ZENINTHECAR.COM: SOLVE ET COAGULA

ZENBLUEPYRAMIDMEMEAs a certain British thespian I am quite partial to once said, “Sometimes Evolution takes a giant leap forward”. He believes that, I believe that and now all of you Zenners can believe it as well. Typically the contributors, editors and writers at ZENINTHECAR.COM take an annual hiatus so that all of us can recharge our batteries and plot a course for the next year ahead. As you all are aware, our hiatus this past year was exceptionally longer than usual but all of us are better for it and now we think you will be as well. While most of the core contributors have been dispersed across this great country in the past few months and of course the issues of life have yet to cease for all of us as individuals; we honestly were still a little fuzzy on what course to plot for the war weary and battle scarred Starship Zenterprise… then in a flash of light something miraculous happened. A giant leap in the Evolution of our thinking took place; there was no time to wait until the next hiatus. The Starship Zenterprise needed a refit and it needed it now.

So as we put the site in dry-dock, Sabrina Black and myself took on the endeavor of making up a new blueprint of how the site would be structured, what it would offer for you guys as well as what courses we would chart. Pushing all distractions aside, she and I poured our hearts and minds into developing something that once christened, would not simply be a step or two forward but instead would be well beyond what we here at ZENINTHECAR.COM have dared to do thus far. Essentially Sabrina and I decided to go all in on what the site could be and let the chips fall where they may. You may have noticed that for the past week or so the site has been under construction without fore warning, and now we hope you see why. Not only do we have a new look to the site, but so, so much more.

Out of the gates Sabrina Black’s Divine America has completely made its way home here at ZENINTHECAR.COM so you Zenners out there don’t have to go surfing the web (do people still “surf” the web anyway?) to find your favorite contributor’s work. We also have joined forces with Americanfreedomradio.com to not only offer you 24 hour live broadcasting from its brilliant programming, but have somehow convinced nationally syndicated radio show host Chuck Ochelli to join our crazy train by contributing as well. Those of you who have enjoyed our guest appearances on The Ochelli Effect have made it known that the on air chemistry the three of us start mixing is worthy of a more consistent and long term intertwining. Your wish has been granted, The Ochelli Effect now has a presence on ZENINTHECAR.COM sure to whet your appetite.

Our good friend Jason Patrick (Jason the First) is also back on board with Jason Patrick Live. In his campaign, The Fight for Freedom Never Sleeps, Patrick has truly been the embodiment of ZENINTHECAR.COM with his relentless travels to any part of the country where Freedom and Liberty are being threatened and need a spotlight (or smartphone) to expose over reach by state and federal “authorities”. So be sure to catch his live feeds across the country as well as all his past broadcasts on our home page.

Dylan Wade has also stepped onto the Bridge with his column Wade’s Reviews. While the rest of us are going on and on about politics, enlightenment and all the rest; Dylan will be providing us with the guilty pleasures of pop culture critique in any niche he sees so fit. Don’t head to the theatre, or rent that PS4 game before checking in with Wade to see if it’s actually worth your hard earned monopoly money printed by the federal reserve.

Once the Zenterprise gets underway, I will also have my own little corner to blog about anything I wish to blog about without the confines of politics or spirituality at Down Loaded Content; also underneath the ZENINTHECAR.COM banner. I won’t go much further with that because quite honestly I don’t intend to plan out what I will or won’t write over there so you might want to expect more flow of consciousness from that particular corner.

zenterprizeWhile all of this in itself is quite an Evolution from where we have come from; there are still other contributors in different veins of expression getting prepared in the background to join us in our great enterprise and more features and services under development. We hope you are looking forward to what else we have up our sleeve and ask that you pardon our progress as we continue to grow on the fly. Until then please take the time to jump around our site and see what it has to offer thus far and don’t forget to like and subscribe to us on Facebook and YouTube. We look forward to hearing your feedback and as always; Enjoy ZENINTHECAR.COM

Very special thanks to Sabrina Black and Chuck Ochelli for all their hard work, passion, drive and belief in this bold new direction. None of this could have been possible without their talent and dedication.

 

HARDER, BETTER, FASTER, STRONGER

HAMMY CRACK CORN

Racist-Brain-300x2911The message of Peaceful Revolution is a hard one to swallow for back-woods hillbillies that are eager to set off shotgun blasts at the aliens when they pass overhead to check on our progress (that’s why they really won’t talk to us guys), nevertheless we here at ZENINTHECAR.COM still feel compelled to carry the message to those with ears to hear. Sometimes that means enduring the deafening stupidity of those that won’t and as our good friend D.L. Crumpton knows all too well; when all the chips are on the table we get to see who is really holding a pair versus a full house. While on the Ochelli Effect recently, we walk into the lion’s den with Daniel as he coaxes someone from a primitive mindset (call sign: Hammy) to reveal what they really feel about the fight for Freedom and Liberty for all. Buckle up.

 

HAMMY CRACK CORN

 

With that being said, I think it’s time for a little Slim Shady to clean out the gutters.

 

JIMMY CRACK CORN

MIDNIGHT ZEN: FLIRTING WITH CHAOS

nightclubIn the following Midnight Zen D.L. Crumpton gives a reading from his piece Flirting with Chaos which first appeared on ZENINTHECAR.COM about a year ago. Not one for wasting a good story, he resurrects his recollection of living chaotically for the audience of Jaded.

AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT: HEARTS AND ARROWS, HALOS AND HORNS

I suppose you could call it literary A.D.D but the latest thing to come from the dome of our very own Daniel Louis Crumpton (D.L. for all his ghetto bruddahs) was that his next publication would be very much in Monty Python tradition…something completely different. All you Zenners who frequent our little site are familiar with his spiritual and political writings, and for those of you who arent the lazy type that wait for the movie; his novel Then Came the Flood was a gargantuan of completely different. So what pray-tell is the next trick he has decided to pull from one of the myriad of his hats? A rapid fire, three round burst of modern day poetry dripping angst, emotion and grit coming to us in just a matter of days.

hahalogoThe first collection; Hearts and Arrows, Halos and horns is scheduled to be released on March 20th underneath the super-duper mega moon eclipse thingy and we are all sure that has absolutely no connection with why he decided upon that date. Like a roller coaster of emotions, concepts and perspectives the collection shifts gears fast enough to give you intellectual whiplash as it takes you through over twenty years of never before published work.

The second (Wasting Despair) and third (Perspicacity) installment’s release dates have yet to be announced however The Ochelli Effect was kind enough to have D.L. Crumpton on recently to discuss his upcoming projects and though saying he was a little under the weather is quite an understatement (many of you out there have experienced the horror of the recent cold strain destroying a week or two of your lives) our little slugger still did a decent job.

After the interview the crew of the Zenterprise had to put him on medical leave until further notice and while he recovers we thought we would serve you up a slice from the interview. So grab a tasty beverage, kick back and enjoy Chuck Ochelli and Daniel Louis Crumpton rap about Hearts and Arrows, Halos and Horns, self-publishing, Edgar Alan Poe, the insanity of a writer’s life, content control and whatever else managed to come out of his medicine head. Enjoy!

