17 Bizarre Philosophies that Built a Thriving Online Coaching & Teaching Business



The genuinely bizarre things I believe all contribute to my current rags-to-riches success, wherein in 2015 I  ran enterprise based on teaching magic and writing from a tropical island, and made about $10,000 a month.... in 2016 I moved home and raised my income to over $20,000 a month. 

In 2017 I'm averaging $30,000 a month.  It's not by accident, of course.  It's the result of some far-out insights combined with writing and teaching.

Note: This business has been 100% boot strapped and involved a lot of eating from food banks and sleeping on friend's couches to get started. There's been no parental financing, no sugar daddy, no nothin' of the sort. 

I would call myself a "self-made woman" but I don't love that term - since the truth is I've been nurtured in my weirdness by a whole host of people, so I'm a community-made woman - specifically, a Pittsburgh-made woman.

I know a lot of you out there in internet land (especially the magically and artistically inclined amongst you) would be curious to know the attitudes and beliefs that have gone into creating my business success.

So I decided to write down all the bizarre stuff that I 100% believe here in this convenient list format, so hopefully people can read it and

1) learn from it and

2) know all about me up-front, so I don't have to constantly deal with personally shocking and disturbing them.

Psssssssssssst - if you like the far-out stuff I'm about to talk about here, you'll probably also enjoy and benefit from my live training.

 I'm a about to do present a free virtual event -  PAID: The Weird Writer's Training on Getting Rich in Online Business - it'll be live on January 10, 2018. 

I invite you to join me.  I'll be sharing more in depth about the exact strategies and tactics I've used to create this success. 

You can click here to register for it: https://www.crowdcast.io/e/paid-the-weird-writers



1. Having is evidence of wanting, but only always.

I'm not even going to explain this one much. Just think about it. Really think about it. What would it mean in your life if this were true? And would you be willing to gently open up to enjoying that fact about yourself without judging and shaming or hating yourself for it? 

Maybe? Okay? No? Well then, that's cool, you can stop reading. You don't have to waste your time with me and I promise you won't dig what I have to say at all.

Because most everything I ever say is some variant of "Having is evidence of wanting."

As for me, once upon a time, I thought I didn't want to be living trapped below the poverty level.  But having is evidence of wanting, and actually a large part of my soul did want exactly that.

I also thought I didn't want to be in shitty abusive relationships with insane, possessive men who treated me like I was some kind of drug instead of a person - but fascinatingly, a major part of my soul, once again - did want exactly that

It was only when I stopped judging and shaming the part of me that adored poverty and having men be addicted to me that I interrupted the pattern of shame and self-hatred that kept me wanting - and creating - those dark situations.

2. Magic is 10% intention, 90% liberating your attention from your attachments and aversions, your habitual unconscious patterns, and your shame and your resentment.

Vision Boards and the Law of Attraction and a century of New Ageism got lots of magically-inclined folks whipped up into thinking that all they needed to do was "intend" something and it would happen.

Yeah, like no.

I mean, intending stuff and having it happen does totally work, if you're very free from attachment and aversion and unconscious self-defeating patterns. Are you?

Are you like, Gautama Buddha-level free of your patterns?

If no, and you hope to be effective at practical magic, then I would spend way way way way way way more time on the work of liberating your attention from being trapped in those patterns and way way way way way less time on getting your precious "intentions" just right.

Liberated attention is power.  Liberated attention is joy.

Your intentions aren't worth much unless they've got tons of power behind them.

If you're at all like most of us humans, pretty much all of your attention and all of your power and all of your joy is currently trapped in bullshit self-defeating patterns that got embedded into you early in your life through trauma, abuse and coercion, whether familial or societal or both.

Cheers, enjoy, kiddo! - signed, the legacy of all humanity preceding you, especially the founders of modern Western society.


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3. In this world, wealth comes from getting okay with being a predator. 

Does that sound evil, being a predator?

Do you think lions are evil? Because.... they're predators.

I'll just say it again: especially if you're selling a spiritual and emotional service like teaching or coaching and you're a woman, you need to hear this: you're a predator. You're a lion.

If you're broke, it's probably because of systemic misogyny and also because you still see yourself as a helpless antelope (which, fyi, systemic misogyny conditioned all of us women to do!)

Now you may not be able to slay systemic misogyny in one fell swoop, but you can stop seeing yourself as an antelope.

Or not. I mean, that's totally cool, you can continue seeing yourself as an antelope if you want to.

Yet chances are that you're a delusional antelope, because if there's a part of your soul that's hungry to do business, then you're really a lion.

Your prey is your prospect's ego: the part of them that wants to resist deeply committing to change and admitting that they need help and mentorship and therefore surrendering to valuing your services and wisdom with money.

As a lion, you've got to kill that prey and eat it all up if you want to stay in business.

So, would you like to fess up to being a lion, or would you like to continue to pretend to be an antelope?

You get way more pity as a helpless, struggling, broke spiritual basic-ass antelope - also, you get approval from insecure men who remain non-threatened by you and continuous affirmation from your broke spiritual antelope friends! -- so maybe you'd like to keep doing that? 

4. Magic isn't "spiritual" - it's soulful.

Think of it this way: we've all got a body, a soul, and a spirit.

Our body is our body - flesh and bones and stuff. The part that will still be here on earth when you die. The bits people will have to bury or cremate. You know, those.

Our spirit is our consciousness, our mind. The part of us that comes up with all those great intentions!

Our soul is the part of us that mediates between our body and our spirit. We might also call it our shadow and anima / animus, our creative unconscious, our personal genius.

Mysticism works primarily with the spirit.

Magic works primarily with the soul, to create pragmatic effects in the body and in the world.

That's why magicians use physical objects: herbs and candles and oils and sculptures and paintings and mojo bags and offerings of food - slime and snails and puppy dog tails!

We use these because we're working at the symbolic, imaginal level, the level of the interface between spirit and body, the level of dream and metaphor and poetry and art

Mysticism (and its attendant dogma and self-righteousness) tends to be popular among people who are so rich or otherwise privileged that they hardly know what to do with themselves.

I'm sure you can easily conjure to your mind folks that you've met who've never had to worry a day in their lives about how they're going to pay rent or buy food, folks who have never had to defend themselves from attack of any kind - who will tell you that witchcraft and magic are shameful, unspiritual, low-minded pursuits. 

Spiritually-oriented, rareified mystics either get squeamish around and money and birth and death and fucking and hustling or they go into a kind of kitschy denial that there's anything truly fucked up or scary in the world. Hint: there's plenty that's fucked up and scary in the world. 

Magic and witchcraft, on the other hand, tend to be popular among people who need to hustle for their living, and who've seen the dark side of this earth.

In other words, it's popular among people who don't have the luxury of by-passing their souls in order to protect a sparkling imaginary purity of their spirits. 

5. Jesus Christ was a first-class witch.

I am like a giant Jesus fan and quote him all the time, which flips some people out, especially considering that I'm also always talking about how I'm a witch and magic and ritual, etc. etc.,  

Think about it, folks, Jesus was obviously a witch who loved to party.

"What? There's no more wine? Just pass me that water and stand back folks - bam! Now let's keep this rager raging!"

"That's right, my moms was like fourteen when she gave birth to me in this crazy old barn with goats all around, and then these Persian dudes rolled up on the scene..."

"Awwww man, we're out of food? Wait wait wait everybody, don't leave just yet! Hold on - hand me those loaves and fishes - allllllllllllllllright now! Fish sandwiches for everyone!"

"Cool, so where all the bad bitches and hustlers hanging out? Can you point me there?"

"Yeah, my folks brought me to the Temple a lot growing up, but when I was like 13 I was like, fuck these guys, you know? I'm already more down with the Lord than they are and I'm just a jack-ass kid!"

Anyways, it's obvious to me. Jesus wasn't a mystic. He was a sexy witch and a magician, a shaman, a sorcerer and a healer, and a damn well accomplished one who terrified the Roman empire so much they had to assassinate him.

In other words, they burned him as a witch. Well, crucified him, but you know, same thing pretty much. Both result in torturous death.


6. As without, so within. 

This is a variation on the classic hermetic truth, "as above, so below."

It's a premise that's the basis of all analogy. And without analogy, we can't access the unknown. Analogy is how we connect the known with the unknown.

So if you want to know your within, take a good look at your without.

The world around you corresponds precisely to your soul. So much so that the highest form of enlightenment in Tibetan Buddhism is known as "mahamudra," which means "the great symbol." 

It means that this whole world is a symbol of itself, which is to say, a symbol of you. Does that not make sense?

Probably it doesn't make sense, because it's a deep nondualistic truth and I'm expressing it in dualistic terms. But all language is dualistic, it's part of it's fun.


7. The world needs more bad bitches - aka "Fuck you, pay me."

I am so, so over misogyny in every single last one of its guises, especially the one where women and feminine people are conditioned to believe they have to be "spiritual" and "good" and perform endless emotional labor for zero pay.

Fuck. That. Shit.

As long as we're living in a capitalist world, money is how we express valuation. Emotional labor like the kind that women and feminine people do constantly - coaching, nurturing, teaching, nursing, therapy-ing, etc. etc. etc. is highly valuable and deserves to be highly paid.

