Saturday, January 28, 2012

Transformational Entertainment? - Thinking Out Loud - Nothing to Read Here

I am temporarily grounded* so I've been spending more time on line.Since I have enjoyed reading and listening to Geneen Roth, Gangaji, and Jack Kornfield, when I found Sounds True was hosting a Conference that included all three as teachers I really wanted to go, but realized it would not be practical.

But distance and expense shouldn't be obstacles to enlightenment, so I looked for similar events in my own neighborhood.  In the process I found that GATE: Global Alliance for Transformational Entertainment will be hosting an event in February which will include Eckhart TolleJim Carrey and John Raatz.  According to the GATE Mission Statement, this group "is an evolving community of creative, business and technical professionals in entertainment, media, and the arts, who realize the vital and expanding role media and entertainment play in creating our lives, and who aspire to consciously transform those domains for the benefit of all."

Further, GATE is a " association providing valuable and relevant knowledge, resources and services to a wide range of professionals in the media, entertainment, and arts industries, to aid in their personal transformation and to help them create and distribute content that expresses their transformational worldview."

If I'm reading this correctly, this Global Alliance hopes to transform professionals in the media, entertainment and arts industries and, in turn, help them create and distribute content that expresses their transformation and which, in turn, will transform others.  I am a bit puzzled by what this means in practical terms.  Media, entertainment, and art industry professionals have been "going to see the Maharishi" for some time now, and (if they are not dissuaded by business types) often seem to produce entertainment which includes some kind of message.

 I am both cynical and hopeful. Is this just a money-making project or a sincere effort to change the world?  If you look at the web pages of the three founders of GATE you will find that  **Eckhart Tolle's is selling online access to his wisdom and you might think he was in it for the money (on the other hand, perhaps he needs business types as a shield to his privacy). Jim Carrey's pages are so over-the-top they seem to imply an over-large ego; however, perhaps that is just an expression of his art. Only after reading an interview in Vision Magazine with John Raatz did I come to the conclusion that he at least does not seem to be looking for money or fame.

While I wonder if "the truth" really needs help being marketed, I realize I never would have found out about Roth, Kornfield, or Gangaji if I hadn't heard about them somewhere.  There are many gurus out there, but few attain any kind of fame and maybe it would be a good idea if the right ones went to the GATE seminar and learned how to get more name recognition.  I know that Oprah has helped rescue a few self-help gurus and authors from obscurity.  Publishing Companies like Sounds True and Hay House help spread the word by offering "in person" appearances from some of their authors. Geneen Roth and Deepak Chopra both seem to have very lucrative marketing systems set up. But, on the other hand, I am wondering if Hollywood has just realized that "the Cultural Creative" and other members of "The Herbal Tea Party"*** are a growing portion of the viewing audience to which the genre of "transformational entertainment" can be targeted.    It will be interesting to see what comes out of the GATE sessions.

Now - back to the original objective - to find sources of enlightenment close to hand. Even if I am not able to go to a far away conference it turns out that Sounds True offers a number of free downloads on different subjects.  When I'm able to drive myself places again there are a number of local groups that offer all kinds of courses. In short, I don't need to take a long pilgrimage to find transformational resources.

*In short, I fell leaving a table at The Hopping Pig after having a beer with my meal.  Hurry, the fact the tables were on an elevated island, and the glass of  Lost Abbey beer I drank before the food finally arrived were probably all factors.  The beer wasn't that great, but I drank it because I had paid for it, and now I am hopping around wearing an appliance called an "equalizer".  The Hopping Pig slogan should be "At happy hour you can get enough beer for $4.50 to make you fall flat on your face..."

**If you visit this website don't be surprised if you start getting pop-ups that say "What if Eckhart Tolle was available right now to support your spiritual awakening? Sign up for a free trial...."

***"The Cultural Creative" and "The Herbal Tea Party" were both terms used in the Vision Interview with John Raatz.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Myth of the Hand-Made Christmas?

In Terry Pratchett's novel Hogfather there is a conversation between Death and Albert:

ALBERT: "I Hogswatch I had my heart set on this huge model horse they had in the shop..."
[then he explains how poor his family was]
 "...I still hung my stocking on Hogswatch Eve, and in the morning....Our dad had put in this little horse he'd carved his very own self..."


ALBERT: "No!" "It weren't. All I could think of was it wasn't the big horse in the window."


ALBERT: "No. Only grown-ups think like that....You're a selfish little bugger when you're seven."


Nevertheless, I still persist in making at least a few handmade gifts every Christmas in spite of the fact that some of my relatives persist in sending me detailed lists of what they would really like - (the lists seem to come earlier each year) - but it is all stuff anyone could buy at a store, and what's the magic in that?

One niece emailed what she wanted and I replied "I'm sorry, I already bought you a stuffed armadillo with wings." I hope she wasn't disappointed when what she got was actually a pillow with a picture of Wonder Woman on it.

Reversible artist smock
Pokemon fabric on one side
Some of the things I made:

Hello Kitty necklace from Perler beads modified from a pattern on the web

Frog Prince pincushion modified from a free pattern

My son got an "Anti-Harry & David" gift which included turkey spam, Jelly Bellies*, Haggis, Vegemite, and spotted dick pudding.

 I still haven't finished crocheting some gopher golf club covers for one nephew.

After that maybe it would be a good time to start on crafts for next Christmas. Maybe I should try to make one of the things on their lists. Does anyone know how to crochet a Wii?

*including some Jelly Flops.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Melvan Is Now In Europe

For a brief and glorious time I was the owner of a 60's VW named "Melvan".  In my younger years I had read Travels With Charley and dreamed of traveling around the country in some kind of camper. When I saw Melvan on Ebay I fell in love with him.

I returned to the Ebay page over and over. The seller had taken pictures from every angle, interior and exterior. The inside was set up with a bed, cabinets, and a small sink. There was even a painting of the Madonna on the roof. I talked to my husband about it, and while we were sitting in the living room at our respective computers he said "If you want it, go ahead and buy it."(He now claims to have no memory of this.). So I clicked on "Buy".

There were complications. My bank was slow in approving a loan to cover the whole amount, and Melvan was in New Mexico and so my husband needed to take time off from work so he could go with me when I picked up Melvan and follow me in another vehicle when I drove Melvan home.  While we waited I re-read HOW TO KEEP YOUR VW ALIVE  and inquired about classes in auto mechanics for dummies.

Finally, we took the scenic route to New Mexico, through Taos, and picked up Melvan. I drove him all the way home. I enjoyed starting up in the morning, giving the engine time, putting him in gear. I was happy.
Melvan at home (usually he lived in our garage)
Melvan, side view
Unfortunately, after we got home I found I had made the erroneous assumption that "all men like cars" and that my husband would be interested in working on the van and going camping in it .  Unfortunately my husband did not share my enthusiasm. Later he confessed that he had been worried that I had lost my mind. After a while I realized we were not going anywhere and I re-sold Melvan to a young man named Ed. After he had driven Melvan to a few meets he got a great offer from a buyer in Europe and re-sold him. Melvan looks like he is in good hands. I still dream about traveling around the country, though.

In retrospect, this may be seen as the classic "mid life crisis" (or "Mid-Life Chrysler"?). I read once that if you want to get a good deal on a motorcycle look for middle-aged men who bought one and took it home and had their wives say "You bought WHAT".  

We all have "bucket lists" but I guess we need to check to make sure there aren't any piranhas in there. I asked my husband if he wanted to go to Burning Man next year and he said "I don't think I could handle the dust of the playa." At least he was listening.

You can read more about Melvan on the Samba forums. Looks like he has had some body work and gotten a few new stickers.