A D.L. CRUMPTON SHORT: THE PROBLEM WITH BUTTERFLIES

14075_570689353068158_3331986514574927754_nJack had been sitting on a bench at the park near his house for the past few hours now with a beat up copy of David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas. At his feet was a messenger bag with a large bottle of water, some stones of sentimental value, some pens, some paper and the odd object or two he had picked up on his walk through the trail to the park. He had reread the current page nearly five times and still had yet to actually comprehend what was going on in the story. It wasn’t that he had poor reading skills; much the opposite actually. It was that his mind was elsewhere and while his eyes ran across the words the chamber of his imagination was playing a different movie altogether.
It frustrated him that simple things like reading a book was now to him such a task. Once upon a time he could run through a book like one watches a movie, but now it seemed like trying to run with cinderblocks tied to his ankles. The theatre of his mind was playing a different show altogether, and it did it all the time. From the moment he woke up until the moment he fell asleep; and that was only on the nights he could fall asleep which were far and few between. He had closed the book on his thumb for a while and just stared off into the park watching parents play with their kids or loved ones holding hands and stealing a kiss from time to time. On occasion such sights and sounds would bring a smile to his face and then the movie would replay in his head, bringing him back to his present moment.
He couldn’t really put an adjective on it like pain because he was well past that. He couldn’t say it could be described as being numb because he of all people knew he indeed did feel it. Jack figured the best word he could find to describe his current emotions as of late was that of displacement. He felt completely displaced, as if no matter where he was he could not make himself feel at home-especially in his own home.
He supposed that was why he found himself visiting the park down the street more and more each and every day. He wanted to remember what it felt like to be in a place called home. From time to time he could get a sense of it, but that feeling was fleeting. However fleeting, in those moments that sense came he was thankful. It was something he had not been able to feel since the separation. A separation from the woman he had known most of his life, most of his youth, and up until now most of his adulthood.
This life changing event had happened a handful of years prior but the effects of it still hovered around him like a radioactive cloud after the impact of an atomic bomb smashing into the ground. The explosion was long gone but the ruin of the aftermath was still all around him. The tragedy of the blast staring and screaming at him with demands of wanting to know why it had to come to such a thing. Like looking into the hollow eyes of skulls, the only answer Jack had for them was that he simply didn’t know. He had no answers to give those haunting voices, nor comfort to those eyeless eyes. Any answer he would attempt to give them would be nothing more than guesswork because the truth was that he was just as much a victim of the blast as they were.
Jack had loved Nichole more than anything. He even pushed such a love to the point of worship, which can be dangerous when such a love is at risk of coming to an end. What does one say when God walks away from you? How is one supposed to go on with life when there is no longer hope of salvation or comfort from Divinity? Jack had no way to answer that and perhaps that is why he had been in a steady state of limbo ever since. The two of them had been doing fine, better than fine in fact and all of a sudden a rapid series of events transpired that tore them apart and sent them into a whirlwind of confusion. A multitude of voices and poor opinions from people who had no business getting involved insured that the union they shared, no matter the potential it once had, would come crashing down in a heap of pride, hurt, lies, misunderstandings and miscommunications. Jack couldn’t help but to think that Nichole had been just as much as a victim of this hurricane as he himself.
The most painful thing for Jack was that the two of them had never really had the opportunity to work it out themselves. The chance for the two to sit alone together and anyilize the problems that had arisen was stripped from them by third parties and in that fault all hope was lost. Their fates were no longer in their own hands and in sacrificing that right both of them were subject to the dictations of others. Such a course lead them to separation and since then they had had little to no contact. For Jack this was probably the most painful of facts in the course of events that tore them apart because he knew they did not tear apart from each other but where torn apart by everyone else. As he pondered these things he could still see her ghost in the park from the corner of his eye.
He shook it and reopened his book to where he left off when an old man casually sat down beside him with a half-finished crossword puzzle. The old man sat with a huff, aching in his old bones and carefully placed his pen where he left off. The old man said nothing, yet pushed his glasses higher on his nose as he stared at the word he was currently working on. Though Jack pretended to continue reading, he couldn’t help but eye the old man from his peripheral vision. The old man was about five feet tall, button down shirt from the eighties, rolled up wrangler jeans revealing thin, black socks tucked into orthopedic shoes. On his right was a wooden cane placed neatly on the bench. Other than that the old man had nothing but a pack of Pall Mall full flavors with a Zippo lighter in his breast pocket.
Jack pretended not to be bothered as the old man lit one and coughed as he took the first drag from the cigarette and pressed his pen to the page without intent. He chose to simply jump into the current chapter of Cloud Atlas and ignore the fact that some old man had chosen his bench out of a dozen in the park to sit on so he could work on a puzzle. Now he was finally able to pay attention to what he was reading. However, as soon as the visual images began to formulate in his mind, Jack found himself interrupted.
“Damn puzzle.” The old man muttered.
Jack looked over at him with slight perplexity.
“I’m sorry?” he asked.
“Been working on this crossword for the past hour or so. This one has me stumped.” The old man said.
“Oh…I’m sorry.” Jack responded.
Jack broke off eye contact and went back to his book. He really wasn’t in the mood for a conversation. To such a reaction the old man laughed.
“No you aint.” The old man said.
“I’m sorry?”
“There you go again with that sorry shit. You aint sorry and because you aint sorry you say sorry and you think it’s supposed to actually supposed to do something.” The old man replied.
Jack was a little taken aback at the old man’s straightforwardness and didn’t know the polite way of replying. What he did know was that his late father always told him to pay attention to the silver head for wisdom and guidance and so he dog-eared his book in order to proceed with the interaction.
“Well I apologize then, that your puzzle is causing you such distress.” Jack said.
The old man laughed as he scribbled at the top of the page to make sure his pen was ship shape.
“Are you serious, son? Is that how you talk on a daily basis?” the old man mocked.
“No, not really.” Jack answered.
“Then stop blowing wind up my skirt like a whore with a navy man on shore leave.”
“I’m sorry, have I done something to offend you? I mean this was my bench you know, you’re the one that sat beside me.”
“Oh this is your bench?”
“Yeah, I was sitting here first.”
“And that makes it your bench? You plant your ass here before anyone else today and all of a sudden it becomes your bench? Is that how it works nowadays?” the old man questioned.
Jack thought the old man rude, crude and yet somehow the glimmer in the eye beneath the lenses of his glasses appealed to him. It brought a smirk to Jack’s face. This man was very much like his father.
“Maybe we started off on the wrong foot. I’m Jack.” He said as he put out his hand.
The old man laughed and slapped his large stubbly fingers into his with the firmest of grips.
“Just call me Sarge, done gone and forgot the name my parents gave me.” Sarge said.
This brought a laugh to Jack as his father had been the same in abandoning his Christian name. In the handshake Jack could feel that perhaps there was something he could learn from this uncouth old man.
“Jack.” He replied.
“Nice to meet you simple named Jack.” Sarge said.
“Simple named Jack? What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Nothing, just a common name for such a young man that looks so uncommon, that’s all. One would think you could have done better by now but that’s a different thing altogether.” Sarge answered.
“Yeah, well who has time to change their name when there is so much else you have to take care of?” Jack asked.
“I was in two foreign wars and two marriages and still found the time simple name Jack, so what’s your excuse?” Sarge asked.
Jack thought for a moment with a half-smile still on his face. He appreciated the abrasiveness of the old man as he turned his attention back to the puzzle and fell silent for a moment. The silence allowed him to turn back to his book but he was no more than a paragraph in before Sarge interrupted him again.
“Goddamnit, what’s a nine letter word for metamorphoses’?” He asked.
“I’m sorry?” Jack asked
“Are we back there again? I said, what is a nine letter word for metamorphoses’, boy.” Sarge replied.
Jack thought for a moment and then glanced over at Sarge’s puzzle until the answer came to him.
“The answer is butterfly.” He said.
There was a moment of simple surprise on Sarge’s face as he contemplated the answer followed by a steady and confidant filling in of the word. Sure enough Jack had been correct. The answer was butterfly.
“I should have figured. Butterflies are the damndest creatures.” Sarge said.
“Are they now?”
“Oh yes. The most dangerous life forms on the planet in fact.”
“Butterflies?”
“Yeah, butterflies. Deadly beasts they are.” Sarge said.
Jack found it amusing that there was this surety in the old man’s voice that he had to follow the rabbit trail of his logic. Though he knew it would probably upend him from finishing his chapter he felt it was worth the price. So he closed the book and put it safely in his bag in order to give Sarge his full attention.
“Okay, I’m all ears. Please explain to me how butterflies are the most dangerous life forms on the planet, I am dying to hear this.” He said as he propped his chin up with the forearm on the bench.
Sarge shook his head and placed his pen on the puzzle page as he took off his glasses and put them in a protective covering which afterwards was placed in his pocket. The old man cleared his throat and mimicked Jack’s posture.
“You see that young man over there on the horse, the one all dressed in black that’s just trotting through the park?” Sarge asked.
Jack looked over his shoulder to see then returned his gaze and nodded with the affirmative.
“Well you see that young man is calmly riding his horse on a fine and sunny, calm day with no care in the world. It is probably something he does on a regular basis if you really pay attention to how he and the horse seem to have an understanding. Chances are he will be doing that exact same thing this time next year, wouldn’t you say?” Sarge asked.
“Well people tend to be creatures of habit.” Jack answered.
“That they are. The thing is, creatures may be habitual but nature isn’t necessarily so.”
“What do you mean?”
“Did you know there is a difference in climate and weather?” Sarge asked.
“No I didn’t. Explain.”
“Climate is constant, for the most part. It only changes after perhaps a millennia of so. Think of it as the overall condition of what we call earth. There are ice ages, there are warm ages, there are tropical ages, yet within those ages we have slight changes in weather.” Sarge explained.
“Okay, I don’t know if I follow.” Jack said.
“Well for the most part things are warm overall, however tomorrow there could come a cold front from seemingly out of nowhere. That is weather. It is the variable in the constant. Changes from day to day and most of us never stop to ask what causes such sudden changes.”
Jack thought for a moment on this trying to find some answer from high school or the last forecast from his local weather station. The old man had a point; changes are reported but the cause never is. This intrigued him.
“Alright, so what causes weather to change?” Jack asked.
“Goddamn butterflies, boy. Goddamn butterflies.” Sarge answered with a hint of anger.
Jack let a laugh out as he opened up a bottle of water and took a swig. He wiped the excess from his goatee and returned to serious.
“Okay, please enlighten me. How do Goddamn butterflies change the weather?” Jack asked.
“Right now, let’s imagine a butterfly is in Africa somewhere learning to flap its wings, as in for the first time. The flapping of those wings sends out a current of air and as small as we may think it is that single current of air travels through the jungle. It’s shaped and formed and strengthened by the trees and the flapping of other butterfly wings, or the wings of birds or the thudding of a gorilla on a tree. That gust of wind gains strength as it travels to the ocean where it meets the current of another gust of wind of equal strength. That gust of wind came from India where there a butterfly had done the same. Once the two currents meet over the ocean with the pervading winds they start to form a whirlwind. At first it’s small and fragile but as the tides of the ocean sway beneath it that current gains strength. Before long you have a raging hurricane.” Sarge answered.
“And then what?” Jack asked.
butterfly“And then the hurricane heads towards the eastern coast and dies somewhere in the ocean, but before it does it sends out winds to form tornadoes or snow storms or what have you. They might be weak at first, but once they hit land a dying current might come in contact with the virgin flapping of wings from a new born butterfly. And that subtle flapping of air gives it strength enough to propel the dying tornado back into a thriving one. So a year from now let’s say that boy all dressed in black is on his horse in this very park, on this very day and some damned tornado sweeps through and takes him off his saddle.” Sarge says.
“All because of a butterfly flapping its wings?” Jack asks.
The old man nods with assurance.
“Yeah, all because of Goddamn butterflies. Vicious creatures they are.” He says.
Jack thought about that for a moment. There really wasn’t too much he could argue with, having studied physics and all. He looked up at the sun for a moment only to return his gaze to the old man who was responding to the ring of an old cell phone and rising to his cane.
“Well, I got to be on my way. The old lady is calling and when the old lady calls you have to come a running. But you know about that being married and all.” Sarge said.
“Do I?” Jack asked.
Sarge winked at him before shuffling off.
“Sure you do, son.”
Jack watched as the old man disappeared into the forest along the trail. He sat for a few moments and tried to absorb what the conversation had meant to him and perhaps why it had happened to him at this particular moment in his life. When the old man was out of sight he thought perhaps that he would continue reading his book but found that such a thing would be too difficult. So he just sat there until the damndest thing happened. A butterfly landed on his knee without a single flap of the wings. The words of the old man permeated his thoughts and he had to fight the smile on his face. It was then that another idea occurred to him. If a butterfly were able to cause destruction on a massive scale by a simple flapping of wings, could it bring something else?
He closed his eyes and thought of Nichole’s face. He thought of when he met her, he thought of when he courted her, he thought of all the happy years they had been together and could see them in his mind just as vivid as the moments they had happened. He took in several deep breaths with those feelings in his heart and then finally held the last one in. When he was ready he opened his eyes. The butterfly was still there, unmoving. With a slow and low pressure he blew all of those thoughts and feelings onto the butterfly until his lungs were empty. It wasn’t until he was finished that the butterfly began to beat its wings over and over again until it finally lifted itself up and flew off into the trees.
“God speed vicious creature, God speed.” Jack uttered.