The main thing that prevents women from being highly paid and highly valued for their endless emotional labor is endemic, world-wide, brutal traumatic abuse of women and children and people who evidence femininity in non-normative ways (including gay, bisexual, queer, and trans people). 

So I'll say it again: Fuck. That. Shit.

In other words - give it to me, I'm worth it. 

And so are you.

8. People are hungry to be genuinely seen and felt more than anything else. If you have enough liberated attention, you're capable of giving this - so then you become cherished and influential.

Just think about it. If your attention is wrapped up in your obsessions and your fears, you're not able to be fully present with people, right?

I mean, we all know folks who compulsively play with their phones rather than experience actual intimacy with the flesh-and-blood humans who are face-to-face with them.

So in a world where it's easier than ever to have your attention obsessively sucked away, having the power to focus your attention and focus it deeply and beautifully on the person in front of you is a rare art.

The gift of exquisite attention has always been in high demand, and the demand for it will just continue to rise. So if you want to be a person of influence and wealth, cultivate your ability to be free from obsession, alive in the present moment, and exquisitely attentive to the person right in front of you.

9. There is no reason for you or for any other human to feel ashamed, ever.

Sometimes when I say this people are like "What! Don't you think rapists and child molesters and murderers should be ashamed?"

To which I'm like - "Uhh, hell no. If they weren't ridden with shame to begin with and all the dissociation and alienation that shame brings then they wouldn't be able to treat other humans like objects."

And then sometimes those people look at me and they're like "What about psychopaths and sociopaths and narcissists? They don't feel shame! They should feel shame, though!"

I don't know much what to say to that, other than it's totally obvious to me that actually the only thing psychopaths and sociopaths and narcissists feel is shame.  They feel shame so constantly and so profoundly that it prevents them from feeling compassion.

In other words, after many long hours of meditation on the subject, it became clear to me that shame is the fountain source of violence and trauma, not its preventative balm.

Therefore, whenever I notice shame or judgment springing up in myself, I do my utmost to immediately release it - because I know that it's completely pointless.

The primary value of shame is as an instrument of control. If you can get someone to feel ashamed of themselves, then you can get them to be miserably alienated from their own soul. And if you can get them miserably alienated from their own soul, then you can get them addicted to something.

And if you can get someone to be addicted to something, then it's super-simple to manipulate them by simply regulating their access to the object of their addiction.

Ta-da! Consumerist, oligarchist society for you in a nutshell. 


10. Potency comes from embracing parts of yourself that you would much rather delete.

When most people talk about the importance of "shadow work" I notice that they're talking about a rather lame and watered-down version of this.

Like, folks seem to imagine that "shadow work" is something you can complete one rainy Sunday afternoon and then check off your list.

In my experience, the integration of the shadow is the integration of your own creative unconscious, and it is a process that utterly rocks you to the core and dismantles everything you thought you were.

And if you survive that, then you're magically and practically potent and vital. The key is not to kill yourself or anyone else along the way.

The nitty-gritty details of how to accomplish this shadow integration work makes up the bulk of what I teach people to do when I teach practical magic - because when you've got an integrated shadow, then you've got liberated attention, which means.... power and joy.

11. All identity is empty, fluid, constantly subject to evolution. 

Most people are ineffective because more than anything else they want to grasp onto a solid identity for themselves. We all want to feel solid, secure, real.

And the punchline of this planet is that's the one thing you can't ever do! Why? Because it's not possible for anything to have any solid, secure identity, because in order for identity to exist that means there has to be two of something (i.e. "this" is identical to "that" - you have to have both a "this" and a "that" in order to have an identity), therefore identity implies a duality, and reality is non-dual.

In other words, I know that it seems like you're a subject and the rest of the world is the solid object of your subjective experience, but - alas, that's an illusion.

It's an illusion of solidity that's frequently punctured by nighttime dreams, but our current culture is really fantasmic at being in denial of the importance and reality of nighttime dreams.

It's hard to describe the actual situation we live in better than Bill Hicks did in his fanciful expression of what an anchor delivering a News Update that was actually real news (instead of the usual hum-drum recitation of wars and politics) would sound like:

“Today a young man on acid realized that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration, that we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively, there is no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we are the imagination of ourselves. Here's Tom with the Weather.”


12. We all think we want to feel fulfilled, but actually fulfillment is humiliating and excruciating because it kills our ego.

Your thoughts will tell you all day long that you want to be much more rich, loved, healthy, etc. etc. than you already are.

What you don't realize is that your thoughts are straight up lying to you, because actually opening up to receiving that cash and love and health and brilliance is a painful, humiliating process that destroys the ego you've built around the self-image you have of yourself as someone who's long-suffering, put-upon, oppressed, taken advantage of, misunderstood, deprived, etc.

The fulfillment of everything you think you want will entail the destruction of everything you currently think you are.

Almost no one wants the destruction of everything she currently thinks she is because (see above) we're all caught up in an impassioned, hopeless quest to grasp at a feeling of solid identity. 


13. "Addiction" is synonymous with demonic possession, and we're all afflicted by it.

Have you ever talked to a friend of yours who had gotten addicted to drugs when he was jonesing for a fix (or your mom when she was desperate for chocolate, or your dad when he was super-upset that his sports team lost, or your boyfriend while he was defending his right to use porn?) and it was 100% clear to you that you weren't really talking to your friend (or mom or dad or boyfriend), you were talking to the addiction itself?

Well, I have.

Sometimes it's not always so obvious, but it is always true: being possessed by a demon means that there's an intelligence that's hijacked your body and mind which isn't actually interested in the well-being of your body and mind.

And that's addiction - it's an imprisoning force, an intelligence, that operates you until it destroys you. It's currently operating our whole world and doing a smashingly grand job of destroying it.

I see my mission in life as freeing myself from addiction in all its guises and helping others to get free. 

An important thing to note is this: the use of drugs and shopping and porn and sugar and sports and gambling and whatever else - those are all just symptoms of addiction.

Addiction is way deeper than any of its symptoms. It's a fundamental orientation towards self, life, the world, others - one that's obsessive, compulsive, fearful and destructive. 


14. The end of suffering is the willingness to enjoy overwhelming sensation (i.e., pain) rather than trying to push it away. I call this existential kink, and it's the only thing that's ever worked to move me out of my stuck patterns of trauma that I got from being molested as a kid and raped as a young woman.

Pretty much every woman I have ever known has been molested or raped or otherwise assaulted, by the way.

There's nothing odd about being a woman or feminine who has been molested, abused, raped, beaten, coerced, assaulted -- that's actually super-ordinary in our world. 

I'll just say that again: there is absolutely nothing rare or strange or odd or uniquely shameful about being a woman who has been molested, abused, raped, beaten, coerced, assaulted - sadly, that is the normal condition of being a woman in this world. 

I emphasize the truth of the ordinariness of these profound violations because I honestly didn't realize the total ordinariness of it for a long time, and when I did realize the total pervasive ordinariness of this violence, that knowledge helped to free me.

For many years I thought I was uniquely fucked up. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Sadly, I am not at all uniquely fucked up. I am very ordinarily fucked up. What's rare and exceptional on this planet is being a woman or feminine person who has not been molested, abused, beaten, coerced, assaulted, raped.


15. Money isn't "green energy." It's dirty filthy nasty cash money. 

While I'm all about "fuck you, pay me" (see above) and I love the hustle, I also fully acknowledge that money is a highly problematic construction.

Have you read Debt: The First 5000 Years? Or Sacred Economics? Or Capitalism in the 21st Century by Thomas Picketty? Or On the Genealogy of Morals?

Well, you probably should go do that, but in the meantime I'll just go ahead and bottomline it for you: the kind of currency we use today is based on debt. It's debt-based currency. And debt is fucked up.

You know what's a synonym for "debt"?

Resentment. Resentment is holding onto something that happened in the past and wanting it to be made up for, by whatever means necessary. That's what debt does, too.

Debt is "something held against you" - that "something" is an expectation, a forceful demand of repayment.

"And forgive us our debts, that we may forgive those who owe us debts." This was part of a magic spell that the great witch Jesus said all the time, because getting free from resentment is a very important part of liberating your attention so you can do magic. 

In a way, money is like calcified resentment!

In other words, our money is an abstraction that represents the past, and something owed. It's a violent demand in the form of slips of paper and coin and digital marks.

Money is not benevolent, it is not innocent. In any way. At all. Ever.

Money is fierce, it's brutal, it's unfair, it's obsessed with the past, and it deeply connects us to a system of brutality.

If the only way you can get okay with making money is by tricking yourself into believing that it's "just energy!' as if it were some innocent, totally non-problematic force handed to you by the Easter Bunny, then that attitude is a reflection of your woefully brittle denial and lack of capacity for understanding historical and economic fact.

Money is a tricksy form of limiting magic (created by sorcerers known as governments and banks) that perpetuates shame, scarcity, and alienation.

And there's no legitimate way around that.  There's no way to by-pass it. The only way is the filthy way through. 

Because you know what perpetuates shame, scarcity, and alienation even more than having and making dirty dirty cash money?

I'll tell you: it's being broke while self-righteously justifying your not venturing out of your comfort zone because to do so would be "unspiritual." That hiding perpetuates shame and scarcity and alienation even more.

