Announcing the publication of my new non-fiction book entitled Elysian Fields. If you've followed my work, you know that my first two books were about addiction, incarceration, and the beginnings of recovery. This book will take up where I left off and follow my continuing journey of higher spiritual evolution. Elysian Fields is a poetic-prose work which explores the often difficult path I have followed from darkness and uncertainty to light and harmony. Please enjoy the following excerpt and feel free to drop by my blog at http://peaceandequilibriumtoday.blogspot.com where I blog weekly on my discoveries and hopes for sharing healing and love with all others struggling with personal demons.
Excerpt--(c) 2011. All rights reserved.
Shams and delusions are esteemed for soundest truths, while reality is fabulous; I perceive that we . . . live this mean life that we do because our vision does not penetrate the surface of things. We think that that is which appears to be.
--Henry David Thoreau, Walden
The shiny surface of our lives has made us lose our ability to truly live. In my own life, I have come to believe that we must learn to penetrate beyond "the surface of things," as Thoreau writes in Walden, if we ever expect to find any lasting peace. This thought never occurred to me during the '90s when I was living the wealthy, fashionable life of an up-and-coming writer in Atlanta. At that time, I was chasing after the American dream, the one we're all taught to chase from the time we are old enough to understand the word "mine."
When that dream turned out to be a vortex, a gaping hole, that only grew emptier the more I tried to fill it with material things, I had a breakdown. I lost control of my mind. I came undone. However, I could never have possibly known at the time that my break-"down" was actually a break-"through."
I broke through to an understanding that has made my whole perception of life change and which has made it possible for me to find lasting peace and joy. However, my "breakthrough" came at an enormous cost to me personally.
This book is a poetic attempt to share my spiritual journey from a blind soul searching in the dark to someone who has found some sense of truth and balance in the Divine Light. It is my ardent hope that this book will be a beacon of hope on the path of all seekers of God-consciousness. Namaste.
I am indebted to so many people for helping me find my way to the light. First and foremost, I wish to thank with all my heart and soul my parents whose love and belief in me has made it possible not only for me to find the light but to live and to write this book.
Also, I wish to thank the Buddha, Swami Sivananda Radha, Swami Sivananda, Tolle Chopra, Thich Nhat Hanh, Kim Sang, Carlos Castaneda, and countless other spiritual guides who have helped me find my way to the light and then to this creative outpouring.
Shakti Om, Shanti Om, Hari Om, Shiva Om.
They told me to take a streetcar named Desire,
and then transfer to one called Cemeteries
and ride six blocks to get off at Elysian Fields.
Tennessee Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire
I had to go through the darkness to find the light. And, oh, let me sing of how beautiful darkness was.
It was filled with music that flickered and moved around my body. Passionate desires and pleasurable sighs were in every corner. The colors lit me up from the inside like color-filled strobes. I was surrounded by bodies of men, women-wild creatures all- dancing to the bass-inflected beauty of the sweet music of darkness.
The scene sometimes changed and moved to a more intimate space, a bedroom with a window facing north, a white duvet, and cut roses on a stand in the corner. My lover's sighs echoed softly in the room and I felt them as much as heard them as they touched softly against my skin and then the walls and the curtains before they wafted outward into the midnight sky.
The sweet taste of wine was on my lips and my kisses rained on my lover's body like a waterfall of pure honey in dripping, clinging droplets on his smooth, soft skin. Darkness surrounded our bodies.
It was a fever-dream of physical bliss and I knew, or thought I knew, it was the nexus of pleasure and that none better could be found in the sensual world. I lost myself in the flood of his kisses and in the soft silken strokes of his fingertips upon my white, white skin.
He was one of many lovers; all of them were like filaments of light in the chaos of darkness. The pleasure beggared all description; it was without comparison. And, I found myself like Odysseus in the land of the lotus eaters drunk on the pleasure itself and falling ever deeper into the womb of bliss. I had my love affair with the desires of the flesh, the sweet, smooth, tingling flesh of lust.
I was like a man caught out of doors on a windy day whose hat blows off and he chases it, but each time his fingertips nearly grasp the hat, it blows away again. I was that man; I was caught up in the mad pursuit of that hat-a hat of pleasure-a hat I couldn't catch, yet could catch, and did catch. And each time it felt divine to have caught this pleasure, and then equally horrific to lose it again. Never ending was my pursuit of it, and one day I needed something more, a better cure for my desires. I needed a pleasure that would last longer, that I wouldn't have to chase so hard. Something to ease the pain of living.
And so came the true love of my life, though she arrived many years later. She came to me like the dogwoods come in spring, flashing out in brilliance and seducing me with the beauty of her mood. Casting off winter's sad cloak and saturating my world with pristine incomparable pleasures. She took me to a chemically-induced version of Elysian Fields where delight reigned supreme.
Ah, my truest love was but a tiny thing, a pink three-dimensional tablet that opened the door to the sun and the moon, and all the eternal stars and back again. She stopped me in my orbit and made me a planet without gravity. She made me a creature of gripping need, without a shape and far beyond what is real or unreal. The days of wine and roses began when she arrived. Her name was Xanax, the liliaceous asphodel of my world.
A shape-shifter who one day was my lover and the next day my friend, soft Xanax. A cruel nemesis and a beautiful seducer. She drove me to madness and kept me alone, isolated from everyone and everything.
I stayed with her every hour of every day in the dark chamber of my mind where she planted brilliant illusions which blossomed like fuchsia-colored orchids and transfixed me for so long a time that the world beyond my mind lost all meaning.
Deeper and deeper she took me into the recesses of my cerebrum. She left me feeling such pleasure that life itself became a distant memory. How could love or friendship or work or art or the past or the future hold any meaning at all when this magical pill satisfied all the needs I could have? So I made my home inside a hidden womb and each morning I reached out to my lover, my pill, and she was always there, never disappointing me, always giving me what I asked for-love, comfort, and painlessness.
No lover could compare to her. She spoke to me in a wordless voice which reached inside me, erased all the pain, and pacified all my restlessness. In the distance somehow, I heard the voice of my dying self echoing somewhere, singing a siren's cry that I stopped hearing one day.
My heart broke into pieces without my knowledge, and I became the most solitary creature on the planet, but I didn't care. Until one day, my lover became my mortal enemy; she drove a nail through my heart and tore out my entrails with her sharp tiny teeth, dragging me to the depths of hell and leaving me there naked and alone to die.