GHOST TOWNS

 

484937_10200709910256290_884434542_nNichole was grabbing her wobbly shopping cart and entering into the local mom and pop grocery store of the town she had moved to, hundreds of miles away from where she once called home. For once in a long time she wasn’t in dirty jeans covered in mud and animal feed. This day she chose to wear clothes that reminded her of her old life. She didn’t know why she had done that, but when she had awoken that morning it just felt right. She was going to go grocery shopping in the clothes of her old life. She had showered and covered herself in strawberry lotion, then fitted herself in dress pants and a button down from some time ago, complete with old scuffed up grey heels.
She hadn’t felt like this woman in a long time, but today she would. Today she would be the old Nichole as she shopped for a nice vegetarian salad at the local mart. As she pushed the cart into produce she carefully chose organic lettuce from the other stuff that gets delivered. Afterwards she went down all the aisles looking for the ingredients to her salad that would fit the lifestyle she had adopted since she and Jack had separated. It was a discipline she didn’t want to give up. Her world had been broken apart when she broke away from him and though she had done all she could to break herself from thinking of him, it seemed that everything she did reminded her of him and she hated it so.
Her cart was nearly full when an old woman smashed her cart into hers and gave a sudden apology.
“Sorry young lady, I was lost in thoughts of a life long ago. I didn’t mean to bump into you.” She said.
Nichole took her forefinger and traced her hair behind her ear with a smile.
“Oh no. youre fine, maam.” She said.
The old woman paused and tilted her head as if she knew something Nichole did not.
“I am, are you?” She asked.
Nichole shook her head for a moment wondering what the old woman meant. It took her by complete surprise and she didn’t really know how to respond.
“Yes, I’m just getting dinner tonight. I’m fine.” Nichole said.
“Is that dinner for one or dinner for two?” The old woman asked.
Nichole smiled and looked at her cart which was meager with ingredients.
“It’s just for me maam. Just for me.” Nichole answered.
The old woman shook her head and pushed her cart ahead as she muttered the words “…aint that a shame. Aint that a crying shame.”
Nichole ignored it as she threw the rest of her salad in the cart. She didn’t have time to pick apart the words of an old woman in a grocery store while she had things to do. As she went up and down the aisles she finally found a houseplant on sale for less than three dollars. It saddened her that this plant only cost three dollars and she wanted to give it a home. So into her cart it went, for she knew she would give it a home to be loved despite the price set on it by the manager of the local piggly wiggly.
When Nichole had finally finished shopping for her salad, ingredients far away from the lamas and sheep she had fed at the commune she once lived at, a dinner fit for a two bedroom apartment in a country town she didn’t wish to be in, she made her way to the checkouts.
She waited patiently as the family before her ran their things across the conveyer belt. All of a sudden she felt a bump which forced her to look up. She saw a young red haired girl, complete with freckles, reading a comic book.
“Sorry about that, I was just really into the story.” The girl said.
Nichole looked and noticed this store was different than most. She was so used to commercial stores that she forgot the spindles of comic books at the registers that mom and pops offered. The young girl had been enthralled with one near the checkouts and had become so involved that she forgot where she was at. Such a displacement caused her to bump into Nichole’s cart.
“Oh don’t be sorry sweetheart. What are you reading?” Nichole asked.
“A Spiderman comic. Sorry.” She answered.
“Well that doesn’t ask for apology sweetheart.” Nichole said.
Nichole had a flash of her childhood and knew that the young girl had offended nothing. It took her back for a second but there was no way she could correct the young girl, rather take note of any lesson the girl could give her.
The girl eyed her.
“You know comics huh?” the girl asked.
Nichole thought for a moment. She had been in love with someone that did indeed and in fact they would not have married had it not been for comic books. A sense of pride came over her and she answered.
“Yeah, I know a little.” Nichole said.
“Then you should be able to spot it.” The girl said.
Nichole flipped though the book but found nothing. She did the best she could but still nothing popped up.
“Maybe it’s not for you to see right now, maybe you need to read it in your own time. I gotta go now, my mom is calling me.” The girl said.
Nichole nodded and threw her things on the conveyer belt.
It wasn’t until she got home that she placed the veggies on the counter and took the plant she had purchased out on the back porch of the grubby two bed room apartment she had leased. One bedroom held her bed, the other her vanity and artwork. It was the back yard where she could plant her independence and the plant she had purchased was ready to find its home. After Nichole had placed it carefully she sat down on the only chair she had and opened up the last bag of her groceries. After placing them in their given position she found that the last thing remaining was the comic book the little red headed freckle face had suggested.
In her sense of innocent guilt she made a glass of wine, grabbed the comic and the plant then waltzed to the back door. She put the plant down in her make shift garden and gave it a sprinkle or two of water. She went back inside and poured a glass of wine. She came back outside and sat down in front of her garden with the new, disregarded plant. With a huff she opened up the comic book the girl had suggested. She read the story from cover to cover; it was a Spider-Man story. As she made her way half way through she realized the artist was J. Scott Cantrell. Jack had always told her that J. Scott Cantrell always hid a single butterfly in all of his artwork, yet she had not seen it so far. Perhaps that is because she hadn’t looked for it up until now. As she turned the page she saw Mary Jane walking away from Peter Parker and there it was…in the smallest panel of the whole book. Mary Jane had a butterfly tattooed on the small of her back. It was so small no normal reader would have ever picked it up. But she did.
Jack had proposed to her with a Spider-Man comic. It was cheap and it was sudden but it was hers. It was that one moment in time where she finally felt like a princess and she didn’t give a shit that the ring was hanging from wax and dental floss. He had asked her to marry him and in that moment she was the luckiest woman on the face of the earth. And now she was seeing for the first time that Mary Jane was sporting a butterfly tattoo on the small of her back.
Nichole slammed the comic shut. She didn’t want to read anymore. For the first time in a long time she realized that perhaps Jack knew something she did not. She sat there and sipped on her wine staring at the tiny garden she had made in order to escape it all, when all of the sudden the strangest thing happened. A butterfly landed on the plant she had bought.
She had thought of going in before that happened, but now she was compelled to stay. Especially when more than a dozen came after it and landed in her tiny garden. Nichole sat there as a swarm of butterflies landed in her garden and slowly fluttered their wings, threatening to end the world with the flutter of their wings.
She wanted to cry because she knew what the butterflies could do. She fought the lump in her throat and it took another sip of wine before she did what the butterflies demanded. She tossed it back and forth for a moment but the inevitable was the inevitable. If there was one thing she had learned in her time alone it was that when the Universe speaks you best answer it. So she ran inside and grabbed her phone, for a moment she stared at it. After a moment she took it outside with her where the butterflies had congregated and sipped more of her wine. She watched the butterflies flap their wings and that gave her the courage she needed.
It was courage she didn’t have before nor any kind she had ever pulled out of the ether before.
She ran inside and grabbed her phone. Without thinking she looked up Jack’s number and without thinking she typed “I Love You”…and that was it. No explanation, no reason, no prerequisite. She simply text to him that she loved him. As she stared at it she wondered what would happen if she were to hit send.
Much like butterflies, who knows what the beating of small wings will bring?