Why? Think of it this way: when you do this, you refuse to make that dirty, dirty cash money rain like gushing blood from an antelope's bitten neck in springtime because you prefer to be "pure."

In other words, you're addicted to an ideal of yourself as someone who's free from sin. You're a Pharisee.

My favorite witch Jesus didn't have much respect for Pharisees. Why? Because they're way more about looking good than doing the actual nasty work of effecting good results

So the refusal to deal with money because it's nasty and violent - this is a denial of your soul and it's more harmful than money, even with all the debt and violence and brutality that money is factually, historically associated with.

Money is corrosive and dangerous and related to debt and resentment and obsessed with the past, yes.

And guess what? You've got corrosive, dangerous, brutal, past-obsessed elements in your own soul, too. So many of them, in fact! Would you like to be in aversive denial of those elements forever?

Because if you deny and reject the corrosion and brutality and obsession with the past that's in your very own soul by refusing to get up and go soil your hands with the stinky violent dirty world of money and sales, then you're just denying elements in your own soul. 

Mmmmm, good luck with that.

16. Connection and intimacy are the antidotes to addiction.

Part of why I'm so interested in connection and superconnection is that addiction (attachment, aversion, obsession, fear) thrives on alienation and shame.

Meanwhile, addiction dies in the warmth of real connection and intimacy.

We don't grow up learning how to do real connection and intimacy - and indeed, all of our present society is engineered against it.

So we're living within this intense paradox - we have to hustle and compete for cash, and we have to connect deeply and intimately in order to free ourselves from the demon of addiction and have the free attention and energy that actual success and leadership calls for.

It's not easy, but it's what we've got to do at this particular odd moment in history.

This brings me to the final bizarre thing I believe....


17. Your capacity to live in paradox is your capacity for real success, power, influence, joy.


It's very clear to me that this world isn't going to be liberated from the clutches of the demon addiction by goody-goody heroes.

It's going to be saved by people who are a bit wicked, a bit dangerous, rather unpredictable and chaotic. People with sullied pasts and dirty hands. Shifty magic people. The kind of bodhisattvas who might just kill you in order to liberate you.

In the midst of this late capitalist, dogmatically materialist world, a magician doesn't get to truly free herself and others by staying squeaky clean.

The game right now involves taking the poison in order to purge and heal.

Remember, the witch Jesus hung out with whores and shady mafia type guys (i.e. tax collectors) but only all the time.

If you can't sincerely get off on the pain and tragedy and madness of this world, if you can't walk unflinchingly within it and be both cunning as a serpent and innocent as a dove, then you probably won't enjoy your time here and you probably won't help the rest of us that much.

And it's knowing all this and being willing to live it that made me $300,000 last year from my pillow.

If this is resonating with you -  I'm revving up to present a free virtual event -  PAID: The Weird Writer's Training on Getting Rich in Online Business - it'll be live on January 10, 2018.  I know that may seem like a long way off, but I promise you it's worth the wait.  

I invite you to join me.  I'll be sharing more in depth about the exact strategies and tactics I've used to create this success. 

You can click here to register for it:





Posted on October 30, 2015 .



What I feel to be missing from most discussions of magic (particularly the magic of practical manifestation, which concerns me most) is a down-to-earth acknowledgement of the actual hardcore madness that you need in order to execute it fully and well.

For example - when I'm feeling a bit down and in need of inspiration (as often happens in the midst of a dreary Pittsburgh winter [note to self - really must move to New Orleans before it gets cold here in Pittsburgh again!]) - I scour the interweb and bookstores and find that most popular discussions of the Law of Attraction and creative visualization and even ceremonial magick simply fail to inspire me.

Why? Because most just don't give full enough recognition and permission to how far off the deep-end of consensus reality I actually have to go (in my own previous experience) to actually make them work.

So I'm here today to affirm for you, dear readers, that in order to perform magic you really do have to let yourself go rather mad (by societal standards) and jump.

Because you're reading this on the internet, and the internet loves lists, I have organized what I know to be true about the insanity required for magical effectiveness and how to attain it into 7 easily consumable keys, which I now proudly present:

1. Magic is the art of unveiling your true self, which means you have to be willing to become immensely intimate with what's already present - so much so that you forget to judge against it. 

So here you are. You're a being full of intense passions and ideals, goals and aspirations, with gorgeous visions of how things could be - and you find yourself in the midst of this mortal, decaying, messy world.



(The Magician card from the Light Visions tarot by James R. Eads, my personal favorite)

You notice that you and the people close to you are rife with tremendous beauty and also with wounds, fears, neuroses, blocks, limitations, illness - physical and mental disturbances of all flavors.

You notice that the landscape of your world includes lovely sunsets and adorable babies and tender tree limbs bursting forth in spring - and it also includes brutally ugly Big Box retail stores, suicides of great artists, used heroin needles and crack pipes on the sidewalk, children abused by their own families, tired elderly bag ladies shuffling around with their shopping carts, and perpetual news of war and disaster and broadcast everywhere.

So what's your subjective response to the ugliness and rot in your world and in yourself? Do you feel offended, insulted, disgusted by it? Do you want to make it go away as fast as possible so your shining vision can be unsullied?

Well, pretty much all of us do. But that very attitude of taking offense maintains you in a position of practical magic weakness.

Not to alarm you - but thinking in biblical terms, it's actually a Luciferian position. The proud Light-Bringer, accustomed to the unending effulgence of heaven, refused to humble himself and honor the fleshy mortality of God's creation, of humankind. In that refusal to bow to the stinky mess that is humanity and the material world, the bright angel Lucifer took himself straight to Hell. And that's actually what most of us do, all the time.

According to Milton's classic version of the tale in Paradise Lost, Lucifer got bored in his shimmering infernal palace and so he snuck up into the Garden of Eden, took the form of the serpent, and tricked our primordial parents Eve and Adam into eating the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

As soon as they did that, they became aware of their nakedness and became ashamed and hid from God. Their shame arose because they ingested Lucifer's idealistic point of view - and with it came negative judgment, a taking offense, at their own nakedness, weakness, material sensuality - which they now saw as "evil" - lacking.


(Eve Tempted by the Serpent by William Blake, who knew his stuff when it came to magic and imagination)

And then just as Lucifer banished himself from heaven, Eve and Adam banished themselves from the Garden of Eden (the experience of being alive in a lush, abundant and friendly world) and into the living Hell of having to work for a living, with all the attendant toil and stress that you're probably very familiar with.

To explain a bit more: this created world of flesh and blood and dirt and shit and death and birth is a dream, exactly the same as our nighttime dreams, but a bit more solid and slower moving. Lucifer's outraged insistence is that the dream be full of pure light, but it's not.

This means: as long as you are taking offense and wishing to distance yourself from the scary and sick and perverse and weak things in the dream (including the woundedness and sickness and nakedness and weakness in you) then you are negatively judging the dream from the position of what's favorable or unfavorable for the dream character that you appear to be.

Your very negative judgment and taking offense is what makes the dream seem wildly beyond your control, and causes you to feel like you're a victim of it, because it identifies you as a powerless character and positions you in what Kierkegaard liked to call demonic despair. Your very resistance to the ugliness in the dream holds it in place, energizes it, makes it more dramatic and big. Because that's the nature of your magical power. Sorry.

The answer to this magical conundrum is not to ignore, deny, or overlook the pain and ugliness of the world as the rather uninspiring, pop-magic Law of Attraction answer would have it. That's not a recipe for being a powerful magician. That's a recipe for being an asshole.

Instead - the paradoxical and intensely challenging answer is to recognize that you, the larger you, the dreamer of the dream, loves and desires the nasty, bloody, aging world and your messed-up self and all the messed-up people around you exactly AS IS, with all its wounds and used needles and war and belly fat and unsightly wrinkles. The answer is to become intensely intimate with the woundedness and sickness, so much so that you forget to take offense in it - you surrender to it, you honor it, you celebrate it. You dive into your aversion to creation and have a party. You do exactly what Lucifer refused to do.


(Gustave Dore's classic depiction of Lucifer / Satan from his illustration of Milton's Paradise Lost)

Let's think about it a second: what other famous biblical character was totally willing to get down and dirty, up close and very personal with the sick, the weak, the poor, and the generally unwholesome and fucked-up? What weirdo was always up for a party?

Oh yeah. That immensely queer, ridiculously insane, highly-laughable, very very BAD WITCH, the tantric-magician-poet, Jesus of Nazareth.

(wonderful Ted Neeley as sexy angsty hippie lord of hosts in Jesus Christ Superstar, 1973)

2. Your self-concept truly does determines everything.

As long as you take yourself to be the put-upon, insulted, offended dream character, as long as you're solidly identified in your aversions and attachments, you can't work real practical magic. You can't turn water into wine and you can't walk on water. You can't make the lame walk, raise the dead, or multiply loaves and fishes.

Fuck, about all you can do is sometimes manifest what's on your magazine-picture cut-and-paste Vision Board. Or maybe your Pinterest. And even if you do, if you're honest with yourself, you find that your manifestations are somehow rather remarkably unsatisfying once they appear.

You can't do all that cool miracle stuff, because all that cool miracle stuff is only what you get to do if you're fully lucid in the dream, fully identified as the dreamer instead of the dream character.

