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Tag Archives: risk

real makeup 2


the scars of life are real makeup

superficial beautification

and cosmetic surgery

is no more effective than polishing a corpse


turned furrows of pained failure

bring deep beauty to the surface

cracked, exposed earth

ushers in a kiss

…the breath of life


a broken heart

beats more tenderly

and though it limps it knows full well

that remaining untouched and inside

brings no reward


for real life to begin

death must first knock

but if the door remains shut

who can speak of fellowship?


to paint the bows and never set sail

is like locking the rudder

in a becalmed sea

for to be painted

requires the boat to leave the water


rather to have loved and lost

than to live with abandoned desires

rather to walk with a limp

than to run swiftly in half forgotten dreams


Dogs are amazing creatures. I am not anywhere near being an expert on them but I am a keen observer of life of all forms and I have watched over many decades and many relationships with my own and other’s faithful canine pets. There have been extended periods when we have had as many as 5 dogs at one time and I cannot honestly recall any time in the 24 years since we first started having kids that we have ever not had at least 1 dog in our lives.

Dogs are faithful almost to a fault. They will show and receive love and affection easily. They will protect you even at the risk of their own safety, often even their own lives if necessary. Dogs learn very quickly and adapt to and adopt even the very exact character traits of their owners. From prejudices, preferences, patterns, to types of people, they almost become like us fully. I would say that dogs reflect almost directly their owners in a number of very interesting and often humorous ways.

Contrary to popular opinion they do not demand pampering nor indeed need to be pampered. This is more a need that originates from us. They just observe, learn, and copy. They don’t demand to sleep inside and especially not in their owner’s beds or on expensive lounge couches. Given a chance they will surely take it. By nature they are opportunists. They don’t demand topside steaks 3 times a day. Simple, good, balanced nutrition and constant access to clean and fresh water suits them totally fine. In fact, even this is not really absolutely essential as they are extremely resilient creatures who even if cast out on their own will track down sustenance for them selves. They are great adaptors and can and will accommodate almost anything that is set before them. In fact they will thrive way better than any of us could were we to be treated in a similar way. If from youth they are fed the very best and most expensive stuff they will develop what can perhaps be regarded as a spoiled and pampered temperament but usually if dogs do this they have probably been overly pampered by some needy human and simply have learned to enjoy the pattern and are intelligent enough to explore and exploit it to the full. They are simple creatures and will be very accommodating if they are respected and loved.

However, if they are treated harshly or neglected they will at some point react and then they can be very decisive in their response. Unlike humans, they do not seem to hold grudges and after lashing out will revert almost immediately to a faithful support once again …. unless the deed is repeated against them and then ….

You see, dogs are dogs. They are wild at heart and this nature cannot be domesticated or fully tamed. We believe that we are totally superior to them and that we can train them fully . . . … but I don’t agree. They are fairly rare but there are many examples where things have got out of hand and usually the dog gets the blame but if deeper, honest investigation is entered into they are almost always provoked in some way.

Let me try to explain myself a bit more on this point I made on dogs being wild; by wild I don’t mean crazy, insane, dangerously and unpredictably violent, brutal or destructive. By wild I mean honest, unaffected by human political and social values around them. They are dogs and they are honest with this state of being and comfortable in it too. They are true to their given estate and mostly uncomplicated in all this means. I don’t think that they even think about it at all. They are what they are and that’s that.

But, everything has its limits and dogs are no different. If a line is crossed there is a natural, honest (you can call it wild if you want to) reaction that is with dogs, not clouded by emotion or even remorse during and after the event. If dogs are seriously threatened, brutally treated or abused they will attack. When they attack they are honest and incisive. Unlike humans it is very seldom vindictive or evil, but it is passionate and decisive, full, and if necessary, final, even sometimes fatal. If they are threatened they will growl and warn, but if the warning is unheeded they will snap. If the snap does not achieve the desired rectification of the perceived problem they will strike and often they will strike quickly and hard.

