years now) search for a really effective prescription medication.

While I’m covering drawings and writings from last August, here’s my Black Hole Suitcases

fly_paper_mind_1_websized

Black Hole Suitcases

Everything I’ve left undone
has stuck to my flypaper mind.
They struggle and die in the place where I hide
them away
and come back as suitcases filled with black holes.

Take my suitcases and give them wings
give them life, and flight, and a place to go.
I’m just going to lie down here because it’s all become too heavy for me…

This was just a few pages after The Monster Pill drawings and was one of a several attempts I made to document the depression while it was happening… I continued to struggled with this particular bout of depression through late October, 2008, when I finally got a month or so of good energy while we switched my medications, again.


The Monster Pill

the-monster-pill-transfor

If I’m okay, then you’re okay…

In a world that is often childish and emotionally driven, I find there are days when I’m less than my ideal self, and everything I do seems to be a reaction from my emotional storms and bi-polar-coaster ride.

On those days the old 70’s saying “I’m OK, you’re OK” gets warped and twisted around my fragile ego, and becomes something like “If I’m okay, then you’re okay…”, which is the opposite of my preferred outlook of “If you’re okay, then I’m okay…”

The little guy in the drawing above is The Monster Pill – I originally drew him last summer and he’s now available on kids clothing at Cafe Press, as well as adult clothing too… here’s some examples – click on them to go to my Cafe Press shop and get something for your kid, or the kid in you…

The Infant Body Suit – starting at $15 plus shipping…

themonsterpill_logo_onesy

The Monster Pill Kids Dark T-Shirt – starting at $22 plus shipping…

themonsterpill_logo_kids_t_

And for Adult-size kids… The Angry Monster Pill Dark T-Shirt – starting at $22 plus shipping…

onehumanbeing_logo_t_black_

More styles available at the onehumanbeing shop at Cafe Press

Long Depressions and a Life of Cycles

It may seem like I’ve disappeared, but I’m still here… weathering a long storm of depression.

This storm started back in late April, and has come and gone in waves, in cycles within cycles.

I should be use to this by now, but I never get used to it, always hoping that the blue sky days will last, but knowing there’s always another storm coming.

The spring storms are very unpredictable.

Some years it’s like a rushing, fresh breeze of creativity and new activities. Other years it comes like a cruel north wind, and I find myself tied to the mast just to make it to the early summer break when my next big shift comes.

I’ll be 45 in two weeks, on the 18th.

I’ve had depressions and manias since I was a child (something I’ve come to understand over the last few years), and actively dealing with my mood-swings for the last eleven years.

After all this time I’ve become somewhat familiar with the cycles and seasons of my inner landscape, and the strange weather patterns of storms that ravage and shape that landscape.

But that doesn’t make it any more pleasant at Depression Ground Zero, or help my daily attempt at making something out of the dreams and visions in my head.

So for days I hide out on the sofa, watching shows on the History Channel about UFOs and Ancient Civilizations, reading news stories on my laptop from the Huffington Post, and sleeping, lots of sleeping…

When I have energy I volunteer at a Medical Marijuana collective here in Long Beach called AAC – Apothecary’s Assistants Collective and take photos for a project of mine called The MMJ Project (MMJ is short for Medical Marijuana).

I’m glad for my project and volunteer work because it gets me out of the apartment, and around people.

Of course, there’s more to it than that… but left to my own devices to avoid the pain of depression I will disappear into a world of deep thoughts, MMJ, meditations and TV and ignore the rest of the world.

So, getting me outside of myself is a good thing – especially during these storms.

There’s my update from this last month or so…

Hopefully I’ll reach more peaceful weather soon and be able to write about some interesting visions I’ve had during these storms (the visions are the only rewards sometimes for traveling through these storms) and the stories that have been weaving their way through my daily existence.

Until later, best of health,
Jon, onehumanbeing

Double Rainbow

Double Rainbow Detail - Click to see full Image of the Moment

Please note: I am publishing this post about a week [2-25-2009] after I first wrote it. See the note at the end of the post for more details…

Ripples After The Splash

The last 36 hours have been very difficult. (the story gets better, really…)

I’ve experienced this before, the relapse after a big depression, just as you’re heading out of the whirlpool. It’s like ripples from a big splash in a pond.