That was the immense trick that Jesus, our great queer bad-ass wizard, managed to do. He saw himself and everyone else and everything else as the dreamer instead of the dreamed. He didn't use his own puny human will to change stuff. He identified so thoroughly with the Great Will, "the will of God," the desire that creates all things, including the shit and the wounds and the horror and the ugliness and the nose hairs and the cellulite - that that Will had no problem moving through him and shifting the dream in his presence.

Just like when you become lucid in a nighttime dream - you realize you're the dreamer, asleep in your bed, and you can fly if you want to.

The bad news for us is that the key to this immense trick of shifting our identification from knowing ourselves as the dream character to knowing ourselves as one-with-the-Dreamer-of-Everything is that we have to assume the attitude of the Dreamer.

And if you think about it, the Dreamer's attitude to everything is that it's orgasmically deliciously perfect, it's flawless, it's loveable and it's whole in all its apparent twistedness.

3. You need to let yourself believe you're having a pre-cognition, a revelation that what you want is already done.

Okay, so that's the first big trick to magic. Profound intimacy and attention and surrender, non-judgment and non-rejection of what's already showing up. Got that down? Great. Check. Next step.

Mmmm... okay, slightly bad news again.

The next step is just as difficult and demanding on your heart and imagination!


(The Millionaire from Nazareth - a classic New Thought book by Catherine Ponder, I recommend it)

The next step is that even as you're totally loving and present with the twistedness that's already apparent, not judging it, not shaming it - you go ahead and just wildly, insanely, nonsensically, irrationally assume that your preference for how it could be different.... is already accomplished!

You see it as a done deal and express your gratitude for the doneness of the deal.

You allow yourself to experience your preference as a revelation, a prophecy, a pre-cognition of something which is inevitably already happening.

Weird magical facts about me: this is essentially how I got my book published, how I got my PhD, and how I fully healed my immensely-painful-ripped-cornea-which-was-so-damaged-that-the-best-cornea-doctor-in-the-world-told-me-my-only-hope-to-be-pain-free-was-to-have-my-eye-removed.

Wait wait now - what about hard work? What about taking massive action? Improving my productivity? Mastering my craft? Getting good medicine?

Well, you can certainly do all that stuff as a way of keeping yourself busy while the slow-ish dream moves. I did. But I'm really clear that the intuitively-received information that directed me to take the precise action steps that actually worked to bring forth these goals (in very weird, synchronistic ways) only came to me after I made the insane, irrational, internal decision that the goals were already accomplished.

But the real work is the inner energy it takes to allow yourself to experience your subjective decision as truth, to allow yourself to know that your choice of who you are and how your prefer the world to be is to be more valid, more true, more solidly done and factual than what's "objectively real."

My book is already published by a major publisher.

(except no one knows that and it isn't written yet)

I have my PhD.

(yet according to my thesis committee everything I've ever written is trash)

My eye is healed, perfectly functioning, and painless.

(except it hurts like a motherfucker, I have to wear a pirate eye patch, and the World's Foremost Cornea Specialist says I should get it plucked out of my head)

Still, whatever. My book is published by a major publisher. I have my PhD. My eye is healed. That's my irrationally chosen subjective crazy-town truth, and I'm sticking to it and basking in the glow of it. Yay, me! I'm a published PhD with healthy eyes! YAY!

And then it became objective truth. Very fast. That wasn't the Law of Attraction. That was the Law of Insane Assumption.

Sound like madness? Well, it is. The authorities of the world don't much care for that kind of imaginative madness. They're prone to burning people at stakes and hanging them up on crosses for it. So. Proceed if you're cool with that.

4. You can have everything you want - only after you stop attaching importance to it.

Here's something big: your subjective decision, your inner choice that your preference is already a done deal ("Hmmmm, I would prefer this water to be wine right now so the party can keep raging") - it will become manifest. Sometimes with stunning rapidity. The quickness of it is really only a question of how thoroughly you're identified with yourself as the dreamer. And it will only manifest if you're choosing it for the hell of it, if it's no-big-deal to you.

In other words, you can't be out to prove anything with your magic. If you're counting on the external manifestation to prove that you're rich, you're powerful, you're awesome, you're healed and healing - well, you've just kind of missed the point.

(beautiful Yvonne Elliman as Mary Magdelene and Ted Neeley again as the Holy Lamb in Jesus Christ Superstar, 1973)

The point is that there is no point. There's no point because there actually is nothing to prove. Your power and wholeness and perfection can't be proved because they're already true. You already are the dreamer of the dream. And if you're really letting yourself know that, you won't be attaching any importance at all to the manifestation of your preferences, because the dream is already orgasmically, deliciously, insanely perfect.

If you're still attached to proving something, all it means is that you're still attached to seeing yourself as the dream character, and you're anxious for the dream to prove to you that you're the dreamer. Well, it won't. It can't. Because you're dreaming the dream, and it can only prove to you what you deeply assume to be true.

And if your boring, mundane assumption is that you're a separate, anxious individual with something to prove - well, that's what it will continue to show you. Anxiety, separation, and stubborn mundane boringness.

5. Your imagination is not fluffy pointless stuff - it's the shaper of realms.

Since the truth is that you are the dreamer, your imagination - that much-derided power - is not an idle force. It's what actively shapes all that you see.

So is the greatest thing you can imagine for yourself a 4-hour work week, naps in some tropical sunshine, six-pack abs and free time spent cheating at kick-boxing competitions? (Sorry dear Tim Ferris - you're a loveable dude but it's a Luciferian gospel of linear self-improvement that you're preaching.)

If your wildest dreams center primarily on the fulfillment of stuff that would prove that you're awesome, you're okay, you're a winner - that would tend to suggest that the most you dare to hope for is to be a really kick-butt dream character.

Which is cool and everything, but I invite you to take the imagination that you have for yourself and get way bigger with it, because...

6. You can imagine yourself all the way to enlightenment.

This is what Jesus did. He just had a way, way, way bigger imagination than us and Tim Ferris.

And this is pretty much the whole point of all the tantric and dzogchen Buddhist teachings (which are considered by many to be the highest teachings in Buddhism): you imagine yourself, you emanate yourself, as an already-fully-awake-and-fully-empowered Buddha. You do this instead of imagining yourself as what Lama Thubten Yeshe calls "your ordinary self-pity emanation." Damn, Lama Yeshe, do you know me or what?

Emanate, imagine, rinse, repeat.


(Tantric Buddhist thodgal tigle - it's a particle of sparkly light that the dream of the universe is made of)

Obviously this sort of imagination-towards-total-awakening takes some high-octane focus. It's not something you day dream about once and you're done. It's something that you practice again and again, deeply, maybe for years, and along the way you encounter absolutely everything in you that's ashamed, that's demonic, that's despairing, that argues against your total awakeness and perfection and power and oneness-with-the-Dreamer.

You might, for example, hang out for 40 days in a desert meeting all these protesting parts of yourself, or you might meet them in one night while you sit under a Bodhi tree. Either way, they'll show up and you'll have to meet them, maintaining your knowing (your imagination, your pre-cognition) of the truth all the while.

That sounds way more hardcore than six-pack abs to me.

7. You have to be willing to let the objective world fall by the wayside - and walk a thin line.

I'm repeating this last point because I need to get to a full 7 list items (7 has a sexy magic allure that 6 just doesn't, wouldn't you agree?) and also because it's an important bit of this insane dimension of magic that I'm trying to emphasize to you.

It's not really possible to be both a powerful magician and to also be completely committed to objective, verifiable, consensus reality. To do magic, you have to be willing to give giant amounts of energy and attention to your subjectively-felt truth, the truth that you're huge, you're awake, you're rich, you're whole, you're healthy, you're the Dreamer of the dream.

Very few people will give you support and permission in fully inhabiting this subjective truth. The world in general is way more down with "objectivity" and "verification" and "proof." So that leaves you to take your encouragement from crazy people on the internet like me.

So, with the full force of my not-inconsiderable-craziness  - I say, do it. Inhabit your gigantic, subjective, unreasonable, irrational, nutty, beautiful truth. Allow yourself to know it as true, no matter if appearances and everyone else disagrees. And please don't forget to remain in huge, intimate, bloody, celebratory intimacy with the whole of mucky reality as you do so.


(the stunning Peter O'Toole as a mad man who believes he's a love god Jesus in The Ruling Class, 1972)

Let go. Love it all. Trust it all. Let yourself assume and know and remember that your most gorgeous dreams are already true. Feel the mad exhiliration and fulfillment of that.

Don't settle for mere Luciferian manipulation and self-improvement, please, darling soul.

A caveat: this whole bit of investing primarily in your subjective realization of your lucid magician Dreamer-ness is still a funny balancing act. Even our queer hero Jesus (who overcame death on multiple occasions, let's remember) still argued in favor of at least one part of the "you just can't avoid death and taxes" truism. He was really clear on the bit that you can definitely cheat death, and yet he also said "Render unto Cesar what is Cesar's" - meaning- well, you still gotta pay your taxes. And bills. Shucks.

If being a fully enlightened magician doesn't get me out of paying taxes and bills, what good is it anyway?

Not much, it proves nothing. And gloriously so. And with my whole-heart I want it for you. Go claim it.