Dogs have their own instincts and they slot very naturally and effortlessly into them without losing one sleepless second regardless of the consequences, good or bad. It might sound obvious but dogs are not human. They are not bothered or even desirous of our intelligence or our alleged higher order of consciousness. They are, unlike us, mostly happy where they are. Yes, they will take an inch if it is offered or available to them but that is simply the nature of the jungle they see everything as.

What might this have to do with true religion? I suggest – everything.

If we treat people, our planet, even ourselves like we treat dogs we cannot expect anything different than what I have described above. If we show contempt and continue to abuse our environment, human or other it’s no use complaining if life starts snarling, growling and snapping at us. If we refuse to hear or feel these kind, gracious, tender warnings we cannot object if we get suddenly attacked as if it was without provocation. It’s no good crying if the attack comes from our peers or from strangers or from nature itself. Let’s face it, the attack might even be passionate and decisive, final or even fatal.

There is no reason in blaming God or even Satan or any other religious or supernatural personification we might desire to conjure up. God made all things and he was happy with it all, very happy in fact. He was happy with its natural ability to regenerate, self-regulate, and to harmonise and be amazingly fruitful and for each seed sown to reproduce after its own kind.

So when something comes at you you can be fairly confident that it came from you somehow, somewhere, sometime.

If we love, honour and respect our “dogs” they will stay by our side and be faithful and wonderful companions as long as it takes for our natural lives to be full. They will honour us in return. We will live in peace and harmony. We will live harmonious, joyful and abundant lives all our days. And the real, luscious fruits will be tasted and relished by our children’s children’s children’s children’s children.

This is true religion.


I circled high and saw the glow,

a candle flickering down below.

I’d heard of danger,

cries of “don’t go near!”

but surely there was not that much to fear?

I swooped on down, I felt its charm

a sight so warm could do no harm

I circled round, I spiraled in

I could not keep my excitement in

it was a risk, I knew quite well

but not to venture leaves no story to tell

to face a challenge and grab the prize

I knew I could do it, what they said was just lies

a caution echoed inside my head

a twinge of fear, a flutter of dread.

but I had to see, I just had to find out

what this fear-filled fuss was all about

I moved in closer, it felt so fine

the warmth was thrilling, almost divine.

the pull was enticing, the pleasure so great

my heart was pounding at a mind-spinning rate



racing around

I swirled


I lost myself

not desiring to be found

suddenly it all turned bitter

I managed a shout

but it was too late

my flame had gone out.

As far as we know there is no society on earth that does not have romantic love as part of its make up. In all of their studies anthropologists have never found a society that did not have the presence of romantic love in its social fabric. This sounds wonderful and quite warming, a positive constant in an ever changing world, but the reality is that romantic love is not always a positive or happy experience.

Love, and specifically romantic love seems to be a type of madness on both sides of a continuum. As powerful as the effect of positive romantic love is, the effects of romance failed is seemingly more so and for a few reasons perhaps.

Romantic love is one of the most powerful things on earth. It is in the evidence of its power over our decision making that it can be almost seen as a type of madness. We have also come to discover that romantic love is an obsession, a drug that can enslave us and change us dramatically.

Paul Simon wrote a song called “Allergies” on his Album “Hearts & Bones”

“My heart can stand a disaster
My heart can take a disgrace
But my heart is allergic
To the women I love
And it’s changing the shape of my face”

We have also come to discover that the other side of romantic love, rejection or broken romance is even more obsessive.

It seems clear now that in the human brain the same area fires up and is activated in positive and negative romantic love i.e. – when you have just fallen into love and are ecstatic as when you have just been unceremoniously dumped and are in devastating emotional distress.

