Forgive me, Jebus

I had an awesome lunch yesterday with a exceptionally wise Christian friend. As we talked I found myself finding more connection with Jesus’ words as well as clarity of basic spiritual ideas I have been exploring.

Preface: I do not identify as a Christian. I see Jesus as a great Spiritual leader who tried to express a profound divine awareness with those around him. He tried to put the awareness into words (Which have then been translated and passed on through the Multi-generational Church PR machine.) But I think the specific words are far less important than the direction of the ideas.
And to me, I see this same direction of thought from many evolved teachers in history and living today.
So, while I am frustrated by some people’s strict allegiance to the words of the bible, I am also struck by how often it can be interpreted in ways that mesh perfectly with my “new age” philosophies.
For example, I see Jesus as the role model for our ideal selves. I don’t see him as the son of god but as a symbol of the divine in all of us. In this sense, we “follow Jesus” as we walk our paths and strip away our worldly socialization. The false idols we need to avoid are the “gods “ of status, fame, wealth, etc..
Chasing these things is a sure fire path to suffering. And if we place these things above Love, our world feels like it is filled with obstacles and injustice. This focus on “what is wrong” is what I would call, “Hell.”
But when we see the miracles that surround us, then Heaven is in every moment.
Therefore the “path” to heaven is within. Or “Through me, “ meaning “becoming more Christ-like.”
I was thinking about the almost comical Christian belief that you can ask for forgiveness on your deathbed and no matter what you did, still go to Heaven.
But during lunch I had an epiphany: This idea of instant access to Heaven through forgiveness is profound.
The reality is that you are not asking forgiveness of anything outside of yourself. You are accepting the flawed perfection that is “you.”
You are recognizing that this Ego Persona is not really, “You.” All these things you may have shame or guilt over, were done as part of your separate ego identity. But when you let go of that identity – when you “forgive” that part of yourself – then you can step into your divine one-ness.
And THAT puts you in the state of Heaven in an instant.
In that moment that we recognize that ANY decision we make with our ego minds is severely limited, we are set free.
“Forgiveness” of the ego self is a recognition of non-separation.
If we let go of our ego identity, then we can sense the one-ness of the universe. The connection with all things.
It is also a release of attachment – A letting go of that perception that we know what is best.
My ego brain is not to be trusted. As I ask forgiveness for the actions of my Ego self, I am surrendering to a higher power, flow, energy, love, God.
I see this forgiveness as the same sort of awakening. Where the divine seed in us “forgives” the ego mind for it’s narrow choices and actions.
“Accepting Jesus in our heart” is actually a surrendering to the divine connection that has always existed within us.
And suddenly the idea of being absolved of all sins in an instant makes a ton of sense.

Jan 23, 2010

B & E Wedding (my words)

Evelyng & Brandon

WELCOME
Welcome Family and Friends!
We are gathered here today with Brandon & Evelyn to celebrate one of the deepest gifts this existence has to offer.
“LOVE.”
Love is just a word. It is very difficult for a single syllable to embody the depth of what it Love is to us. And the word means different things to different people. In this global crowd, it’s meaning is even more confusing. “Para el amor no existe idiomas ni distancias” (Lo siento para mi mal Espanol)
But our inability to express it does not affect it’s power.
Love is…everything.
Today we see love transcending language. Transcending geography. Transcending all the surface-level inconveniences and obstacles that we too often mistake for Life.
Life is when we see past all the small stuff and let ourselves be vessels of love.
And when we meet someone who can see the depth of love inside us, who recognizes our unique precious perfection, and allows us to blossom in love with them, it is truly a Magical Thing.
It is Magical far beyond the joy it brings to the lucky couple, themselves. It is a gift to all of us who can bask in the warmth of their union.
A day like today is special in that it allows us to all recognize this gift. All who are here have played a role in their lives. And all who are here are blessed by the love they share.
And we are so deeply blessed.

FAIRY TALE
Does everyone know how the happy couple met? Once upon the time there was a fair maiden, far from home, lost in a city called San Francisco.
Through the fog of the Bart Station, a dark handsome prince approached.
M’lady, you look lost. Where are you headed?
Where she was going is irrelevant. What is important is that the knight said,
“I know the way….Why don’t we go there, together….”
And so began their adventures together that continue to this day. Through different cities and different countries. Overcoming fire breathing dragons and ogre-ish immigration officials. Finding their way together – sharing the amazing and the mundane.
Just remember that no matter how thick the fog or how lost you may be in Life’s Mass Transit, know that the destinations are meaningless.
Wherever your adventures take you, You will live happily ever after …together.