Posted on July 1, 2015 .

The Nonduality of Magic

I've figured out something that not a whole lot of magic folks love to hear about. Well, the first part everyone does love to hear about. It's this: when you open your heart and mind and turn on your joy and gratitude, the universe will offer you beautiful synchronicities that fulfill your deepest desires for romance, beauty, and fun.

Excellent, right?

Yeah, except you follow the nudgings of those magical synchronicities, receive their boons, and you discover that you're not actually being lead onto Easy Peachy Street where everything is always gorgeous and your relationships are lovely and your sense of social respectability is fully unchallenged and you get a pile of diamond necklaces dumped on your doorstep ala The Secret.

diamond necklace

diamond necklace

 (The diamond necklaces you as a magic person are not about to receive at your address on Easy Peachy Street)

Instead, it's been my experience and the experience of many of the magic people I know (and friends, through the wonders of the interwebs I know them of all ages, genders, and from all locales on the planet) that those synchronous sirens of wondrousness very often perplexingly lead you not to unending Peachiness but rather into the dissolution of all your good reputation, the ending of long-held friendships, the dismantlement of your personal property, and occasionally the mad house.

Well, fuck.

Magical synchronistic fulfillment of your desires isn't sounding so rad anymore, is it?

I didn't think so.

Except, here's the thing: it is still really, really super rad.

How magic is still rad

It's super rad because even though magic doesn't lead you to Peachiness, it does lead you to the experiential awareness of truth. And that's actually the only thing we really want. I know it doesn't seem like the experiential awareness of ultimate truth is all that you really want on days when you're walking around thinking "I really want to make out with so-and-so but he / she / it doesn't like me the way I like he / she / it and all I want is some hotness in my life that so much to ask?!" but... trust me it is.


What this experiential truth is - well, that's hard to put into words. It's all gooey and truth-y, and you really need to taste it for yourself to get the gist. We can call it "nondual awakening" for short, though, since that's the current fashionable term and it's pretty handy.

Basically, it's this: "you" exist only as a feature of an undulating oneness that constantly manifests as all phenomenon, and "you" are totally not in control of anything. Not even "your" own thoughts or actions. They never were "yours" - just the ceaseless play of emptiness dancing as form.

Hey hey hey hey wait wait wait now - isn't practicing magic all about being in control? Taking hold of the reigns of one's Destiny? Digging the speeding silver spurs into the Steed of Good Fortune and riding that bucking stallion off into the Sunset of Getting What I Goddamn Want? Doesn't the end-game of this put me on an all-expense paid Carnival Alaska Cruise Ship voyage with Esther Hicks and many other nice, clean, people with money?

Not exactly.

Here's the thing: when you first start to practice magicking up synchronicity, it does feel like "you" are in more control. But that's pretty much just the universe's way of getting way massive LOLZ.



(This kitteh is an official representative of the universe and thinks you're cute)

The Tricksy Way Magic Works:

As far as I can presently tell, this is how magic works to wake us up:

1. When we (often by accident) find the astounding, synchronous, beautiful, magical fulfillment of our desires happening, we are confronted with the realization that there's an intimate relationship between our "internal" landscape of thought, imagination, and emotion and the "external" world.  We start to intuit that this world is a lot more dream-like than solid.

2. As we are confronted with this wonderful and eerie realization, we usually start trying a lot harder to decide precisely what manifests in the dream. (If you're anything like me - this means primarily: Prince Charming.)  We double-down on spells, Vision Boards, healings, visualizations, mantras, affirmations, and just about anything else we can think up that might give us a little bit more leverage over controlling what appears in the dream we're dreaming.



(Through all this Vision Board stuff I actually did succeed once in marrying a guy who - no joke - looked exactly like Prince Charming  right down to the red cape, awesome blond head of hair and sexy, sexxxy tights. Our Rustic Country Wedding in October was like a dream that Pinterest wakes up from all hot, wet, and slippery. And... our relationship produced a vortex of pain that nearly killed me. All of that lead me to take bodhisattva vows. My Prince Charming ex is now one of my dear friends -  turns out he's pretty great as a pal and listens with immense patience to my nondual ramblings - so it's all cool. And that's magic, folks!)

3. We succeed in manifesting precisely what we have asked for (whoah baby! epic winning!), and gradually discover that it creates a maddening Vortex of Pain (see above parenthetical lengthy caption regarding The Prince Charming Experiment executed by yours, truly).

4. Within this Vortex of Pain we become desperate for divine help and willing to contemplate the notion that perhaps we have absolutely no control, that maybe the universe is magicking us and not the other way around. Hmmmmmmmm.

5. Rinse, repeat - indefinitely.

6. Wake up to the reality of our nonvolitional, nondual existence. "Deeds are done but there is no do-er." - Buddha aka Dude Who Knew What Was UP.

7. Realize that you still (nonvolitionally) have a personality and want to write blog posts (throw punk shows, make video art, raise children, write songs, cook dinners, protest fascism, etc. fill in the blank). Do so. TA DA!

So, in short: yes, magic works.

Yes, conjuring your desires and following amazing synchronicities is a great idea and will ultimately lead you to just where you need to be.

And no, your ego probably will not like much of it.  At all. Yay!

Posted on February 7, 2014 and filed under Uncategorized.

TheDelight of Non-Volition

Do you think you have free will? Most of us do. It's a rather pervasive belief amongst humans, I've noticed. Well - what if you didn't? And what if that was like, super great? In my last essay I talked about sacred outlook, which is a magical practice that's reputed to very efficiently lead to enlightenment and at the very least, in my own personal experience makes life way more fun.

Sacred outlook is actually just a hop-skip-and-a-jump away from straight-up nondual perception. In Tibetan Buddhism, sacred outlook is part of the tantric path, which is one rung below the "pathless path" of nondual contemplation known as Dzogchen ("The Great Perfection").  Nondual contemplation is considered the highest, quickest, and most difficult route to awakening.

The past few weeks I've been spending a lot of time reading about Dzogchen, because - Capricorn that I am - if something is the fastest, best, and most difficult I absolutely must know all about it and do it!

Well, bummer for me - turns out traditional Dzogchen practice requires the reception of an official transmission from an enlightened guru which are in slightly short supply on the Southside of Pittsburgh where I reside.  Of course the amazing Buddha Brats folks are happy to tell you how to do naughty, naughty guru-less Dzogchen if you're into it. And I am.  Also, if you'd like to read a scholarly discussion of Dzogchen (and who wouldn't?), you should definitely check out Secret of the Vajra World by Reginald Ray.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, nondual contemplation in the Dzogchen tradition is slippery business, and I was finding it hard to get into.

The Union of Compassion and Emptiness

But while googling "the union of compassion and emptiness" (like you do) I came across this really neat, thoughtful and exhaustive site on nondual thought, A Course in Consciousness, by Stanley Sobottka, who is a bald and rather serious-looking fellow who happens to be an Emeritus Professor of Physics at the University of Virginia (i.e., not a no-good slacker hippie slouch like me and my friends who sit around giving each other half-assed explanations of quantum mechanics primarily in order to help us justify to ourselves our obscene over-use of Nag Champa and negligible interest in wage-earning).

As I read his very rich site, I discovered that Professor Sobottka (or just "Professor Stanley" as I like to affectionately think of him) is a big fan of Ramesh Balsekar, a former President of the Bank of India who became enlightened after studying a book called The Open Secret by an Irish aristocrat who went by the somewhat silly-sounding (for an old white dude) nom de plume of Wei Wu Wei.

I swear, you can't make this stuff up. It's too funny. Divine consciousness has a really goofy sense of humor.

But right now I'm just about gushing with enthusiasm for the perceptive reading of The Heart Sutra (my favorite!) that Mr. Wei Wu Wei offered in The Open Secret.



 ("Therefore Prajnaparamita is the Great Magic Spell, the Spell of Illumination, the Supreme Spell, Which Can Truly Protect One from All Suffering Without Fail")

What I find really compelling about The Open Secret, and what Mr. Ramesh Balsekar and subsequently our pal Professor Stanley must have found really compelling - is the doorway to nondual contemplation that's opened with the very simple and radical idea that we actually have no free will, and thus no responsibility or control over our thoughts and actions.

I know that I've heard this idea expressed before - but for some reason this week it's hit me at a great depth and I just about can't think of anything else. Or rather, I'm not thinking about it. I'm being thought.

Now the notion that we have no responsibility, control, volition or free will may at first glance just sound scary, creepy, or like another hippie excuse for not working and burning a lot of Nag Champa.

The thing is - the more I reflect on it, the more I find that my own personal sense of volition and responsibility doesn't really bring me anything other than guilt, pride, and anxiety - i.e., suffering.

And of course - when I'm suffering, I'm way more likely to shirk work, act bitchy to self and others, and generally be a jerk.

So weirdly, the more I relax into the notion that I'm not an independent, separate volitional individual but rather just  a choiceless wave in the ocean of the universe whose thoughts, decisions, actions, and perception occurs without any will of my own - the more I notice myself becoming cheerful, kind, and productive.

I know this sounds paradoxical.

I was a teenage junkie

It's a paradox that I'm familiar with from my years in 12 step recovery groups.  You see, at one point in my tender young life I spent a lot of time shooting heroin.