COMES AND GOES

EPIPHANIES AND VISIONS: YEAR FOUR BEGINS

zenseason4picInsomnia is very much like being asleep in many respects. Or rather I should say it’s like being stuck in a waking dream where nothing is solid and most things are completely lucid. One day bleeds into the next and that one into another one and your eyelids grow heavier and heavier yet your mind refuses to shut down. Kinda fun when you get used to it. Sleep deprivation; it can become a legal drug that no po-po can test for when you know the proper amount of dosage.
In the wee hours of the morning I was going over footage Digital Hourglass had for me to review regarding ZEN IN THE CAR T.V.’S upcoming documentary, Western Independence: The Cliven Bundy Incident, featuring a notable Jason Patrick. I stepped out for a moment to the patio to massage my eyelids and began contemplating the crew of ZENINTHECAR.COM coming back in 2015. It is no secret to any of our subscribers that 2014 proved to be quite a challenging year for your favorite activist/philosophers and the unusually long break we have had was well needed and well deserved. But now it was time for us to stretch our rested laurels and get back into the swing of things; however this time with the experience and lessons of the last few months under our belt.
What would this year be about? I pondered. What would be the goals that we collectively had aside from the fact of bringing news and enlightenment to the keen eyes of our subscribers? Last year there was no doubt that we went above and beyond in showing the corruption in the system; local government, state government and of course national government. Great, so now we are all well aware of the problems we face from interactions with local police to the dealings down at city hall or state capitols, now what?
The way I figured it, I would have to do as I did at the beginning of last year and have an audience with the Divine in order to attain some sort of guidance as to where I should plot a course for the good ship Zenterprise. Of course last year that required a fatal car accident documented in Zen In The Car Crash: Welcome to Year Three, and I wasn’t too eager to repeat such an incident. So this time I opted for a much easier transition to the afterlife through silent meditation. A few incense sticks, candles and silent mantras later and I found myself once again in the throne room of the All Mighty.
“You’re in my chair.” God said.
I opened my eyes only to see that I was in fact sitting in God’s throne.
“My bad. I was just keeping it warm for you.” I said.
“This makes, like five times already.” God replied
“Well what can I say…” I shrugged, “…it is a rather comfy chair.”
God squinted at me with the expression of naughtiness on his brow. It didn’t take him long to waltz over to the nearby coffee bar where his hands began working magic.
“Caramel Macchiato?” God offers.
“Too sweet for me, howsabout a cappuccino?” I retort.
God gives me a wink and starts to whip of the tasty beverages of our choice. As He does I wiggle about on his throne looking for the sweet spot.
“So, I hear it’s time for you and the guys to get back to work.” He says over the hisses of the ornate java machine.
“Yeah, that’s what I wanted to talk to you about.” I answered.
As the aroma of caffeine filled the throne room I watched God reach behind the counter and withdraw a bag of wasabi Funyuns.
“Are you serious?” I exclaimed, “I thought those bad boys had been discontinued?!”
God popped one in His mouth and the sound of the crunch was…most Divine.
“They are. But let’s just say I know a guy who knows a guy.” God answered.
“Well don’t be a douche about it, fork some over man. I haven’t had wasabi Funyuns in a few years.” I demanded.
“Get out of my chair.” God insisted.
I cock my head to the right with a contorted and confused look on my face. Decisions, decisions. Give up the throne for a handful of wasabi Funyuns or not? Well at the time it seemed worth it. So I popped out and made my way to the mini bar in order to receive a handful of that Asian goodness. The caffeinated goodness was served alongside of a basket of the yellow rings I so desired and after a few munchy crunches, God was back to business.
“So you guys are about to come back for 2015 I hear.” God said.
“Uh huh, and it wouldn’t be such a bad thing if you gave me some advice on exactly what we are supposed to be doing this time around.” I replied.
“Well I don’t know, I mean last year you guys seemed to be trying to set some sort of record on how many times you could get arrested over frivolous, victimless crimes, and you managed to catch the attention of every po-po officer with a badge in your town and state so I guess I would like to know how that’s working out for you?” God asked.
I lick the wasabi from my fingertips and think for a moment. I wash it down with creamy froth from my cappuccino and smirk.
“Well getting arrested is always balls, you know how it is; Pontius Pilate and all.”
“Yeah, that guy was a yes man if ever there was one.” God snickers.
“So you tell me, what are we supposed to do this year?”
God takes a moment to think then eyes me curiously.
“Well let me ask you this; what have you guys learned during your break? What have all of you been doing?”
That was a good question. It took me a moment to sort it out. When I did I honestly didn’t know how to relate it to the All Mighty.
“Well Jason Patrick has been on walk-about. He left the state to do some self-exploration, to re-examine his purpose I suppose. He spent most of last year laying himself out there as a martyr and a leader and it took a toll on him. So I suppose he has been spending his time reinventing himself and re-evaluating how this Revolution needs to be fought.” I answered.
“Uh huh, and how about Bree?” God asks.
“She’s been busy with Divine America. I also believe she has been busy trying to understand how the Light overcomes the Darkness even though the Darkness most times feels so strong and so triumphant. She knows we win in the end, I just don’t think she knows how just yet.”
“What about Jason Turner?”
“Turner? Oh that’s an easy one. Aside from throwing himself head first into the Derrick Grayson campaign anyway.” I reply.
“Ah, I hear that’s going to be interesting.” God interjects.
I grin from ear to ear.
“Oh that’s going to be quite the roller coaster ride. If there is one thing the establishment doesn’t want it’s a candidate that is willing to name names and speak it as it is. So having Grayson run again, especially with Team Zen behind him…this will get rather interesting.”
“But on a personal level?” God asks.
“On a personal level I think Turner has been learning how to be more thankful in his own life, to see that one must take care of one’s own self before taking on the well-being of others. How can we be any good to others if we are not good to ourselves?” I answer.
God takes a sip of His caramel macchiato, palms a few Funyuns, and then continues.
“I hear you have some new blood as well?”
“A little bit, yeah. We have David “Preacher” Ballangee joining us this year. He’s a vet as well as an old school friend of mine. Highly intelligent, highly opinionated. I don’t necessarily agree with all his spiritual views….”
“You don’t necessarily agree with all of mine.” God interrupts.
I shake it off.
“…however his opinion is highly valued.” I finish.
God comes out from behind the bar and takes his place on the throne. A smile comes across His face because it indeed has been kept warm. He fumbles for His PlayStation 5 controller and logs on. I can tell God is nearly done with this conversation.
“And this Monica Maze you have recruited?” He asks.
“Pure spiritualist. In touch with the feminine Divine and no stranger to police corruption. She should prove very effective in the coming year, as well as the other poets and authors I have found. I trust we all have your blessing?” I ask.
As the Sony logo appears on God’s hi-def T.V., I prepare my departure.
“It seems you already have everything you need young Crumpton. What more do you need from me?” God asks.
I have to think for a moment. I have finished my tasty beverage and ran through the gauntlet of those I have chosen to be my partners for the next year; what more is there?
“I suppose I would like to know what we are supposed to do. I assembled the team but I don’t know exactly what you expect from us.” I ask.
God smiles as He logs into His online account.
“Let me ask you this; what have you yourself learned while on break?”
I wasn’t ready for that question. So I had to go deep inside on the fly to find an answer for the All Mighty. It had been a while since I actually thought about myself or my own path and this question forced me to face that. It took me a moment before I could muster up an answer.
“I think what I have learned is that I am fine all by myself. I think I have learned that my identity is mine and mine alone. It isn’t dependent on anyone else. I am who I am and no one, or no thing can alter that without my consent. I think I have learned that above all else, to mine own self I should be true.” I answered.
God smiles. He wipes His mouth and types in His password.
“Then get back down there and show them how a peaceful Revolution is done. You have all the answers you need.” God answers.
There is always that moment in between transitioning dimensions where you have a moment or two to evaluate what transpired. I suppose with this particular transition I had the epiphany that last year we here at ZENINTHECAR.COM were highly effective in demonstrating what the problems in our current state are, and now something new must be tried. Rather than demonstrate the problems, I had the overwhelming feeling that it was now our duty to bring about solutions to the problems. The police are running rampant over our Rights; the politicians are scheming with personal interest in mind and public opinion out of mind to the detriment of our Constitutional Republic. We all know the cancer; perhaps it’s time for a shot of vitamin B-17 to cure it.
For too long our generation has been at the mercy of the state; the mercy of the old guard which have dictated to us the way things ought to be or perhaps the way they wanted things to be. Sure, no one here believes that all police are bad, or all politicians are crooked; that’s a generalization we are not ready to make. We believe there are still some good seeds out there, though isolated they have been. For the next year it is our goal to reach out to those souls within the system that still believe in the ideal of America that was handed to us by our Founding Fathers and the Constitution they entrusted us with. We know that it must be done in a peaceful and informative way and we hope that with Divine Guidance we shall be successful. This country and this world cannot afford another violent Revolution, and so much as it is within our power we all will ensure such a thing never comes. Through education, enlightenment, and common sense solutions we will turn this ship around; you can bet your wasabi Funyuns on it.
So I do as I am told and descend back into the flesh body I have known for oh so long. Here I am, back on my patio. My eyes are more relaxed and my mind even more transfixed. Another year before us, one in which we aim to offer solutions rather than the problems. Now that we have the blessings from the Divine, who knows what will become of us? To you and yours, Namaste.

