Looking Homeless

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I sometimes regret choosing /HelpTheHomeless for our Facebook Group URL.
It does let people know that we work with the needy (MUCH better than “1st Saturdays” does).
But our organization is really more focussed on gifting & connecting with anyone in need.
They don’t have to be homeless.
Plenty of people are who are living in shelters (or even have homes) are living in such poverty that shopping for new clothes is not an option. We want to provide a joyful, dignified shopping experience at our “Street Boutique” to them.
We tell the volunteers not to judge if people need or deserve help.
We do want to make sure we have enough clothes and food for everyone, but as long as everyone is provided for, we don’t need to qualify anyone or even limit how much they take.
it is interesting how people react when they see people in line who don’t “look” homeless.
There is a romantic notion of giving food to the poor. Of helping a poor wretched soul.
And it does feel pretty awesome to extend a hand to someone who *clearly* needs it.
But there are many people in need who don’t look dirty or stereotypically homeless.
In fact, with an understanding of the resources in San Diego (and I would hope in most big cities) it is possible to get a shower, regular meals and be able to present oneself quite respectfully. (Throw in some fancy new 1st Saturdays clothes and you could look pretty slick.)
My experience has been that the people who “look homeless” usually fall into 1 of 2 categories. First are the mentally disconnected. People with schizophrenia or another mental illness that makes them unable to function and follow rules or instructions. Or people so addicted to drugs or alcohol that they disregard basic hygiene.
The second are people who have jobs as panhandlers. If your livelihood depends on people feeling sorry for you, then you have to play the part. People instantly make a judgement that “they don’t look like they need it” and are less inclined to give money.
I personally do not give money to those begging for it. That is not to say I do not give money to those in need. But I do not want to encourage the behavior and support the occupation of panhandling. Panhandling can be a fairly lucrative if you look dirty enough and can elicit enough sympathy.
But the big problem for me is that panhandling turns the act of gifting into a transaction. A panhandler expects you to feel bad so you’ll give money to ease your guilt or sympathetic pain.
Easing a bad feeling is a different than creating a good feeling. Good feelings happen when you have a gifting interaction, instead of a transaction.
I urge you to try this yourself: Keep a couple $5 bills in your pocket as you walk downtown. Give one of the bills to someone who asks you for money. Give the other to someone didn’t ask for it.
(Many people are socialized to be too proud to accept unearned money, so I usually say with a smile, “I just found this on the ground. It must be yours.”)
Notice how different the 2 experiences feel. Your results may differ, but I find that giving to a panhandler never feels very good. I am simply playing my role in the transaction. I pay my money and receive minor relief from feeling bad for this person. It is a transaction and it is often as cold as when I pay the meter in exchange for a parking spot.
The only way to elicit real gratitude is to gift an amount ($20 or more) that is beyond their expectation. And that is really what makes it a transaction instead of a gift: The expectation.
NOTE: I never want to ignore or dehumanize anyone so I do try to respond verbally to requests with a cheerful, “Not today.”
But when you give to someone out of the blue, it is a Gift.
And it doesn’t even really matter if they “need” it or not. (Ideally they should “want” it, however. An unwanted gift is not a gift.)
If you have ever gifted, or received, a cup of coffee from the person in front of you in line, you know how awesome that feels. It is jarring in the best of ways.
“Wait…what? You are allowed to do that?!”
Yes, you are allowed to show kindness even when people have not proven they need or deserve it. Even when it is not a transaction.
In fact it is this non-transaction Gifting that creates the explosive feelings of joy that can create chain reactions.
More times than not, when someone gets their toll road or their coffee paid for, they buy one for the next person.
One Starbucks drive-through reported that the pay-it-forward chain continued for 8 hours until they closed.

And every single person who received a coffee also received something much more significant: a demonstration of non-transactional gifting. The experience of receiving something unearned. The realization that the world is not as selfish and competitive as we convince ourselves. That people are kind and giving. And, hopefully that you, too, are kind and giving.
And shifting how you see yourself in relationship to the people around you can be deeply transformational.
Not just the homeless, but everyone.
And then, it doesn’t matter how dirty the person is or what their story is. It is just a fellow human who will appreciate your kindness.

Breath

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The breath is important in a meditation practice for many reasons.

The first is that it is the perfect mindfullness reminder. Your breath only happens in the present moment. You can not breathe in the future or past. Focussing on your breath means focussing on the now.