These days I'm mostly so goody-two shoes and wholesome that no one would suspect it of me, but yes, friends - I was teenage junkie. And no, it was not as fun or glamorous as it sounds.

The thing about my shooting heroin was this:  as long as I told myself that I had any choice in the matter - that I could stop when I wanted to - that I could use less - that "I" was in anyway in charge of my substance use - well, the less capable of stopping I was. It was almost as if my thought that I had choice in the matter kept me hideously stuck.



The first step in 12 Step Recovery programs is "We admitted we were powerless over [fill in the blank - alcohol, addiction, over-eating, emotions, codependence, sexual acting out, gambling, debting, etc. etc. etc.] and that our lives had become unmanageable."

So finally when I was beat-up enough by my addiction to be willing to accept spiritual instruction from chain-smoking yinzers in church basements, I accepted that I actually had no choice about my addiction, and no control. I couldn't stop, I couldn't use less, I was not in charge, I had no way to halt myself and would just keep using until it killed me.



 (This is an illustrative sample image of a chain-smoking yinzer, in case you do not have the great good fortune to be from Pittsburgh and have not encountered this phenomenon)

Basically, I admitted that I was really and truly fucked.

My only hope was that something a lot more powerful and benevolent than my own will and choice (something known as a "Higher Power," or, more generally, "God") would be so kind as to cosmically intervene and stop me from doping myself to death.

As it turned out, this Higher Power did indeed intervene - and I stopped getting high. But it was immensely evident to me that it was not "me" who got myself clean. "Me" was an idiot who relentlessly and compulsively sought drugs every day of her life even when she knew she wanted to stop and hated herself and what she had done to her life. "Me" was not capable through her own will of going two hours without a hit, let alone going through withdrawal, attending meetings, and talking to a sponsor.

However, when I admitted the totally screwed uselessness of the "me" - i.e., that I had no choice in the matter of my using - that admission was enough to open the way for a Higher Power to come in and take over and make my life much, much better than I was making it.

I'm pretty happy that I don't exist

With the help of this Higher Power thing, I've been clean for almost 10 years now.

So having had this rather dramatic experience of how admitting my powerlessness and volitionless-ness actually made my life way way way way better, it's not too hard for me to understand that the more I'm willing to generalize this state of non-control, probably the better my life can get.

I begin to detect that the sense that I have any control or volition AT ALL is itself the core of the disease of addiction - because as long as I imagine I have control, I usually am constantly "proving" to myself how very in charge of my experience I am by seeking to maximize my pleasure and minimize my pain in life.

And, clever dove that I am, I can find ways to maximize my pleasure with career success, drugs, cigarettes, alcohol, cookies, men, money, accomplishment, shopping, self-righteousness and just about anything else that can ring my neurochemical bell. None of which are bad in themselves - but all of which get to be pretty whack when I attack them with my self-will.

This compulsive seeking to maximize pleasure and minimize pain is what the Buddha called "attachment" or "clinging" and told us was the source of all suffering.

Meanwhile, when I let go of the illusion that "I" am in charge of my thoughts or actions, this compulsive pleasure-seeking and all its accompanying guilt and anxiety falls away. Hence, it becomes a lot more easy to accept the simple joys and pains of the present moment. As a bonus, all the jerk stuff I do to get my own way and all the damage I do to my health falls away, too.

So, ironically - the less I believe myself to be in charge of my own thoughts, decisions, and actions, the more kindly and "responsibly" I behave.

Perhaps this is because to be "responsible" is to be "able to respond" - and when I'm not in the delusion that I'm a separate ego, this bodymind that I am is able to respond a lot more efficiently to the unfolding happenings of the world.

Posted on February 6, 2014 and filed under Uncategorized.

Sacred Outlook - a key magical practice



So lately (and throughout my life) I'm pretty well obsessed with sacred outlook, also known as pure perception or true perception. I've begun to believe that it's the cornerstone of magic and living an awesome life. Sacred outlook can sound rather saccharine or silly at first. It's the practice of "pretending" that every circumstance and every person you meet with is wholly divine, wise, pure, loving, and worthy of  huge gratitude and receptive reverence.  Of course most of the time we don't automatically perceive the vast majority of situations and people in our lives this way.

(image from The Dalai Lama's Secret Temple: Tantric Wall Paintings from Tibet. Tibetan tantra emphasizes Sacred Outlook as a means of spiritual evolution)

For example, my automatic perception setting is to look around and see circumstances ranging from the numbingly mundane to the excruciatingly tragic, and people ranging from the fairly cool to the totally annoying.

Yet the weird joke is that after you practice celebrating everyone you meet as a profoundly wise divinity whose every word is precious and encountering every situation as a joyous boon for a few weeks, you start to discover something very alarming: you're not really pretending anymore that everything is way wonderful.

You're actually directly, effortlessly perceiving that everything is way wonderful.

And this, friends, is very, very trippy.

Let me be clear: just because you're practicing sacred outlook doesn't mean that all the shitty things that go on in the world halt.  There's still war and rape and abuse and economic inequity and environmental devastation.  That all still exists.  What changes is that you start to perceive the fundamental goodness in everyone's heart and in your own heart - and that goodness becomes WAY BRIGHTER than all the awful stuff.

And soon you start to see that all the awful stuff (war, rape, abuse, economic inequity, environmental devastation, on and on) is just what people do when they're allowing their own confusion to keep them from seeing the fundamental, astoundingly gorgeous and wise goodness in their own heart and in everyone else's.

So everywhere you look, in every situation you see - you no longer see boring, wretched people and situations that merit your rejection or indifference. Instead, you see loving, amazing people and situations (sometimes caught up in sad confusion) that merit your admiration and engaged compassion.

So you're seeing the actual wonderfulness that was present all along, but which had previously been obscured by your judging and resisting ego-mind.

It even begins to dawn on you that your very willingness to perceive the marvels in every person and every situation is actively helping to draw those marvels out.  In other words, your showing up with an open heart and open mind is an actively positive choice that lets people feel comfortable enough to drop their defenses and be more rad with you.

The three traditions I'm aware of which give the most emphasis to the practice of sacred outlook as a path of spiritual advancement are Vajrayana (aka tantric) Buddhism, Sufism, and nondual Christianity ala A Course in Miracles.  You can find out more about all of these on the tantric resources page.

All of these traditions propose that sacred outlook is a rapid path to realization.  As I've experimented with it over the years, I've found that to be true. The times I've put the most energy into cultivating sacred outlook, I've actually felt my center of felt perception shift from my brain to my heart.  Scientifically speaking, it seems that I begin to experience the world with a lot more mellow and cuddly oxytocin kind of feelings and a lot less demanding, addictive dopamine-seeking kind of feelings.

A bit about me, Carolyn Elliott

coach magical, creative people to live turned-on, ecstatic lives rich with genius and electricity.  I’m the author of Awaken Your Genius: A Seven-Step Path to Feeing Your Creativity and Manifesting You Dreams (North Atlantic / Random House).  I also lead the Outlaw Court, a secret Facebook group where outlaws are hugely supported in rocking their magic and bringing their Things into the world – if you’re magic and you know it, you’re welcome to to join the Outlaw Court.

Posted on February 4, 2014 and filed under Uncategorized.

Reveling in How Very Awful Everything Is

So, there's this tender, sad spot in your heart. And there's something torturing that tender spot with the brutal precision of a dental drill. There's a maniacal, high-pitched whine and the scent of burning bone in the air all around you.  It fucking hurts. You're in pain. The kind  of smoldering pain that plunges to the forefront of your consciousness all of the other incredibly shitty times that you felt shredded by life. You've been disappointed, abandoned, rejected.  You've failed.  You don't look cool, you don't look good. At all.

You're tired and smelly and needy and covered with snot.

It's wretched, I know.

For the last month I've been getting wheedled by that dental drill.  I've attained epic heights of self-pity  - vast vistas of inconsolable angst. The kind of angst possibly known only to you, me, Kafka, Charlie Brown, and Morrissey.




The thing that I keep having to realize about this angst every time it wells up in me is the same: this is my big chance for freedom and power.

The opportunity to get free and powerful doesn't come when everything is going the way I want it to.  It doesn't come when I'm riding high and all forces are appropriately and neatly lining up in a manner that fully suits my vanity and readily feeds my hunger.

It's actually only when I'm feeling massively fucked up and low that the chance to dramatically alter my consciousness really kicks in.  Because when life is unfolding in a fashion that doesn't feel remotely comfortable, that's when I have the opportunity to learn to get off on the discomfort.

So I've chosen to revel in how very awful everything is. And I don't mean to wallow in it.  I mean to actually practice wildly enjoying things just as they are, in all of their amazing suck.

And oh my god, they suck.

I've chosen this because I know deep within myself that what I want most is actually not to be safe and protected.  I don't truly want to have everyone and everything follow my rules all the time and thereby never disappoint, frustrate, or offend me.  That would be boring.

What I want to know that I'm huge and free and strong enough to learn to get really turned on by reality and other people doing exactly what they do.

Namely - disappoint, frustrate, and offend me.

I want this because I want to experience myself outside the bounds of my conditioned identity and attachments. I want to feel the boundless, pulsing love of my own nature, touching me and touching everyone without limit, discrimination, or refusal.