CRAZY TRAIN

TEAM ZEN WISHES YOU A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS

zenfriends - CopyGreetings all you Zenners. We all here know that this year the crew of ZENINTHECAR.COM have taken an unusually long season break, we apologize for this but also want you to know that it has been well earned, and well deserved. All of us here at ZENINTHECAR.COM have been taking a serious amount of time in re-examination and rediscovery as a result of last year’s tumultuous events. This has been both individually as well as collectively. Having the foresight to see the push forward we want you to know that we are using our time wisely in the area of growth and enlightenment, in our own unique ways, and that come 2015 we will be back before your glorious eyes in more ways than one to demonstrate how to bring about Revolution through various forms of Evolution.
In the meantime, as you are enjoying your Holiday season with loved ones and …ahem…in laws; we wanted to send you this little message to let you know we are all thinking about you all in the best possible way. We hope that you have a very Merry Christmas, a most monumental New Year, and we look forward to bringing you a whole new style of goodness in 2015. See ya around.

MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM TEAM ZEN

EVERY NOW AND AGAIN

D. L. CRUMPTON

D. L. CRUMPTON

Every now and again you have to stop life. Sometimes it gets too heavy, sometimes it gets too tough. Sometimes you take so many punches you have to sit a few rounds out and heal. It isn’t that you are throwing in the towel, or that you are giving up, it just means that sometimes you need to take time out and work on yourself rather than everyone else. You know that some will think you are being selfish, you know that some will think you are weak, but at the end of the day, what good are you to anyone if you’re not good to yourself? How can you possibly be an aide and comfort to all those who call upon you if you yourself are not well?
A ship adrift in the sea can only take so many blows to its hull before it must find comfort in the docks. While there it will be repaired and found seaworthy again. Is this not like each and every one of us? Don’t we all go through trials and tribulations that seem to beat us down to the core? And don’t we always seek shelter in the times of such storms? Does that make us weak? Does that make us less than the person those around us would imagine? I would hope not. I know that in my life I have had more than my share of bumps and bruises, slashes and scars; however I don’t want that to define me. I don’t want to be remembered for the heartaches and the hard times. I want to be remembered for what I overcame. I want to be remembered for the smile on my face and the spring in my step. I think this is a common thing with each and every one of us.
We wallow in tragedy, we sulk in failure, we relive past mistakes over and over again. We brutalize ourselves to no end on the things we could’ve done, should’ve done, or would’ve done. And for what? To realize we can’t change the past? Or that we really have no control over the future? Do we do it to understand that at the end of the day we are merely human after all? I don’t think I know the answer to that. I don’t think any of us do. What I do know is that all of us are hurt. All of us have broken wings. All of us have this sob story hovering behind us. What we have to do is brush it off. I know that sounds simple and nonchalant, but it’s the truth. Because if we don’t, then what will become of us?
We are not the victims of our scars, we are not the patient waiting to be treated. We are titans standing tall, we are heroes rising from the ashes, we are who we have hoped for, believed in, and waited desperately for to rescue us from our nightmares. When we rise and look at ourselves in the mirror, we do not see defeat, worry or depression. We make the choice to see victory. We make the choice to look into our own eyes and see someone, with warts and all, that has overcome. This is a choice we make every day. So this goes out to all of you who with wings needing to be mended, to all of you with bones that need to be set. You are not alone, and you never will be

NOW WE ARE FREE

WHEREVER YOU GO, THERE YOU ARE

quill-1

photo from marketingforhippies.com

As a writer, I am never one to try and waste a witty tale or clever little story. If anything I know that in order to be a truly prolific writer, the pen must be fueled by experience. While on hiatus I have come across a strange little of obsession of mine as of late; triggered by a trip to the attic on a cool and rainy day. After shuffling some boxes around I came across something I hadn’t really paid much attention to for the past decade, give or take some change. It was a steel lockbox, an old safe my dad use to keep his stacks of rolled pocket change in after collecting for a few months. I suppose this too was a little obsession I picked up from him-emptying the change from your spent cash from the day into a jar or a container; saving up for something special you will feel you have earned. Perhaps even the occasional guilty pleasure. Nevertheless, over time he grew weary of that particular safe and it passed down to me to who would use it for an altogether different purpose.

I was a very young man at the time, going through all the “life changes” most, if not all of you were going through and keeping in mind this was before the advent of social media. There were no private message boxes to drown your sorrows in, there were no little green dots giving you options of who you would vent to, or allow to vent with you. This was beeper age. This was the age when notes passed in class looked like a prehistoric Facebook thread. This was the age before the blog where the only outlet a teenager trying to figure out what the hell this thing is all about was a diary (typically for chicks, guys don’t keep diaries, it just doesn’t sound right) or a journal (see, doesn’t journal sound much more masculine and serious? I know, right?).

Now, for those of us who kept these little logs of our life, we can attest that these black and white speckled, composition books or bound diaries secured with a lock quickly became our closest companions. They were the keepers of our deepest, darkest feelings in a time of insecurity. They were our mother and father confessors while the winds of change were roaring in our ears and the sand beneath our feet was fleeting like water. While in them, we knew we would receive no judgment, no condemnation, and no argumentation. We would only find a silent friend letting us bleed on the page. Some of you merely piddled with the idea and kept one or two, thought they were silly and tucked them and the idea of it away. This was not the case with me. I am a writer; I was born weaving looms of tales pulled from the ether. So needless to say, my journals would be perceived with much more dramatic intensity than the journals of most youths of different callings.

In the age before the internet had started to put on its big boy pants, a writer had to make whatever they could into a magnum opus and reach any audience, by any means necessary. My own personal journals would be intended for an audience. But I wondered at thirteen years of age; how to solve the logical dilemma. How could I keep a journal with my deepest, darkest, most intimate thoughts and feelings about myself, about the people around me, about my family; and yet still write for an audience? There had to be a loophole, and I thought about finding it. After some thought it was shown to me in a glimpse of the Divine that the simplest answer to the problem was to write for an audience that was removed from the players of my life by either space or time. This is kind of like a writer’s “Prime Directive”; maintain the third wall between writer and reader. Blur the lines of the written words from the events that inspired them, but leave enough breadcrumbs to let the audience know those words were indeed inspired by truth. This is the safest way to throw hints to the characters that they are just playing a part, but not smash them in the face with a frying pan of this notion. The only thing left was to figure out what audience would fit within those parameters.