It is one of the few body processes that is both automatic *and* controlled by your mind.
You can think about when you want to breath: When and how much you want to inhale. When and how much you want to exhale. (To a degree.)
But if you do not think about it, your body will still breathe. The perfect amount of air will be inhaled to oxygenate your blood without you giving it any attention. Your body takes care of this whether you think about it or not, every single minute that you are alive, waking or sleeping, Running or passed out.
That makes the breath one of a few body processes that cross the line between automatic and conscious.
Focussing on your breath allows you to observe and sit in that space of just being. Who was breathing that breath? Those deep breaths with exaggerated pauses were controlled by my conscious mind…but when I allowed myself to be still and just let the breaths happened? Those happened outside of my doing. As much controlled by my conscious mind as I control the waves crashing on the shore or the evaporation off a lake.
We don’t have control over our liver or spleen or bile duct. And we don’t have nerve sensations to tune us into what they are doing.
We have control over those functions in the way a gardener has control over a tomato plant. A gardener does not have to engineer anything to make a seed sprout. A gardener does not have to work out the logistics of photosynthesis. A gardner simply needs to provide the basic raw materials (water, soil, exposure to sun) and the nature of the plant organism does the rest.
In the same way we simply provide food, water and sleep to our body and let the nature of our organism do the rest. A tomato will thrive in optimal conditions, but it will grow in almost anything. Your body, too, will thrive with healthy food. But will survive on almost anything. Have you ever eaten Taco Bell at 3 am? The filtration process of your body is amazing, and requires zero conscious effort by you.
Another reason why the breath is so significant in meditation is because it helps us to expand the boundary of what we are.
It is easy to think of yourself as the solid matter being contained within the boundary of your skin. What is “you” is within your skin. What isn’t you is outside of your skin.
But that idea gets tricky when you start to look out how much the body is in flux. Cells are constantly dying and being created. Food is forever going in and being excreted out.
Alan Watts said that we are less a physical thing and more of a pattern — like a whirlpool. You can go to a spot in a river every day and look at the same whirlpool. It may look and behave similarly, but the contents of it is changing constantly. The whirlpool is actually a pattern of water that flows constantly *through* it. So too are we.
And the breath is the the most active demonstration of our whirlpool. In every minute of every hour that our body is alive, we are pulling in lungs-worth of air inside of our body – processing it – and then pushing a different lung’s worth of gas out.
As we focus on our breath, we can focus on that process. Is the breath part of “us” only when it is inside of us? Or does that constant ebb and flow act more like an umbilical cord? Connecting us, intimately, to the environment around us?
And our dependence on the environment is supremely intimate. You could easily live without your hand. Without your legs. Without your eyes. But you cannot live more than a few minutes without the air-filled space around you.
Every part of your body is dependent on every other part. Your brain cannot exist without its relationship with your heart & lungs. And none of it can exist without the relationship to the air around you.
Just because it exists outside of your physical body doesn’t mean it isn’t a critical part of who you are.

Just because it exists outside of your physical body doesn’t mean it isn’t a critical part of who you are.

As we focus on breath in meditation we can start to question the mental construct of “us” being the solid matter of our physical body. The boundaries of where we start and stop – of who we are – starts to soften.
Our conscious awareness is merely a vantage point to observe the Universe.
It is a vantage point from within an individual body, but that body is not separate from everything around it.
The implications of this awareness are massive. MASSIVE.
Because if your existence is intimately connected to the air around you, then it doesn’t stop there. You are connected to everything else that breathes…and so much more.