FINAL

Marriage is at once a new beginning as well as a timeless ritual. These two individuals make this day totally unique and special, but the ceremony is rooted in the powerful traditions and commitments of millions of sacred bonds across many faiths.

My grandpa read the same passage from this tattered book at over 1000 weddings. When he gave this to me he said that there are couples still together today that were married with this book, over 50 years ago. I’d like to share the same passage with you.

“Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
Corinthians 1-13

B & E Wedding (my words)

Evelyng & Brandon

WELCOME
Welcome Family and Friends!
We are gathered here today with Brandon & Evelyn to celebrate one of the deepest gifts this existence has to offer.
“LOVE.”
Love is just a word. It is very difficult for a single syllable to embody the depth of what it Love is to us. And the word means different things to different people. In this global crowd, it’s meaning is even more confusing. “Para el amor no existe idiomas ni distancias” (Lo siento para mi mal Espanol)
But our inability to express it does not affect it’s power.
Love is…everything.
Today we see love transcending language. Transcending geography. Transcending all the surface-level inconveniences and obstacles that we too often mistake for Life.
Life is when we see past all the small stuff and let ourselves be vessels of love.
And when we meet someone who can see the depth of love inside us, who recognizes our unique precious perfection, and allows us to blossom in love with them, it is truly a Magical Thing.
It is Magical far beyond the joy it brings to the lucky couple, themselves. It is a gift to all of us who can bask in the warmth of their union.
A day like today is special in that it allows us to all recognize this gift. All who are here have played a role in their lives. And all who are here are blessed by the love they share.
And we are so deeply blessed.

FAIRY TALE
Does everyone know how the happy couple met? Once upon the time there was a fair maiden, far from home, lost in a city called San Francisco.
Through the fog of the Bart Station, a dark handsome prince approached.
M’lady, you look lost. Where are you headed?
Where she was going is irrelevant. What is important is that the knight said,
“I know the way….Why don’t we go there, together….”
And so began their adventures together that continue to this day. Through different cities and different countries. Overcoming fire breathing dragons and ogre-ish immigration officials. Finding their way together – sharing the amazing and the mundane.
Just remember that no matter how thick the fog or how lost you may be in Life’s Mass Transit, know that the destinations are meaningless.
Wherever your adventures take you, You will live happily ever after …together.

FINAL

Marriage is at once a new beginning as well as a timeless ritual. These two individuals make this day totally unique and special, but the ceremony is rooted in the powerful traditions and commitments of millions of sacred bonds across many faiths.

My grandpa read the same passage from this tattered book at over 1000 weddings. When he gave this to me he said that there are couples still together today that were married with this book, over 50 years ago. I’d like to share the same passage with you.

“Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
Corinthians 1-13

My Archie Conundrum

Life is choices.
With a few exceptions, we always have choices.
Even when we feel trapped, it is usually because we simply don’t like our options.
Sometimes the hardest choices to make are when we like multiple options.

This week I have been struggling with my own “Betty vs. Veronica” situation.

For those of you who were not huge Archie fans, Betty was the sweet blonde who competed with raven-haired Veronica for the affection of Archie, the ginger.

Year after year, he strung both girls along. (Presumably, because they were comic books for children, nether coupling ever got *too* intimate… so his two timing never really became an issue.)

Sometimes it is much harder to have 2 options that you like. It can become more about “rejecting” one than picking another.

My personal Betty and Veronica is regarding a weekend in March.
Will I go to Mexico for “Fuente Eterno” or to Austin for “SXSW?”

I have tickets for both. I have dear friends going to both. I wish I could keep dating them both indefinitely. But life is not like comic books.

I have been participating in SXSW for over 10 years. It is like my “geek Burning Man.” I’m on the steering committee, have been on a dozen panels, given solo talks, and even hosted the Web Awards for a number of years. I get to see tons of people I only know online and am surrounded by digital geniuses who inspire me. It is also the only tech conference that I still go to and play a role in. In some ways it is the symbolic link that helps me maintain my role as an “expert” in the New Media field.