And as I settle into that revelry I can feel warmth and openness moving into my chest where previously just the dental drill was whirring.

A bit about me, Carolyn Elliott

coach magical, creative people to live turned-on, ecstatic lives rich with genius and electricity.  I’m the author of Awaken Your Genius: A Seven-Step Path to Feeing Your Creativity and Manifesting You Dreams (North Atlantic / Random House).  I also lead the Outlaw Court, a secret Facebook group where outlaws are hugely supported in rocking their magic and bringing their Things into the world – if you’re magic and you know it, you’re welcome to to join the Outlaw Court.



Posted on November 5, 2013 and filed under Uncategorized.

Outlaw Magic 101

Outlaw magic is electricity, sublimity, grandeur.  It's the fire of god, the breath of life, the orgasm of the universe. It's the magnetism of non-attachment which is fully engaged at the same time that it's fully non-grasping. Red_tara_01d-210

(This is Red Tara, the Buddha of Awake Desire - she's fully non-attached and fully magnetic - an archetypal Outlaw)

To touch it, you only have to do the hardest thing in the world.  To wield it, you only have to surrender. To let it course through you, you only have to die.

You have to die to the finite game you're playing with such great seriousness: the fight for security and comfort and the approval of others. You have to drop the story you've got about how you're out to prove something.

No matter if you win or lose in that finite game - no matter if you end up with your security and your comfort and your respectability - you've lost as long as you've taken it seriously.

You've lost because the seriousness crushes everything true in you.  It either inflates you or it deflates you.  But either way you're sunk. The most inflated finite player in the world is still not free, she's bound by the game she's attached herself to.

Because she's not free, the finite player is empty of passion.  Passion is the province of the free.  To be impassioned, you have to touch other people and liberate them.  You can't liberate anyone if you're regarding everyone as a competitor in the game.  The intimacy of touch requires total unconcealment.  Unconcealment is the one thing that the finite player cannot afford, because it kills her seriousness and wakes her up out of the game.

To be serious means you suffer if it looks like you're losing, and you exalt if it looks like you're winning. To play the finite game with seriousness means you try to make finite ends mean infinite things like approval and love.  It means to place limits on approval and love, to constrain them.

"I will only approve of this world and myself and everyone else when I succeed in getting this specific finite thing," is the unspoken rule of the serious finite player.

The outlaw is an outlaw because she's stopped playing the finite game with any seriousness.  She's outside of its rules, outside of its laws.

The outlaw decides to give herself total approval at all times.  She decides to regard herself as already having won in life, no matter what her circumstances look like, no matter how other people respond to her.

No one gave her the authority to do this.  No one can give her that authority.  She gave it to herself, because she fucking felt like it. Because she noticed that no one else was doing it. Except for maybe the power that runs the universe.

And a strange thing happens in that decision to be in approval of herself without condition: she gets free.

And her freedom is magnetic.

In all of her interactions with people - whether she's selling something or flirting or nurturing or arguing or teaching or dancing - there's a ringing clarity and ease.

The clarity is the absence of a covert agenda.  She's no longer asking for validation in anything she does.

This means that when she asks for something she's always asking cleanly and directly: for money, for attention, for sex, for surrender, for truth, for fun.

She's not secretly pulling for you to be in approval of her right to ask, of her right to her desire. She fucking doesn't care because she already fully approves of her right to ask and her right to desire.

Outlaw magic kicks into high gear the moment you decide that your's and everyone's liberation is more important to you than winning, looking good, or being comfortable. It's the magnetism of non-attachment and the freedom to be present in each moment without a secret agenda.

To access the magnetism of non-attachment, you have to first forgive yourself for how very very attached you've been. Forgive yourself for how much you've made yourself suffer over your finite games, and how you've used that suffering to hurt and disconnect and distance yourself from others.

When you forgive the attachment and suffering in yourself, you forgive it in all of us. And we need that. We need you to be able to see us struggling and deluded and lashing out in pain and anger or hiding in cowardice and fear and for you to stand in the presence of your freedom, regarding us with tremendous love, knowing the truth that we're also utterly free.

Outlaw magic is the ability to be playful with your darkness and terror and with ours.  It's the willingness to cast off the tyranny of our judging and alienating egos and to step into the throbbing electric current that links us all, all the time.


When you're standing wide-open in that current, strange and wonderful things happen.  People are dramatically changed by their encounters with you and you with them.

You wind up in far-flung corners of the earth or in fascinating nooks of your own hometown that you've never seen before - and you discover that miracles are in progress there: a man in a brocade coat with a high collar is playing a guitar, the full moon is pulsing, oil is being poured into your hands, children are inventing new languages.  The world is unfolding in its fullest imagination of itself, alive and weird.

You don't control the electric current of outlaw magic- but it asks for your participation.  You play it out, you dance with it, you move, you fall flat on your face. It hurts, you're bloodied - and you get up and go into the dance again.

A bit about me, Carolyn Elliott

coach magical, creative people to live turned-on, ecstatic lives rich with genius and electricity.  I’m the author of Awaken Your Genius: A Seven-Step Path to Feeing Your Creativity and Manifesting You Dreams (North Atlantic / Random House).  I also lead the Outlaw Court, a secret Facebook group where outlaws are hugely supported in rocking their magic and bringing their Things into the world – if you’re magic and you know it, you’re welcome to to join the Outlaw Court.













Posted on November 2, 2013 and filed under Uncategorized.

Your Magic is Your Eros is the Spark of Revolution: on Russell Brand, Nonduality and Genius


(Still shot from the video for a great anthem of revolutionary Eros - "No Church in the Wild")

The highly wicked and wonderful  Russell Brand reminded me of something the other day in his most recent interview. Namely, that the revolution has to come and that we're responsible for creating it.


The revolution has to come, Mr. Brand rightly explains, because our world of enforced alienation is absolutely non-sustainable, and not in accord with anything that's actually true in anyone's heart or real desire.

Like, who the fuck wakes up in the morning thinking, "Wow, I really hope everything about our society stays exactly as it is so I can continue to be degraded by corporations every day, forced to be a wage slave, and constantly encouraged to feel separate from and in competition with my fellow human beings."

The truth is, none of us want the world as it's presently structured. We don't want alienation and disconnection and debt and property.  We want to be with each other and love each other and eat actual food and live in actual houses and fuck and raise children and make music and dance and do work that enhances our community's well-being rather than the profit margins of a company.

As a magician, I'm also a revolutionary anarchist. And you are too. Whether you know it or not. Whether you give a fig for politics or not.

What the practice of desire-fueled magic (i.e., tantra, alchemy) eventually leads to is the dissolution of dualistic perception and the falling away of all conceptual stories.  This happens in your own mind and in the minds of those around you who are inevitably opened by your liberation.

Which is to say, your magic is what happens when you surrender enough to allow your eros to lead you outside of your societally conditioned identity - and this process ultimately leads to you entering a condition of nondual perception.  As more people enter their eros this way and come closer to the perception of this nonduality eventually the story of private property and the global corporatist state that supports it will have to dissolve.

Our whole society is built around the protection of the dualistic fiction of private property. The fiction of private property is the idea that people can "own" things beyond what they can personally use - vast tracks of land, giant houses with empty rooms, factories, huge piles of money.  It's a fiction that creates intense alienation and enormous wealth disparity.

I say that private property is a dualistic fiction because ownership literally is the story that someone has a right to the exclusive, sovereign use of something - and, as fictions do, this story has to be perpetually remembered and re-told in order to stay "real" - it requires record-keeping to document the past in which ownership commenced.

Without the story of a past in which the property in question was "secured" into the ownership of a specific someone through inheritance or purchase, there can be no property - only the thing in itself - the house, the land, the factory - just standing there, free in itself, belonging to no one.

All belonging, all ownership is a story. It's not real. And because it's not real, it requires perpetual force to be maintained.

Basic, self-evident facts don't require the threat of violence for their protection. No one ever went to war over the notion that the sky is blue. Stories, however, do require such protection, precisely because they have no actual reality.

So the state exists to protect the fiction of private property.  If you try to go farm on the lawn of a rich person's estate, odds are awesome that they'll have the police forcibly remove you. Likewise if you try camping with a few hundred of your friends in a city park, or squatting to reclaim empty buildings for community use.  You can expect tear gas, handcuffs and rubber bullets.

Basically, the current suck-ass state of the world is created by a fear-fueled sort of black magic.  

And I'm not talking about black magic that's done by a secret society of Reptilian Illuminati Overlords.  I'm talking about the spells that are openly and perpetually cast by capitalism and the state and its media which enforce the notion that people are separate from one another and that it's possible for some to benefit while others suffer.

All of us in this world are subject to these spells. And they're not new either.  They were around in Jesus' time, and so common that he just called this nexus of fear-fueled black magic "the world" - he liked to contrast the world with "the kingdom of heaven" - the nondualistic state of perception in which nothing is owned or limited.

Magic (the good kind) happens when we allow our desire (the wish to be connected, no matter what, no matter how much it hurts to feel other people and let ourselves be felt) to be larger and stronger than our fear (the wish to be separate and protected).  It grows when we continually act on our desire instead of on our fear.