The Progress Virus

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(I am posting this as a way to play with ideas I have been reading & thinking about. I have not vetted all info, yet. I welcome opinions or links to corroborate or argue against anything within.)
When I proposed the thought experiment (see last post) of your consciousness being someplace other than right behind your eyes, it sounded absurd.
I mean, what would a Human Being be without consciousness as we know it?
Actually, if we could go back 100,000 years, we could see.
Well, maybe not *without* consciousness, but certainly without the higher thinking humans exhibit today.
Humans had consciousness in the way a cow or monkey does.
No artistic expression. No language. No significant building. Just eating, surviving, procreating like the rest of the animal kingdom.
From what we can find, humans existed in our modern biological form for 150,000 years before the 50,000 year period we call “human history” begins.
These Paleolithic populations created sophisticated stone tools and left evidence of their advanced culture in the cave paintings of southern France, dating to at least 30,000 years ago. Although anatomically modern humans first appear in Africa about 150,000 years ago, their archaeological remains show little sign of modern human behavior.
We had 100,000 years of living like, well, animals.
So the idea of our philosophical, imaginative, wondering, self-aware brains being absent from our heads is not so crazy after all.
In that “Pre-History” state we functioned much more like the rest of the creatures of the world did, and still do: In balance with nature.
When resources are high, populations grow. When resources are slim, populations shrink.
But at a certain point, something clicked in our brains and we started thinking bigger. We pursued growth and progress and started taming the earth and acting as if we were separate from the rest of the Universe.
Rather than live within the resources of the planet, we started to shape the planet to better suit our needs and desires.
We cultivated the land. We build structures. We tamed fire. We started painting on the walls and carving figurines. We started the exponential growth towards cities with cultural and technological advancement.
Traditional Christian dogma might say that we were stepping into our role of ruler of the kingdom God made for us.
“And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”
-Genesis 1:28
Progressive Christian thought might say that was we took a bite from the tree of knowledge and became separated from God. Before they ate the fruit, they were naked and without sin. Afterwards, they felt shame. (And all the modern neurosis that comes with conscious thought.
“But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” -Genesis 2:17 “And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.” -Genesis 2:25
Terence McKenna & Graham Hancock have theorized that perhaps it was at this point that humans ingested medicinal, hallucinogenic plants for the first time – and in doing so unlocked language functioning in the brain. Making way for all sorts of cumulative learning across generations.
You can find a dozen sci-fi books (and at least 1 big haired researcher on the History channel) who attribute the shift to a visit from aliens at that time.

“It was Aliens”
Whatever happened, something shifted and awakened the minds of homo sapiens.
And this new force on the planet was as significant as fire. And just as powerful.
And, just like fire, it could benefit or destroy, depending on if it is controlled or unchecked.
  • A controlled fire brings warmth, cooks food, gives light and elevates the quality of life.
  • An unchecked fire destroys life and landscape.
  • A controlled mind problem solves, cooperates, and finds harmony.
  • An unchecked mind is anxious, irrationally fearful, & destructive.
Some would argue that this mind shift is actually some sort of “Progress Virus” unleashed upon the planet, inside the brains of homo sapiens. As we approach the Singularity of Artificial Intelligence, genetic modification and biotech mastery one could wonder – has the Progress Virus been guiding us towards an evolutionary post-human species all along? This shift in our mind was a seed that sprouted — Perhaps present in our DNA all along.
Maybe this seed was even present in the DNA of the planet itself. And all of evolution was leading up to a time when the Progress Virus would be triggered and consciousness would grow.
On maybe we were touched by God, making us in his image.
I don’t know if any of these ideas are more than fantasy.
Only that there was a time when humans did not act, and presumably think, like they do now.
And this hard-to-fathom scenario is enough to open up massive possibility and crack loose any certainty about who we are in the Universe.

Who are You? (From the View in your Head)

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Your perception of the Universe is warped because of where your consciousness is housed.
You experience the universe from the space right behind your eyes. It almost feels like your head is the cockpit of the meatbody spaceship that you control.

But you only control the movement of the limbs and muscles. You only perceive what the exterior senses access – experiencing (some) light waves as color and (some) vibrations as sounds.

But you are blind and deaf to the majority of what is happening in the Universe and inside your body.

Everything that happens within the body functions outside your control and without your input. Your limbic system, respiratory system, heart rate, EVERYTHING that keeps your body alive is outside the control of your conscious mind. Who is controlling those systems and keeping everything in balance? Is that “You”?

How about the bacteria in your gut that keeps your digestive system working? Are those tiny organisms part of “You”?

At what point does a molecule in your sandwich become a molecule that is You?

Are “You” what you consciously control? Or are you the broader system that houses that consciousness?

Because if you are the whole system, why does that system end at the border of your skin?
The system cannot survive more than a few minutes without fresh oxygen, so what makes You separate from the air around your body? The air cannot exist without photosynthesis, so what makes the air separate from the plants?

The Earth is all interconnected. The Universe is one massive, perfect system.
Drawing the line around “You” at the border of your skin is pretty arbitrary – and the root of all of human’s unhealthy patterns.

The false belief of your body being separate from the rest of the planet is what allows a conscious mind to make a decision that negatively affects another part of the system it is a part of. I.e. Allowing toxic materials to pollute a river. It is the equivalent of stabbing yourself in the leg. It is self-harm. And it should be seen as a form of mental illness.

Imagine if your consciousness was housed someplace else, besides your head?