Peeved

That’s the word I settled on to describe how I feel today. I’m angry, bothered and vexed – but mostly it’s wrestling with God, trying to get through my confusion of the moment…

So today, I’m not the best to be around – I have a short temper, and I feel like I have an agenda in every conversation… most of which have been with Tania who had the day off today and got to enjoy my dark windstorms and blowing clouds…

I don’t get this way very often, and haven’t in a long time, so it’s really throwing me around this time, and tripping up my footing.

I believe in a God of big promises, and today I need to see some of those show up… like I said – I have been peeved today. Maybe it’s something I ate, my various medications – I don’t know…

A note to those who don’t understand the work of faith: faith is not blind, it’s a force that strips away all your illusions and makes you face the real problems, like food on the table and clothes to wear. To learn about faith that works you have to ask questions, it’s fear and doubt that keeps you one quiet.

I found out from Tania as I was muttering about in my peeved ramblings this morning, that she was dealing with the same kind of thoughts, and she had been praying about the same things that were bothering me.

Praying – a much better response. That’s how we’ve moved from questions to answers in the past – we prayed – and it has worked every time so far…

We both agreed that we needed to see some of those promises, and now was a really good time, really… and we prayed.

Rainbows

Later this afternoon I drove over to A Soothing Remedy Collective, and saw my new friend Dr. Shillstein (that’s his weedtracker username), the guy who runs the place.

2009-mmj-week

I usually enjoy visiting the Dr. but today I was just a dark cloud coming to visit. I had gone there just to drop off some MMJ (Medical Marijuana) Week buttons for them to give away,  but I also picked up a gram of Mango OG Kush (the Dr. recommended it for my situation – a very good choice) and left…

After I got home and had some of my new herb (still feeling peeved, but in a nice, kush-induced, fuzzy kind-of-way) I glanced out the front window and saw the most beautiful rainbow I’ve ever seen (and no, the rainbow wasn’t because of the herb).

I called Tania over to see, and we both ran downstairs to try and get a photo of this amazing sight.

I’m very serious when I say I’ve never seen such a brilliant, complete, colorful double rainbow. The composite photo above does not do it justice.

Now I realize that there are “rainbows” and there are “Rainbows: The Amazing Version” – This was the latter…

I have never seen one such as this, but I imagine that the one Noah saw must have been like this, because you look up it and go, “Wow…” – you just have to.

You might or might not know that the rainbow Noah saw was a sign to him from God that represented God’s promises to him, God’s covenant with Noah, and all mankind after him. I feel like today, God answered my storms with a rainbow…

An after note: 11:30 pm – I’m still feeling a bit peeved – I hope this feeling goes away when this current depression ripple passes because I do not like feeling this way…

Note from about a week later – Feb 25, 2009

I didn’t publish this post on the day I wrote it because in it’s draft form it was such an incomplete picture of what was going on in our life, the much bigger picture where this is just one footstep of faith leading to the next – but for those that don’t walk this way it could cause confusion.

My life is about fanning the spark of faith in the people I meet, and I don’t want to do anything to blow out that spark…

This double rainbow was followed up by a show the next day on the Science Channel about Uncertainty and Quantum Physics. When I need spiritual clarity, I turn to Quantum Physics – it gives me great perspective.

All the peeved feelings melted away after that night, and my questions have started to return to me as answers that help me see the world with more love, hope and purpose…

And I have a new material for my work now – Uncertainty. More about that coming up soon…

So now, over a week later, I’m starting to understand in an even-more-amazed-way the beauty of that rainbow, on that particular day, and that moment. It’s a gift that keeps on giving. My faith is now stronger and has a larger vision…

Manic Depression Is A Frustrating Mess

There is a reason why my posts have been very limited over the last few weeks. As you can see from the title of this post the name of the monster I’ve been living with… not a nice house guest.

Many people know that manic-depression is the name people used to use for the “mental Illness” now called bi-polar disorder. The reason for the quote marks is because my experience with bi-polar disorder has me often referring to this as “a physical illness with a very strong mental component.”