I suppose at that age when the world began waking up in new ways, I sorta felt it in my bones that whatever my life was going to be, it was going to be interesting and I had every rebellious, teenage cell in my body screaming I was deep, down determined to screw up…a whole lot, along the way. But hey, it’s not all bad. Just as convinced of that I was equally convinced that I would get a lot of stuff right. That I would have victories after defeats, resurrections after deaths, rises from the ashes. I would have foe and friend, battles and retreats, the truest and deepest loves as well as the most cruel and bitter of hatreds. Yet that notion of a writer’s pen needing to be fueled by experience pops its head up again. “You signed up to be a writer, kiddo,” I would say to myself, “it’s gonna come with the territory.”

The logical conclusion after this internal, intellectual rolling over of an idea was that I would write my journals for my children. It was my intention to pen my life and create a road map for my future progeny, should I be so fortunate to be blessed with them. I would keep them safe and ensure that when my children reached the age I had been when I first started journaling, I would be able to let them read of all my mistakes, zigs and zags, so just maybe….just maybe they would mike wiser choices than I. It was my hopes to have them thumb through the pages of their father’s life and KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is nothing wrong with them and they are most certainly never alone. But who the hell wants to read their parents old journals right? This was going to be tricky, I remember thinking. After pushing through all the details I finally ended up just sitting down with some good music, maybe some tea or some coffee in a small bedroom lit with a few candles. I would be as close to the flickering lights as I could get as I curled over and penned them to the tune of symphonic Led Zeppelin, or an early Radiohead album. All of them with title pages, introductions, prologues, chapters and blank pages in the back intended for an altogether different purpose. After every writing session I would wrap them in a red clothe, place them in the steel safe and ensure they were secured from prying eyes.

20141002_081218Over time, the pages written filled so many composition books that the steel safe my father had given to me would no longer serve the purpose I had first assigned it. Another form of holding my journals came along, but being so attached to the box out of sentimentality I gave it a new purpose. From then on I would keep letters, notes, pictures and mementos, all from the times my journal was chronicled. And while in the attic and seeing this steel box for the first time in years, all these thoughts had come back to me in a flash. The moment I saw the scribbling on top, secured by some of my dad’s black, electric tape which read “The Lives of Daniel Louis” on top with hourglasses and Egyptian looking eyes etched on either side to boot, over a decade of memories exploded in my face. Yeah, I always had a flare for the dramatic.
As outside the pattering of rain on the roof and the streaks on the windows accompanied a darkly lit afternoon; inside a comfortably cool den, my dog Hannibal and I curled up and began thumbing through the contents of the steel lock box. In no particular order we looked at Polaroid’s from my youth with the ever changing face of yours truly mixed in amongst years of the ever changing faces of the cast of characters in my life. After so many pictures and so many old letters I was provoked to go digging for the journals themselves. I pulled out some rather weighty milk crates (the final resting place of the pages of my life after several moves and new “life changes”) which contained stacks of composition books with my handwriting, as well as others, within the pages. Some dull, some a little blurry, some fine, thin and distinct…and of course the occasional illegible. At first I flipped through them at random and read an entry here or an entry there. Hannibal simply gave a huff as he watched my expressions change with each little read. Sometimes I was embarrassed at what I read, sometimes I was sad, some I was laughing, some I was simply holding a sinister smile, some were making me melt with heartache and fondness; but the ones Hannibal didn’t huff at were the ones that profoundly moved me and caused me pause. A kernel of wisdom from the mouth of a babe, some quote or poem from my younger self that reached in and moved my present self.

When those lines would come across my eyes, I would stop reading and look up and to the right, Hannibal would not huff rather he would raise an eyebrow, or tilt his head as well as if to say ‘Ah, there you are’ in the fashionable wise and caring composure of the companions that we all know dogs truly are. After taking a break from the random thumbing I decided to put the journals back in chronological order and begin reading them in the fashion they were intended to be read. Like a story, with chapters and sometimes illustrations, all pacing the rate of my life and my growth; the experience I was obtaining as I walked my path. After so many pages or so many composition books I would take a break to refresh my coffee or tea and put the pictures in the order of the story, to file the notes and letters with the appropriate time frame. Then it was back to reading, locked up memories being liberated from the catacombs of my mind. As I laid the written word along-side the pictures and little treasures from the past side by side, and took a few steps back I realized what I was building. Eerily enough, a few feet away my desktop started blaring, via Pandora, Pink, Floyd’s “Another brick in the wall.” I made a mental note to watch “The Butterfly Effect” on Netflix that night then got back to the pile of memories.

There are only so many hours in a day, therefore my reading continued for the next few days. Occasionally I would check the internet for new messages or notifications, maybe send an instant message to a friend or two about some of the things I was reading in them, perhaps get some philosophical or spiritual conversations going to better help me understand why going back over my life had become such a strong obsession in those few days. Some of them were of the opinion, or so strongly inclined to lean towards the idea that I was living in the past. Though they were gentle and kind, there was the obvious undertone of “the best thing for you to do, buddy is take all of that out back, throw it in the fire pit and light a fire!” Yet then again there were some friends of the opposite opinion. They would say that knowing me on a more personal basis than others, and knowing how I think; it was perfectly healthy for me to be perusing my past. Those friends would insist that it was therapeutic to see where you have come from so you will know where you are going. A few of them were strongly convinced with the theory that I had actually died and had found my higher self within the akashic records in the only form I could conceive of at this evolution. Therefore I had to “re-member” who I was before I died so I could reincarnate and get it right this time. I gotta tell you; those are my favorite friends to chat with at about 3:33 A.M. when I haven’t slept in a few days.

2851683772_2c7afb72d1-470When I managed to break away from the keyboard and the tiny pings chiming from my phone, I would take my walk and meditate on all of this. In between that I posted old pictures or a line from my journal or a quote to my wall. Sometimes I would just put a random song or video that reminded me of my younger self up, with no other intent than to see how it would affect my psychology and self-image having looked across the ocean of a decade or more. How would this refreshed recollection of my footprints in the sands of history, however deep they may be, change me? How would it set me on a new course? As I scurried through them I began to notice that there were indeed blatant cycles within my life. Most too astounding to be a coincidence, not that I believe in those tedious little things to begin with. There were definite patterns in the years that separated imaginary dates on calendars stuffed in a drawer and marked with special dates and occasions. Many were reemerging in my life in the present or the very recent past. I was seeing the signs and the mile markers that would allow me to change or break cycles I no longer wished to experience to those more pleasant to live out. I was navigating from sadness to happiness, drifting from heartbreak to a more supernal love, skating from anger and rage to peace and calm. The road maps I had intended for my children were, at this time, a road map for me.

I found it funny how people in your life that seem so permanent one moment, can be gone in the blink of an eye in the very next. Friends and family through the years can be compassionate and a support some years, and the most vicious of adversaries the next few. Births, deaths, marriages, divorces, relocations and incarcerations. All of these things serve as little hiccups in the stream of life. After diving into this indulgence of self-rediscovery and having my eyes opened to a great many things about who I was before I nearly tasted the shot at a family and lost it, I wondered what had compelled me to cease from the habit of writing a personal journal. Was it because I thought that soon my daughter or son would come and there was no longer a need to continue because if they don’t figure life out by that time, they ain’t never gonna get it? Was it because my life had become more stabilized at the time I quit and there was no longer anything interesting to write about? Was it because my journals stopped when I met who I thought would be the love of my life and I no longer needed them as an outlet because I believed I would always have her? Well, who the hell knows, right? I just chalked it up to, one day they began and one day they came to an end and that’s that, and that’s all.

Of course, the question was nagging the back of my mind for the next few days, though I did my best to shoo it away. As one does, one morning I find myself waking up in a hotel a little before 4:15 A.M., having to remember if I was in Birmingham Alabama, Nashville Tennessee or Panama City Florida. As usual, I did the morning routine of waking up; coffee, shower and then jump into some clothes before heading downstairs to the lobby. A fellow traveler was already turning in the keys and signing us out as I came down the stairs, there was a short whisper from the hotel clerk, and then a glance back to me as I passed by and outside to board my transportation for the day. Later in the day when my travelling companion had the chance he gave a smile with a nod and said “You should have heard what that clerk said this morning.”
“Oh yeah, what was that?” I asked.
“He saw you coming down the stairs and paused for a second and then he said ‘Man,…I bet that guy has seen some shit’.” My friend replied.

The two of us shared a chuckle not really trying to pinpoint the meaning of the comment, but finding it ironic nonetheless. And yet, though this was a witty little exchange (and those of you who know me personally will surely get the wit of it) it still strung a reflective chord within me. As the events of my past were fresh in my mind, I could certainly agree with the hotel clerk on his assessment. This reminded me of a quote I had written in one of those old journals. It was “In my opinion, Life is good. Not because of good fortune, but because of good experience. And sometimes that includes tragedy. –Daniel Louis Crumpton-1998.”