What if you had the perspective of a white blood cell inside your body.
You would travel through the bloodstream, seeking out invaders, destroying bacteria and other foreign cells.
Your consciousness would observe your surroundings, and probably fall into the same types of thinking patterns you do now. You would be worried about there being too many invaders for you to handle. You would be stressed that the marrow isn’t producing enough new white blood cells. You might even feel like you are being overworked and your workload is unfair. On tough days, you may doubt your abilities as a white blood cell and wonder what the point of it all was.
You might wonder if there is a higher power that controls all of us – Some cosmic wisdom (brain) that maintains order over the enter Universe (body).

Or take this thought experiment to a larger scale. What if your consciousness was housed in the Earth as a whole. You would have a bloodstream of rivers and countless interconnected biospheres of plant & animal systems outside your conscious control. You might observe your skin getting dryer during some time periods, colder at times. Would you be panicked about the breakout of human cities pockmarking your skin? Would you be concerned that your floral & fauna system was sick with the “Human Progress Parasite”?

This may sound silly. But how can we know for certain that these micro and macro worlds do not have some form of consciousness?
All we can know is that your cells are connected to your body. Your body is connected to the planet. The planet is connected to the Universe. And the consciousness you are experiencing now is somewhere in the middle of it all, reading this sentence and, perhaps, slowly understanding that this grand system is all one interconnected things – regardless of where your consciousness is experiencing it.

Bowie Gave Us Permission

“I don’t know where I’m going, but I promise it won’t be boring.”
-David Bowie
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David Bowie live at Hammersmith Odeon on Ziggy Stardust tour.
I am not a Bowie scholar or hardcore music fan, but it would be hard to overstate Bowie’s impact on me.
In some ways, every artistic expression I’ve had the courage to express has been on his shoulders, in his shadow, recycling his paint, borrowing pages from his playbook.
***
My introduction to Bowie was during his middle new wave and pop acts. When Music Videos were becoming as much a part of rock as the music.
Honestly, his Let’s Dance, China Girl, & Jazzin’ for Blue Jean were not my cup of tea. But he was ever present as I grew up with a 80’s MTV soundtrack for my youth.
My love for David Bowie has always been for him as an artist, more than as a musician.
Because as I got into college, I discovered Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane and a body of work that was so much more than music.
LONG before I knew what Burning Man was, David Bowie taught me what “Radical Self Expression” was.
He was gay. He was bi. He was married to Iman. He dressed like a man, like a woman, like an alien. He was whatever the fuck he wanted to be. “Fuck you, labels, I’ve got a creative vision to listen to!”
And when a creative well ran dry, he abandoned it and followed his muse. I can’t imagine the massive shitstorm he had to deal with every time he reinvented himself. What a powerful commitment to his truth.
***
When I discovered the internet, I was transformed by the realization that we could all broadcast our stories to the world. What Bowie showed me, and the world, was that you could create a fantastical, mythical story and share THAT.
Even more revolutionary — he showed that you could create a new story & vision if you tired of the old one.
I had studied Picasso and was so inspired by how he followed his inspiration into different visual phases. Through realism, cubism, his blue phase, etc.
But Bowie did this with life, itself.
What a powerful demonstration of non-linear living. I had always been taught to pursue a ladder-climbing process of building upon the past. But rather than build a cohesive sound and brand over the years, Bowie listened to his truth. He followed a path of INTEGRITY to his true expression.
Sometimes that lead him into places that were not as commercially loved.
But, damn, what a rare and beautiful role model for life that is.
I remember seeing him on TV playing with NiN when he was almost 50. My dad’s age. And I was floored. This was no respectful collaboration with an aging rocker, this was a raging, peel-the-paint, thunderfest of guitars and anger.
Holy shit. That obliterated even the most optimistic rock star story arch I’ve ever seen. He was already a massive star, nothing to prove. But he added fuel to his other-worldly fire, going supernova and scorching the earth, yet again.
Every artist faces the voice at one time or another that says, “Your best is behind you. Your well is dry.” Bowie’s life is a slap in the face and a reminder that you may just need to dig elsewhere, Idiot.
My personal life of transformations online…
From cockybastard.com to lifestudent.com
From pornographer to preacher
From narcissist to philanthropist
From artist to executive and back…
It has all been under the dream of being a “Lifestyle Artist.”
And it was a job description I learned from David Bowie.
I’ve made some courageous choices in my life, but none would be possible without the example of Bowie.
I often explain one of the gifts of Burning Man is that when surrounded by people with such extreme examples of human expression that you will NEVER be the weirdest guy around. And that awareness is FAR more liberating than you can imagine.
Our culture tends to destroy the flowers that grow too high or too colorful,
So when you have examples like Bowie to raise the bar — to push the high water mark of the tide — it eases the burden on millions of other weirdos.
David Bowie, by shining his differentness so brightly, gave a North Star that helped many of us navigate out of the pressures of the status quo.
***
And to release his final album just days before his death is the perfect final verse to his life’s sonnet. Not so much a mic drop, but a perfectly choreographed last note to echo through us as the curtain drops and our eyes adjust to a world without his shining light.
David Bowie has always been a constellation for me to look toward and orient to.
Now his body has joined his spirit.
“The stars look very different today.”
-John Halcyon Styn 01.11.16