Another interesting discovery that modern science backs is that the less our hope is in obtaining an object of our desire the hotter our desire for that object is. This is crazy stuff. Just when one would think that a failed romance and the accompanying disillusionment would cause reason and sanity to set in and snap the hurting party out of the pain and into reality the opposite actually happens – the obsession with the relationship intensifies all the more, and not always in the best way. It can tip us over the edge and get us to act totally irrationally. It can literally change the shape of our face. It’s as if we shift our perception on reality and then willingly risk all as we ride this wave obsessively all the way to the shore.

When we suffer in this way it seems that the desire of love is replicated in the opposite and in fact even tends to exceed the intensity of the positive romantic love it once seemed to have had. It has now been observed that the reward system in our brains for wanting and which sparks motivation and develops drive to achieve our goals can go into almost a craving for what we desire. This gets more active when we cannot get our hands on the object of our desire. The more something is seemingly out of reach the more we stretch and reach for it and the more we intensify our passion in this quest.

Another interesting discovery is that the same area of the brain that measures and calculates the extremities of gains or losses is the same area that fires up when we make decisions to take huge risks with the possibility of huge loss in order to gain something we desire. Here also it seems that sober reason and irrational, high risk seem to come from the same source.

It is madness of a sort, but it seems like when we are at greater risk of losing out we are fired up all the more.

Could taking a sideways step to look at this suggest that in the same way faith and doubt are from the exact same place? What about love and hate? They seem so opposite but maybe they are the same thing? Is it reasonable to suggest that love and hate are also so similar – possibly even from the exact same place, two sides of the exact same coin? Maybe even the exact same thing – just expressed and experienced very (extremely) differently?

If we turn our attention towards faith and religion and specifically the concept of a professed “love for God,” could it mean that the more we desire to press in and believe and seek after the love of God towards us we are actually faced with the opposite reality as a very present factor in our minds?

I have always found it very interesting that so many turn to a belief in God in times of deep and desperate pain, sorrow or rejection, or in the face of significant failure and even loss. Loss of dignity, worth, even of physical things like health or finances? I have also noticed that those who are the most adamant and vocal about their belief and often adopt a fundamentalist stance seem to be either in or coming out of a very desperate situation in their lives. Could it be that those of us who are passionately aligned to our belief systems are actually in the realm of ‘madness’? Could it be that we are reacting and energising ourselves to pursue what we feel is so out of reach to us, possibly even lost forever?

Could this be what is being suggested or referred to when we are challenged with the “golden Rule” – the command to love others as we love ourselves?

What could this all say about love? Why we love, how we love, whom or what we love?

What might it say about our theologies and the groupings we choose to gravitate towards or even belong to?

In the study of virtual gaming fascinating data is being revealed about the way our brains function and the way we function with our brains. The programming of on-line virtual gaming has provided us with immense and amazing data on all the actions and activities of every player throughout the world. One of the most fascinating sets of data to my mind is that of what seems to motivate us to persist in an activity that clearly has no real reward at all other than what is perceived by the player. What has come out is that known, achievable reward excites people but an uncertain reward really gets us going, it literally lights the brain up. Knowing we can achieve a reward is indeed stimulating but not really knowing if we will ever actually get the ultimate reward or not is totally compelling to us. It seems to be that this ability we have to access imaginative states beyond our present reality and to set projected goals to achieve the apparently unachievable serves to lock us in to the hunt and will even cause us to invest heavily in the quest.
Could this be why God plays ‘hide-&-seek’ with us and remains seemingly at an arms length? Is this why God has positioned himself so near yet so far out of reach? Could this be why the universe is so vast and yet so compelling at the same time. In ancient scripts, mythology and vocal traditions the stories abound, filled with metaphor and suggested allusion. Frustrating yet compelling, just out of reach but so near at hand. Maybe God really does so love the world that he sets before us such a tapestry of unbelievable probability and improbability, that those with a zest for life will respond to the intense provocation and even get themselves to willingly gamble all on the hope of a possible dream with no present proof of any tangible outcome this side of the grave?
To have played and lost is apparently far better than to have never played at all