Funete Enterno is a 500 person Burning Man-style event held at a magical hot springs location in Baja Mexico. I have never attended but continue to hear that it is a “must-do” event for “people like me.” I’ve heard it described it as a more sacred, more loving, more intimate slice of The Playa.

It feels like the decision is more symbolic than simply deciding how to spend a weekend. It feels like I am choosing the tone of the next chapter of my life.

Will I continue to pursue a path as a Digital Media Consultant? Assisting companies with the technologies and concepts I have been playing with for the last decade? It is certainly an area in which I am considered an expert and seems the most logical career path.

Or will I commit more seriously to the spiritual writing/speaking/teaching path that continues to develop in me? I don’t know what this future looks like, I only know the values and ideas that pull me in that direction. Is there a way to support myself down that path? I don’t know.

Known vs. Unknown.
Security vs. Adventure.
Expertise vs. Passion.

Part of me wants to get advice from friends. But the reality is that I am the only one who can make this choice. This choice needs to come from inside me, not from any external logic. The truth is, I’m scared. I know that my marketability as a digital consultant is only of value if I keep up to date on the latest trends and tech. So getting off the treadmill for a year – or even a month – feels like it would have profound effects on my career.

But maybe that is the Fear talking.

Maybe I need to let go of this trapeze bar- and float in uncertainty before I can even see what the next -more wonderful- bar will look like. Or maybe I will fall. Hell, maybe a fall is what would be best for me.

I think I know what I need to do. The promise of that unknown trapeze bar is too much to let Fear stand it the way. It may be time to loosen my grip on the career and reputation I’ve built.

I’ve told myself this is the chapter of floating more – and right now the current is saying, “Let go…”

I hope my friends will understand: Deep down, Betty was always the girl for me.

-John

Jan 14, 2010

Vegas Flow

Dmitry invited me to come with him to Vegas during CES/AVN. I could drive with him and stay in his room.

Alas, I declined. I had an important meeting in Irvine that conflicted.

Truth be told, I also wasn’t sure I wanted to go to Vegas.
I have been working on deconstructing my ego and embracing a less flashy me.
And Vegas is the land of the amplified Ego – where Halcyon Pink is much more at home than John Styn.

So I was somewhat relieved that I had a work conflict.

But not long after Dmitry arrived in Vegas, my meeting was canceled and my schedule became wide open. Too bad I missed my ride! Again, I was relieved.

But something was eating at me.

I had just told my Life Coach that I wanted to get out of the house more. I told him I would schedule weekend trips or mini adventures.
And here an adventures was practically pulling me into it and I was refusing.

I was a little down Wednesday night as I thought about the situation and my response.

I woke Thursday morning and remembered that my brother was flying to Vegas… later that day! Now the Flow was too strong to ignore.

Before long I was booking a seat on his plane and planning for him to pick me up on the way to the airport.

Talk about icing on the adventure cake! Spending a few hours with my brother?! With a 1 and 3 year old, solo time with my bro is pretty precious. How poetic that the journey was going to be as exciting than the destination.

I quickly packed and had an awesome travel afternoon with Jim. At the airport, I started to see people I knew from Adult Trade shows. I had an adult industry client and worked many events over the last decade. This was the first time I had been around that world since I left several years ago. And they all knew me as Halcyon Pink or “Hal.”

This muted version of myself was like being in disguise.

That night in Vegas we hit some non-adult CES events. We enjoyed the hospitality of my brother’s company and several other places for drinks and dancing. (Apparently much more of both than I remember.)

Friday was my “Float more, steer less” day.
So I slept in and stayed in the room until well past noon. A part of me worried if I would use “float more” as an excuse to “do nothing.” But I reminded myself that that would be okay, too. I brought good books and plenty of paper to write on.