Truth on Stage

Medium Post: “Truth On Stage”

Feeling so grateful for all my teachers.
From the grade school ones who made me write cursive on the blackboard .
To the ones long-dead who live on through published words.
To the inspiring role models I’m lucky to call friends.
I have been reflecting on the powerful role that we all play for one another in our healing. And feeling grateful for everyone who teaches me.
After experiencing Destin Gerek’s seminar I was blown open and wrote about my my mental hangups on being taught and shared some gushing words about a couple of my greatest teachers, Jacob Glass and Grandpa Caleb.

“Supportive Knights & Warrior Princesses”

I have spoke in the past about seeing your partner as their highest.

I told the story of how I have fallen into a relationship role where I try to protect my partner from harm, pain and suffering.

This doesn’t sound like a bad thing.

But it does not allow the other to grow.

Sure, you don’t want a seedling to get trampled,
But if you keep it inside it will never get the wind, and direct sunlight it needs.
It will grow weak and never become the flower it is meant to.

One of the hardest things about loving someone is seeing them struggle.
We anticipate their struggles and try to protect them.
Nobody likes to see someone they love stress or suffer.

My instinct is always to fix or change the situation.

But I have learned that true love isn’t about being a knight on a white horse that comes and saves the princess. Real love is about holding space for that princess to be a warrior – and seeing her strong and powerful – even when she can’t see it herself.

Support her? yes.
Save her? no.

During the early chapters of our relationship, I put lots of effort into being this new kind of modern night. A support knight. I reminded her of her potential and refused to accept her declarations during times of frustration.

And she grew.
Into a powerful warrior princess.

She was an intern when I met her. She became an entrepreneur. Over the next 2 years she grew a company, a brand, and a reputation. She won awards and got press. She blossomed into a such a dramatic vision of success that she became a source of inspiration for others.

And she caught the bug. With her success, her vision grew.

She devoured trainings, seminars and books. She worked with coaches and studied mentors.

Somewhere along the line, I got scared again.

I started to focus more on her struggles. I worried more about the obstacles.

Now to be fair, she fell into this trap, too. I think the path of an entrepreneur is a challenging one. How do you focus on constantly making your business better – while not becoming obsessed about what is wrong? How do you enjoy the cone while being constantly vigilant about removing crap?

I see this in all the entrepreneurs I know. The good ones are the ones who can enjoy the process of crap-removal. Instead of constantly being in a state of Oh-No! More problems!

I also think it is critical to take time, and make an effort to focus on the good whenever possible. To take a moment every day or every week to remember what is going right, what has gone right, and what wonderful potential lies ahead.

At FreshRealm, we do this with an organization-wide gratitude circle. And it makes MASSIVE difference. There are literally hundreds of things that need to be done. And we would suffocate under the weight – if we didn’t take time to appreciate the path – and our fellow teammates.


Empath
I’ve always been slightly annoyed when people say, “I’m an empath.” Is that really a special power? Like, “I’m a compassionate person.” But as I look at the struggles I have with my partner’s stress, maybe this what they mean. And maybe some people do feel others experiences deeper than normal. When I mentioned this to friend this week he said, absolutely – it is your greatest strength – and weakness.

It is this empathy – this experience of anothers pain – that makes me want to fix, to save… and sometimes to run away.
It contributes in huge ways to my fear of commitment. The idea of tying myself to pain and suffering outside of my control is terrifying.


But this is my classroom. This is the advance course I must take right now.

A recent status report showed that I got a little off track. I forgot the importance of faith. Forgot how love means believing in someone’s potential.