At around lunch time these things were on my mind as I waltzed through a local deli looking for a bit of sushi to sustain me for the day. Having never met a stranger, I struck up a conversation with an employee stocking the freshly made goods in the coolers and it naturally lead to me being a writer from out of state and doing a bit of travelling from time to time. He expressed how that sounded like a lot of fun and then inquired if I had a family or not. I have to admit, that question felt like a sucker punch to the gut. The instant image of “family” appeared to me as a woman holding my hand while we stood outside of a little pink house complete with white picket fence, grappling with 2.5 kids. My path had not brought me to such a conclusion and I was forced to answer the question in my mind with a definite “No”…but before it hit my tongue another path of thought came to me.

zenfriends - Copy

Crew of ZEN IN THE CAR T.V.

No, my current location in this Universe did not lead me to a wife and 2.5 kids to pass my years of experience to, but that did not mean I did not have a family. One has to ask the question as to what a family is. Can people who have no blood connection be family? Is it possible that people who have come into your life by what appears to be a random series of events, yet affect you greatly, be family? Is it necessary to have grown up with them and have all the same views, or are disagreements, distrusts and shared triumphs through weakness just as likely with those you have only known in the current stage of your life and if so isn’t this what a family is? People who apparently with no control of their own end up walking similar paths with similar heartaches and lessons from the so called hard knocks and lift you up just when you need it, knowing you will do the same for them if God be willing. Is this not the very epitome of what family is? The faces of those around me now, in my personal and professional life are here because they are exactly the ones I need to help me on the long road home. So without further hesitation I looked the employee in the eyes and gave him a firm “Yes. I do have a family as a matter of fact.”

Many miles and hours later in the wee bits of the morning I crept into my office and put down my bags, lit a few candles, turned on some shuffled music low enough for me to drift back into the dance of it, sat down and began scribbling for the first time in a long time, “How to Rise from Ashes” on the second or third page of a fresh, clean, brand new composition book. As they say, a life worth living is a life worth chronicling.

20141002_084310I know that ZENINTHECAR.COM is on its break and the crew of ZEN IN THECAR T.V. are all off finding their own voice and passion in their own way, as I am doing myself; but I suppose some of the recent private conversations I have had with many of my friends compelled me to take out the time to put these thoughts on the page regardless of the timing. I know many of you out there are at points in your life where great change is all about. They could be good, they could be bad, and they could be ones you never thought would happen or that you always knew in your soul indeed would. They may be times of loss and weariness of soul or the exhilarating days of a new start. No matter the circumstance or your current lot in life; take my advice and never be tempted by anyone or anything to put down the pen of your own life.

With all that being said; here’s a little ditty (and a taste of what’s to come next season) I would like to send out to all my family and friends. It was put together with all of you in mind. Enjoy.

WE’RE ON OUR WAY

THE SOLITUDE OF SUFFERING PART ONE: A MAN OF SORROWS

D. L. CRUMPTON

D. L. CRUMPTON

Buddha said that life is suffering. That kinda sucks. But the guy has a pretty big following so there must be something to the observation. I know I have had my share of it and no doubt you have as well so we have that in common, got to build rapport where we can. When you are in a state of suffering it is much akin to drowning or having a very large anvil pressing down on your chest. It’s difficult to think, a burden to eat, and exhausting simply being conscious while something is eating away at you. Others may empathize with you due to having gone through similar situations, but far and few between are those rare souls that can actually soothe your wounds. One typically must suffer in solitude and believe me, it aint no walk in the park when you have to go it alone. We all have our trial by fire, be it the loss of a loved one, illness, financial crisis, divorce or the absence of someone dear to us either by miles or emotions and when we endure such trials, at the time, it may seem like there is no light at the end of the tunnel.

Suffering-Servant-MessiahAs for me, nearly the last decade of my life has seemingly been one instance of suffering in solitude followed shortly after by another instance. In my twenties my mom developed stage four cancer and was given six months to occupy the planet. This was her second bout with cancer and the odds were extremely slim considering the aggressive nature of the disease. She had endured radiation and chemo the first time, and it was not something she was eager to try again. More likely than not you too have had your life affected by cancer and know full well how much of a nightmare it is. It is particularly worse when it is someone extremely close to you like your mother. You have to endure the sickness, the weakness, the fear, the hopelessness and you have to watch someone you love with all your heart deteriorating before your eyes. You don’t want to show the person that has cancer how much pain you are in as well because of morale, so you endure the suffering of the experience within. You keep it bottled up and buried deep and the truth of the matter is that you might as well have cancer too. That suffering eats at you from within. You cry out to God for answers and demand to know why It has allowed this to happen to someone you love, someone that doesn’t deserve it. You wait for the heavens to open and the All-mighty to give you a direct answer but all you hear is crickets. It is easy to get mad at God on those lonely nights.

Losing my mom to cancer was something I refused to accept and God was giving me nothing, so I resolved to figure something out on my own. As it would happen I stumbled upon a book called A World without Cancer: The Story of Vitamin B-17 by G. Edward Griffin which makes the case that mere vitamin supplementation can cure this horrid disease. After doing my own research I remember going to my mom one night while she laid on the couch in pain and putting my hand in hers. I explained it all to her and asked her to give it a shot. She looked at me and said “I wish I had as much faith as you do”, to which I responded “Mama, I have enough for the both of us”. I needed a miracle and if fabricating faith within myself brought it about then so be it. So I bought a pound of apricot seeds (the highest concentration of vitamin B-17 is in apricot seeds) and began grinding 14 a day and mixing it with her protein shakes. Less than three months later my mom was cancer free and she has occupied the planet for another ten years and going since we administered the vitamins. It was only after the fact that I realized God doesn’t open up the heavens to answer you, It answers with that small, still voice within. That internal voice that refuses to accept defeat and drives you to find a solution on your own.

photo from www.attorneynegotiationcenter.com

photo from www.attorneynegotiationcenter.com

At the time I was a newlywed and obviously this period took an emotional toll on my marriage right out of the gates. It isn’t easy delegating your time, emotion and attention to a sick mother and a brand new blushing bride. You are stuck in the unwinnable situation of both giving one too much and the other too little. Imagine walking on a tightrope between the now non-existent twin towers because that’s exactly what it feels like. Thankfully though, when my mom was cured I was able to shift my focus to the woman that wed me and a period of happiness emerged when the two of us bought our first home. For a time it was good. Nine to five jobs, I started writing again after years of not a single drop of ink, had a dog, a cat and a routine of dinner on the table by seven if she was cooking and eleven if I was cooking (the trick to being a good cook is to take a long time so those eating are good and hungry. You see that way even if you screw the recipe up they are so hungry they don’t care) and life was like that John Cougar Mellencamp song Pink Houses. Of course creeping in the back of my head was the notion that life could not be this good for this long without interruption. I always say that for love, sleep and riches to be enjoyed they must be interrupted. Now that is not my quote, but it is still true.

It was February 15th of 2011 when I came back into town from work. My normal routine was to stop and check on my parents then go home and begin cleaning, cooking and jumping on the treadmill while I watched some long documentary on something bizarre I had found on YouTube. That day I broke my routine though. Normally I would always go into my parent’s home and see if they needed anything, but since the night before was my ex-wife’s birthday, and we had had a disagreement, I felt I needed to just drive by and see if the lights were on then go home to prepare for apologizing for something I didn’t do or another. That’s marriage for you. If you want it to have any shelf life you have to be willing to plead guilty when you are anything but. I know it sounds spineless, but trust me, it is easier to say “Honey I am sorry for your perceived violations and promise to never, ever do it again” than listening to her go on and on for hours on end about it. Trust me, if you are going to do the marriage thing you better be ready to apologize for anything and everything because if you don’t she will ensure that your life is a living and eternal hell. As the Bible says “It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman and in a wide house.” While I was picking up the house with an Anthony Hopkins film playing in the background, I got a call from my mom. She was screaming and I already knew in my gut what was happening. She said my dad was asleep and couldn’t wake up. I told her I would be there shortly and hung up. I flew over in no time at all and in the meantime called 911 to have ambulances meet me there.

photo from thebookofatom.blogspot.com

photo from thebookofatom.blogspot.com

Once I arrived I flew up the stairs and turned to the right, I could see my mom standing over my dad who was lying on the bed. I ran into the room and grabbed her first. I took her to the living room and sat her down and told her to sit and pray. Afterwards I went into the bedroom while I had 911 on the phone, picked my father up and laid him on the floor. I lifted his neck back and began CPR. The moment I began all the air locked in his lungs flooded into mine and filled me like a balloon. At that moment I heard the voice of a young man say “Don’t worry son, everything is going to be okay”. The experience was one of the most profound I have ever had. I worked on him for about fifteen minutes as the police on the scene simply watched before EMT arrived and once they did I consoled my mother. As I collected his medication for the hospital the police thought it appropriate to disarm me of my firearm and run the serial number while my father was in the next room with tubes in him. Protectin’ and servin’ and all that jazz. Deep in my heart I knew my father was gone. He had been in a lot of pain his last few months and I knew he was ready to cross over. When they got him to the hospital they tried for almost an hour to bring him back but my dad was always stubborn and wouldn’t let them. He had crossed over and that’s all there was to it. Now I had to deal with it as well as the toll it would take on my family.