But when Dmitry got a call and headed to the Venetian for a meeting, I hitched a ride in the cab.
I had a pass to CES, but the cab was going towards AVN.
I hung out in public areas and saw dozens of Adult celebs. Then I started to run into people I knew. Wonderful people I missed from the Adult internet industry. As each friend walked by, I would stop them for hugs, then ask if I could walk with them to wherever they were going. It was wonderful. Lots of hugs and reconnecting. And when there was no one around that I knew, I sat and watched. By dinnertime I felt exhausted and fulfilled from a day of floating.
Tonight, Dmitry and I struggled to make an evening plan. It is Porn Week in Vegas and there is lots going on. There is also a lot of pressure to make the most of it. We tried to figure out how many hours sleep we needed to be able to drive home safely in the morning. (We both have commitments in SD tomorrow.)
Eventually we decided to stay in. I texted people to let them know, and they were shocked.
I was having a hard time believing it, too.
I’ll admit the feeling that I should go out was strong. But to “psyche up” and make that happen would have qualified as “Steering more.”
Besides, I think it was Halcyon Pink that wanted to go out. And he wasn’t invited on this trip.

-John
Friday night, 12:30am Vegas, Trump Hotel rm 4519

See the Stars


I assumed shaving my head would be a sacrifice.
I grew up believing I had a pin head and big ears. Add to that some scars on my scalp and you have a recipe for dweeb.

The truth is, I didn’t really want to shave my head. I simply had the desire for my hair to be my natural color. Unfortunately, after a test with the clippers, I found that only the shortest “1 guard” would remove all the pink. Yikes. I had never cut my hair that short.
I would have much rather let the roots grow out more – but that could take weeks. I considered dying all the pink back to a “natural” color – but a fake brown seemed to defeat the purpose.

Finally I decided to surrender to the idea. It was Xmas break and I had nothing important on my calendar in the near future. It was the night of the Winter Solstice, the new year was days away and if worse comes to worse – I have lots of hats. Plus, hair grows back.

“BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ”

I was startled by my first look in the reflection. I wasn’t just the lack of color, but the shape of my head that was different. I probably would not have recognized my own shadow. I was pleasantly surprised. It was drastic – but also kinda cool.

As the next week progressed I was continually surprised by my reflection. I saw glimpses of my shorn head and would have flashes of iconic shaved heads: prisoners, monks, soldiers, even Neo in the last Matrix movie.

I liked it visually more that I thought I would.
And it impacted me mentally more, too.

I have considered myself a “Lifestyle Artist” for many years. I enjoy seeing my days – and the way I look as I walk through them – as part of my artistic expression. But there is a level of pressure when every public appearance is an unstated gallery opening.

Having pink hair is asking for attention. It is the fashion equivalent of sounding a trumpet when you enter a room: “ATTENTION, ATTENTION: I AM A CREATIVE AND INTERESTING PERSON!”

Don’t get me wrong, I love this. It serves a dual purpose of repelling people who are too close-minded to click with me and drawing people in who are more on my wavelength.

It’s like a scarlet ass of a baboon or the intricate coloring of a flower. It helps all the other animals know what to expect.

But that is just it.

“Knowing what to expect” means that there are expectations. It means that I enter every situation with a story already attached to me. Normally I like this for the reasons above. And I may return to pink for this very reason.

But now that I am free from the visual legacy, I understand better what the effect is.

Without the story behind who I am, I find myself much more present in the moment.

I am untethered by a legacy or reputation.

(NOTE: I love my reputation and have worked very hard for it. But even the best reputation still forces you into a box of some sort.)

So as I walk the street, I am simply a man.
I am not an artist or performer.
I am not special or unique.
I have nothing to say until my mouth actually forms the words.

And this was the deeper goal of the change:
To minimize the impact of my appearance and allow the subtlety of my true self peek through. I have used my body and appearance as a crutch for a long time. Insecurity convinced me that I was “pretty smart for a model…” but I lacked faith in the worth of my thoughts alone.

In recent years I have worked on deepening my spiritual practice. And I feel like the ideas I share are less and less about “me” at all. I don’t feel like I am crafting any message, but simply chipping away at my ego and noticing what is left.

So as 2009 ended, I wanted to chip away at another part of my ego: my well-crafted appearance.

In this “naked” state, I feel a new level of honesty. This is who I am, without any attempts to *create* something and control how it is perceived. (NOTE: This is an exaggeration. I still wear earrings and choose my clothing.) If I am judged in this state, it has nothing to do with me. This is how I was created.

I understand the concept of uniforms much more now. Removing the option to decorate places much more importance on what is inside.

I’ve been visualizing it as “Turning off the porch lights so you can see the stars.”

So far, the view is fantastic.

Jan 4, 2010