I forgot that Love is ACTIVE. It is much more than accepting them and loving them AS IS (although that is part of it.) It is the conscious mental thoughts of seeing a person as the highest version of themselves. Of seeing through their ego doubts, of refusing to believe the small voices in their heads (that they may share with you) and refusing to listen to the small voices in your head that you may project on them.
This is the Love Warriors duty. This is the heart-centered path of honor. This is the way of the Supportive Knight.

I lost my way, m’lady, and I will work to rejoin you on your glorious path.

-John
march 3, 2014

The Teacosy Era

A lifetime ago, I explored the frontier of webcam technology and “digital intimacy”.

I dealt with my adolescent insecurity by cultivating a beefcake following.

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There was even a website dedicated to posting images captured from my webcam. Teacosy.net. (I often wore my long hair bunched up under a hat – that some said looked like a teacosy.)
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The “Teacosy” community was full of pretty amazing people and lead to CitizenX.com.

But sometimes it was ridiculous.
(actual transcript, names changed):

[NewbieOne] DON’T YOU ALL THINK HE IS HOT?!
[NewbieTwo] is that him for real
[NewbieTwo] i thought the pic was sooooooooooo sexy
[NewbieOne] YEAH, I GUESS
[NewbieTwo] damn
[NewbieThree] i don’t see anything happening
[NewbieOne] HE IS SO SEXY
[NewbieTwo] can i get some
[NewbieTwo] lol
[NewbieOne] ME TOO!
[NewbieTwo] me first
[NewbieTwo] lol
[NewbieOne] WE’LL TAG TEAM HIM
[NewbieOne] :)
[NewbieTwo] alright
[NewbieOne] I BET HE WOULD LIKE THAT
[NewbieTwo] i don’t see anything right now
[NewbieTwo] he would love it
[NewbieOne] HE’S JUST SITTING THERE
[NewbieOne] LOOKIN ALL GOOD :)
[NewbieThree] he sees what we say, right?
[NewbieTwo] looking sexy
[NewbieTwo] not sure
[NewbieOne] HEY HALCYON! CAN YOU SEE WHAT WE ARE WRITING?
[NewbieTwo] lol
[NewbieTwo] your soooooooooo crazy
[NewbieOne] :)
[NewbieOne] I LOVE IT!
[NewbieOne] I GUESS HE CAN…I DON’T KNOW
[NewbieTwo] me either
[NewbieTwo] i would rape him….*(grins)*
[NewbieOne] NOW, HOW MANY GUYS DO YOU KNOW THAT COULD LOOK GOOD IN A PINK HAT!?
[NewbieOne] HE’S HOT!
[NewbieThree] hehehe
[NewbieOne] YUMMY YUM YUM
[NewbieTwo] you betta believe it
[NewbieTwo] so where is this sexy man’s lady….if he don’t have one i will be that for him….*(grins)*
[NewbieTwo] alright
[NewbieThree] he looks like he’s in class or something!
[NewbieTwo] it don’t even matter i would sex him up in class lol

It is so strange to look back at those moments. Those first digital connections. Reaching out through the brand new world wide web for affirmation and connection.

Tonight I am thinking of Jan. Jan created teacost.net, was a longtime supporter (and sometimes critic), and a beautiful person. I used to wonder if we would ever meet, but she died. I hope that those digital connections brought some love and smiles to her when she was alive. As long as there is archive.org, I will forever be dancing late at night, in a towel, for Jan.

2013 In Review

Every year I write up a year in review. I.e. Here is the 2011 year

2014

Designed and Performed Opening Ceremony at Leyenda (with Krista Richards)
Keynote Speaker at TVIA (Teen Volunteers In Action) Senior Send Off

Participated in UCSB “Personal Branding” Career Event
Keynote Speaker at Congregation Dor Hadash Temple MLK Jr. Day
Keynote Speaker at Planned Parenthood Staff Event
Gave talk & Lovers Nest Opening Ceremony at Lucidity
MC’d Lucidity”s “Rising Vibes” Event in Santa Barbara
Spoke at LA Decom & SD Decom (Youtopia)
Moved (sorta) to a new town (Ventura) for the first time since college.
Got a paycheck for the first time in years – as a legitimate Executive.
Started doing Weekly “Gratitude Songs” and leading Gratitude Circles as part of Goodness Fridays at work. (Many more professional-related things that I’ll save for a different conversation.)
Celebrated another year of 1stSaturdays.org – with events in SD, LA & SF. And volunteer numbers breaking 90 smiling people at times.

The Unofficial Blog of John Halcyon Styn