After preaching my father’s eulogy, I didn’t want my mom and brother in the house where he died so they lived with me for a stint until I could find them a place to stay. Their presence in my home again put an emotional toll on my marriage. My ex-wife was not too pleased with this. She was ready to start a family and feared we never would if I kept tending to the needs of others. Now keep in mind, she had lost some loved ones and in those times she went to the darkest pits you could possibly imagine years before my ordeals began, and afterward I stuck by her side to see her through it. However three months after my father’s passing I was presented with divorce papers. Again we see the solitude of suffering. I remember falling to my knees and begging her not to do this to me, that I needed her, but I suppose when someone has something in their head you can only postpone it before they pull the trigger. It lasted another year or so before the trigger was finally pulled. In the meantime I was tapped by the Divine to suffer from one of the most horrible afflictions that I can imagine.

 

MAROON 5 MAPS

 

It started the day my father crossed over. I remember lying down on the floor in attempt to get some sleep and just before I blinked out, my entire body exploded with what felt like an electric jolt, and all of a sudden I was reliving the event with my father. It only took this to happen two or three times before I realized “Oh my God, I have post-traumatic stress disorder”. This revelation was absolutely horrific for me knowing that my father had suffered from it after Vietnam and having heard the stories of what a toll it had taken on him. When you have a high powered mind, and that mind suddenly turns against you, believe me it is no picnic. PTSD is literally like living in hell and breathing fire and brimstone every waking moment with no hints of relief. You never know when you may suffer from a panic attack, a muscle spasm or convulsion throughout your whole body or a severe flashback where you are forced to relive the trigger moment. One of the main reasons I am so passionate about the troops is because I can personally relate to the solitude of suffering in having to endure traumatic events because if there is anything that is true it’s this; unless you have endured PTSD you cannot understand the torment of it. Now, being deeply spiritual, I had to believe that there was some way beyond the orthodox methods, that there was a way out of this maze of the eternal and perpetual hell I was enduring in complete solitude. There were no words (and that is quite a statement from a writer) that can describe what it is like to be locked in that prison. I could see the wear and tear it was taking on me, on my family and my extending loved ones and I was determined to find a way out of it. So, once again I did as I was accustomed to doing, and in desperation cried out to that entity we all call by some name or another, which at the time I called God, for help. Again …nothing but crickets. No shaft of light. No heavens opening up. No nothing. Crickets and me alone in some secluded area of my yard or the wilderness; that was all I got. This disorder was tearing me and my family apart and I was doing all that I was told was the right thing to do and praying in all the ways I was taught to do it and that big bearded guy in the sky was handing me nothing but peanuts…and in all actuality I bought the peanuts from a seven eleven with a Hindu cashier. So again that self-determination kicked in and I began racing through books on how to repair the mind of trauma. Fortune would bring me one called Depression Free Naturally by Joan Mathews Larson which taught a homeopathic approach for mental ailments rather than the big pharma approach. In it she outlined patients are literally starving themselves because our food doesn’t provide the body with vitamins and nutrients (thanks Monsanto). She recommended supplements like DMAE, L-Tryptophan, high doses of vitamin C, B, and fish oil. So I got myself a pill kit and loaded up on supplements. Like a miracle, within a matter of days all the symptoms of PTSD were completely gone and I was experiencing more peace than I had had in a very long time. The high powered mind that had turned against me was now back in my hands and sharper than ever. Through simply taking vitamins and meditation.

This is the point in my life when I began to examine the things I believe, and of course I would encourage you to do the same without the inconvenience of doing it through suffering, and began studying other faiths. Over time I began to see from a different perspective. One not taught in any particular school of thought. All schools of thought teach you to seek the differences between one faith and another. We are trained to look for what separates a Christian from a Muslim. We are conditioned into looking for what separates a Buddhist from a Hindu. Jehovah’s Witness are pitted against Mormons and Catholics against the Jew. We all take pride in the title we have become adept in and will fight, sometimes violently, against the opposing titles. You have the materialistists that tend to be masculine God worshippers and the spiritualists who tend to be feminine Goddess worshippers and the two cascades continually clash against one another in conflict and have done so throughout the ages. It is only now that select groups are beginning to see the chaos of the two and the havoc it has caused in the realization that what we are dealing with is a cosmic, dysfunctional marriage of the two. Male and Female, God and Goddess are one and the same. Our understanding of God has been dictated to us and we have been told that it is a gender, an iconography. A man with a beard on a throne with a sack of lightning bolts ready to smack you in the head if you believe something other than what comes from the pulpit.

photo from politicalfun.blogspot.com

photo from politicalfun.blogspot.com

Listen, let me take a weight off your shoulders right about now. All that stuff was mechanisms of control. You don’t have to believe any of it if you don’t want to. Now if you want to, more power to you. Just understand that you were handed that mess of dogmatism and you didn’t arrive at it on your own. Some chap behind a pulpit or some guy wearing a dress outlined it for you. Now you can smite me right now for being the messenger…but at the end of the day you will know I am right, and that is the thing you will not be able to escape. Unless you have experienced the Divine yourself, unless you have had that moment of absolute clarity where what you conceive as God intervened in your life and you were enlightened to the notion that there is no other way to touch that Divinity than through the self, then you cannot understand. I could care less what label you slap on yourself. When one touches Source, they know titles are burnt away. In that moment they can only say that they know. They have no choice but to say, “I Know”! They don’t need belief, they don’t need faith. They simply know. They need no religion, they need no title, and they need not restrict themselves to one particular scripture because they have touched that which no human hand can touch. They have touched the Divine with the eye of the mind.

Those who endure the solitude of suffering are forced to their knees time and time again awaiting that answer that never comes in a shaft of light, but in the still small voice. Over time they realize this is by design. The Creator, the Architect, has a pre written plan. They have seen this before, they have lived this before, and they have acted this out before. There is a cycle, there is a circle. The first reaction is denial. You don’t want to accept that you have done this before because that is an admission of guilt. Will you please dismiss that because you have and you don’t want to be a douchebag this time too now do you?
This epiphany in my spiritual life was a landmark. The moment I stopped looking for the differences of all the faiths and began looking for the similarities is exactly when I started to find them. Once all the walls of dogmatism fell down my spiritual growth took a quantum leap and of course the natural course of evolution in this process is that those closest to you begin to believe you are insane. One of the natural courses of my evolution was to take a thirty day vow of silence, (which for anyone who knows me, you understand how extremely difficult this is) while I built a Zen Garden in the back yard.

Taking a vow of silence is extremely relaxing because once you take it and commit to it you become free from the notion of having to respond. You can simply stay in your own head and observe. Of course while you suppress that flow of output it will surely pop up in another area of creativity. For me, it did so in the form of my Zen garden. I had never been one to build anything with my own hands and had never been trained to do so, yet the more I suppressed the chi of my words the more this physical thing began to manifest itself. Of course all of my in laws, and sometimes including my Ex-wife, began to believe I was going insane but what they failed to see is that I was finally finding a peace that thus far had been unattainable. Buddhism and the path of Dharma aren’t as complicated or as sophisticated as some may make out; it is simply finding God in the little things all around you. It is exactly as Yeshua would describe his Father, as a wind that no one can see where it comes from or where it goes, only the effect of its presence.

There once was a story, and I will paraphrase, that says a woman went to a guru one day and told him that she feared she did not love God. The guru responded with “Who do you love most in this world?” to which the young woman replied, “My child here. I love my child more than anything in the world.” The Guru smiled and grabbed her cheeks saying, “When you look at your child you are looking at God”. That is the end of the parable but what I gleaned from it is that anything you look at with pure unconditional love is God, because God is unconditional love. This is, for some, a difficult thing to do. Especially when they have yet to be through the trials of suffering. They may make God out to be some distant being but when you have suffered and decided you want no more you find God is all around you, all about you, within you and within all those that you love. As my friend Jesse Herriott would say, there is no spot where God is not.

Now you have this epiphany in your head and a place of inner tranquility happens…then you get a divorce and all that stuff flies out the window..

 

TO BE CONTINUED IN “THE SOLITUDE OF SUFFERING PART TWO: LIFE AFTER DIVORCE”