There is a wide spectrum of experiences people have when dealing with this genetic disorder. Some people have stronger manias, or mood up-swings, some have stronger depressions, some people have moods that cycle rapidly, and some that live through long stretches of a particular end of the spectrum before swinging widely the other direction.

It’s a confusing, messy and very disrupting illness. It is also a chronic illness that kills a significant number of sufferers every year. Up till now the standard approach has been to find medications that suppress everything mood-wise, and that way eliminate the extreme highs and lows of the illness.

This approach can be useful when dealing with individuals that are going through the extremes of the illness and are a danger to themselves and others.

But when you’re a person who is very aware of his situation, works with all care to minimize the effects of this situation when it comes to other people, and is trying to have a healthy, creative life – the drugs become a real drag…

But I keep taking them – new and different cocktails of anti-depressants and mood stabilizers, pills to wake up and pills to sleep… because I keep holding out the hope that one of these combinations will help… one day. (read more go to the  music play list…)

About the playlist:

It would be nice and easy if I could just tell people that depression is just being sad. I wish I could just put a smile on my face, pull myself up by bootstraps, just pull myself together…

But that’s not the reality of living with bi-polar disorder. This is a very physical illness that kicks your ass in so many different ways…

 

As I rode out a very bad depression this last week as I started putting this playlist together – not for entertainment, but to help illustrate what it’s like to live through a severe depression – to help anyone who would like to develop a greater understanding of this experience.

As my wife commented – she’s thankful she can skip forward through the list when she’s tired of a song – I don’t get to…

I’ll probably add more to this later (or not), but I thought I better get this posted before another four or five days slip by…

Thoughts From The Day… on Suffering

“it is through our suffering that we are refined and defined…”

Jon, onehumanbeing

Sometimes life is like the hammer coming down on the chisel, or that is how it seems to me as I go through the ups and down of living with bipolar disorder, not to mention the regular daily struggles…

To enlarge this thought I’m going to have to jump to another idea first:

The way I see things starts with my belief in God. I believe in a God who is larger that the Universe, larger than any number of Universes that can exist, larger than the Big Bang and evolution and not opposed to them as methods of creation and change. I believe God is way bigger than what I can conceive.

To give you the basic outline – I believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and I believe that the hope of Israel already lives, and is the ascended Messiah, Jesus.

I grew up as the son of a theologian and minister/teacher… I lived church from a very young age, and have many, many years of walking with this God I believe in – so to begin to know me you must know this is where everything begins…

And what does this have to do with that quote up at the top of this post? Just background material to give you an idea of how I think.

I listened to Gang of Four today while driving over to the MMJ dispensary to take photos and the lyrics to one of the songs said “How you think changes how you act” which is true in my opinion. How I think is built on my faith, which is built on my God, and changes how I act…

Suffering… How many people wish they could be God for a day and eliminate all the suffering in the world? No one likes it, it’s painful, and it has no point.

My worldview makes me see things very different. Though I do not desire suffering for myself or anyone else, it’s still going to happen. It’s pretty inevitable in a world of over 6 billion people all running on their own agenda. Some toes are gonna get stepped on, people are gonna get hurt, it’s just going to happen. Jesus said it would. He said in the gospel of John that “in this life you will have troubles…” but our troubles, our sufferings, don’t have to destroy us… they don’t have to be just pointless pain.

And to go back to where I started – what may look like suffering is just the fall of the hammer on the chisel, the strike of the master artist at work preparing His creation for it’s work. I believe in something after this life, and that the same detailed artist that created everything spent the same attention in creating me.

I don’t just think this as a nice religious thought that doesn’t have anything to do with reality… I’ve been actively watching the process for the last ten years at work in my life and have become spectacularly amazed at the ways in which God can and will work.

Ten years ago I was nothing more than a large block of stone in the workshop. Quarried and dragged to the master’s studio over the years. Then one day in early 1998 the hammer came down against the chisel, and this small, barely noticeable situation that always benefited me as an artist in the past, exploded into a large depression and a seemingly endless ride on the bipolarcoaster.

Ten years of sculpting. Finished yet? Not even close, but some much closer than ten years ago. Do I wish I could get off this ride? All the time. But I also want to stick around and see how this turns out, and what gets made from all this hammering…

To be continued…