This is a bit confusing because often when people talk about their "desires" they're not really describing their desires at all. They're describing the things their fear tells them that they need to get and keep in order to be safe.  Private property was a story that was invented to help people feel safe, to help them believe that they could hold onto things.

Except they can't. And when they try to, it just fucks everything up for everyone. The people who own the private property are screwed just as much as the people who are left in poverty - they're screwed because they're having their false sense of separation from others enforced.

Jesus said it was easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven, because once someone is rich with property they become not so keen on the idea of accepting the nondual reality of the kingdom of heaven. Dualism and alienation starts to look awful cozy to them, because they're "winning" at it.  Of course they're not winning, though, because they're living from their egos and stories rather than from surrender to the living truth.

Real magic begins when we make the heroic decision to stop using stories to deny and hide from the radical non-safety of our existence and all the intensity of sensation that comes along with it (no one gets out of this world painlessly or alive, have you noticed?).

In making this decision to accept uncertainty, we start to drop our efforts to stay secure and separate. We stop holding on so hard to our possessions, in part because we stop holding on so hard to the story of our past and our future. We drop rules and boundaries in our relationships. We become more open, malleable, fluid, vulnerable. This is massively uncomfortable. We have our hearts broken and our hopes dashed ten thousand times a day. And we start to like it.

We start to like it because the willingness to embrace of the total uncertainty and groundlessness of our being is actually the only real security there is in this world. 

It puts us into the heart of our genius, our irreducible originality and responsiveness to reality- the intensely erotic, playful being that's spontaneously there when we stop being concerned with winning or losing in the finite games of property, reputation, and possession.

Russell Brand himself looks to me like a fine example of what this kind of empowered, erotic, spontaneous, and responsive genius looks like in action. It seems to me that a good deal of his own power comes from his willingness to play in that radical uncertainty and connection with other human beings as human beings.

For evidence of this, I offer you Russell's June 2013 interview on MSNBC - wherein he wrapped every one of the talking heads present around his little finger merely by staying present and human in a room full of people trying really hard to be corporate automatons.


My mind often flips through the options available to me to spark a revolution.  I often think of civil disobedience, but civil disobedience has its limits.  It can be readily squashed by cops in riot gear, as we saw with the Occupy Movement.

The kind of revolution that's a lot more difficult to squash is a ton of people no longer willing to play at life from a place of fear and self-protection but rather from dauntless desire to experience the reality of our radical non-security and our total connectedness.

And of course, it's also quite possible that if we all began living much more potently from this place of desire and dauntlessness, we might be a hell of a lot more disobedient, No Church in the Wild-style.

"I live by you, desire I stand by you, walk through the fire Your love is my scripture Let me into your encryption."









Posted on October 28, 2013 and filed under Uncategorized.

Orgasmic Heart, Bodhisattva Heart

The text I received the other day from a man I'd recently fallen in love with read like a cross between an aphorism by the medieval mystic Meister Eckhart and a darkly erotic Angela Carter novel. I mean, the passage was truly harrowing: it melded transcendent sexual ecstasy with rending, St. Sebastian-style torture.


 (This is St. Sebastian, being pierced with arrows by naughty, naughty Romans)

All of this would have been just unequivocally, mouth-wateringly grand, except that the text was about an experience he had had with another woman. An experience which happened the very same night I left his vicinity following a long and cuddly weekend in California where both of us are training to be Orgasmic Meditation leaders and coaches.


 ("Hey guys, that was pretty hot - can we do it again?" This is St. Sebastian, after being pierced with arrows by naughty, naughty Romans.)

It really fucked me up to read that text, but the English professor in me couldn't help  appreciate the writing. "Wow, that's such solid use of dynamic sentence fragments for emotional emphasis," I marveled while my heart convulsively froze and grief stabbed my stomach.

I had agreed to an open relationship. I knew for certain something like this was coming. I just hadn't thought it would come so soon, or with such stellar active verb use and riveting adjectives.

I burst into tears. "Fuck this, fuck Orgasmic Meditation and fuck this stupid orgasmically-charged polyamory, fuck fuck fuck my life. God, this is so stupid. Fuck fuck fuck fuck why do I do this to myself?"

I called my mother.  She verified for me that polyamory was fucking stupid, that the man I had just fallen in love with was just another confused asshole (NOTE: my mother swears more than me, which is a pretty impressive feat), and I should just find a regular guy in Pittsburgh who was just MY boyfriend and not the boyfriend of 90% of the female population of California (and by the way FUCK CALIFORNIA) and then I should just get married and not have to do all this idiotic running around.

All of which sounds pretty cool, except I had tried getting married last year and it blew up in my face in a manner not unlike the flesh-melting fire-bombing of Dresden.

So then, upon having conclusively seen that all life and love were both meaningless, futile and impossible, I fell into one of my depressions.

While in my depressive state (which feels a lot like being smothered by musty moth-eaten burlap while being repeatedly kicked in the gut) I remembered that the one thing that really helped me cheer up after the excoriating pain of my failed marriage was my decision to dedicate my life to the well-fare and liberation of all beings instead of to the glorification of the Carolyn Ego Monster.

It just so happens that there really is nothing more on this planet that the Carolyn Ego Monster feeds on than her ideal of monogamous couplehood.  I know it's a perversion of something that should be beautiful and that lots of people do monogamy without it being a bizarro Ego Kink.  And the honest truth is that somewhere deep within the shadowy circuiting of my brain is something that gets a much-too-immense high off of fulfilling the conventional heteronormative couple archetype and being special.

The problem with my specialness is that it's a pleasure that by definition is not available to all other sentient beings.  My specialness means other people have to be lame or boring or not-worth-loving by contrast.

So what my new lover had done with his very well-written gothic text was jam a spike straight into the somehow still-beating vampire heart of my Ego Monster.

Because if he can have such a blood-curdling fine time with another lady - well, what does that mean about me?

It means three Very Horrible Things I don't like to confront:

1)  My pussy is not the sole extant Fount of the Nectar of the Eternal Feminine in this world.

2) People other than me are also very wonderful.

3) I'm not in absolute control of the universe and all creatures and happenings within it.

Damn it fuck.

Trevi Fountain (1)

 (The Trevi Fountain in Rome: having the gall to seriously rival me as an Eternal Fount)

The option of course remains available to me to say "Screw you guys, I'm goin' home."


And I also notice that it's kind of boring to play that way.  In other words, Eric Cartman's wisdom is probably not the best guiding light for my life.

So I sat for a time in meditation on my bodhisattva vow and saw that what came up for me in relation to wanting to be special to this man I love was ironically a sense of wanting to avoid connection.

  • Wanting to avoid connection with the other women in his life and all their hearts and histories and joys and traumas and beauties and losses.
  • Wanting to avoid connection with the parts of him that are fully capable in taking delight in those women or being tortured by them.
  • Wanting to avoid connection with the parts of myself that feel insecure and non-utterly-captivatingly-fabulous.
  • Wanting to avoid sharing my own orgasmic and emotional energy with many people.

And it just so happens - avoidance of connection is the main thing a bodhisattva renounces.

The Tibetan word for the bodhisattva's compassionate commitment to free herself so she can be of maximum benefits to others  is bodhicitta.  Bodhicitta literally means "the heart of awakening," and in Mahayana Buddhism it's considered the most precious and beneficial attitude a person can possibly have.

In Tantric Buddhist texts that give instructions for how the bodhisattva can liberate herself in one lifetime rather than in countless aeons (the amount of time that non-tantric paths to liberation are said to take), the term bodhicitta still means the heart of awakening - and it also comes to be synonymous with what's usually known as kundalini or tummo, the fiery, electrical sexual-spiritual energy of the body.

So the tantric bodhisattva's bodhicitta is boundless love and it's also boundless orgasm. Orgasmic Meditation helps me cultivate that boundless orgasm, and there's an adage in the practice that to me seems supremely relevant to the bodhisattva way of life - "stay connected, no matter what."

The compassionate desire of the heart is actually identical with the fully unleashed desire of eros - they both want unfettered connection, limitless love.  They're both without preferences, sluttishly indiscriminate in their gifts.

You're not really dedicated to the liberation of all beings unless you're willing to give everything for their happiness - your glories and your loved ones and you heart and you blood and your guts and your sex and your respectable reputation.

The heart without orgasm fueling it has a fine reputation but it's a rather dry and saccharine thing. It smells kind of like the inside of a Hallmark Store. It's dusty potpourri and porcelain knick-knacks no one wants.

There's a reason Jesus hung out with prostitutes, kicked over tables in temples like a raging bad-ass and was always summoning up wine and food to fuel wild parties. The reason was that he had a seriously orgasmic, super-charged bodhisattva heart.


 (Orgasmic hearts look like this. Probably science will soon agree.)

The job of realizing the identity of passion and compassion and unleashing them within oneself to move in aligned action in the world is basically the work of awakening in one lifetime.  It's the creation of the philosopher's stone, the fulfillment of the Great Work of alchemy.

The great tantric bodhisattvas of Tibet, in other words, did not sit around bitching to their mothers that this guy they really, really like slept with someone else.

So I sat there doing tonglen, becoming willing to take in all that horrible connection with all those messy people and their love and their desire and problems and take it all the way, breathing it all in.

And as I did that, I felt much lighter and happier - and it occurred to me that probably the reason all my past monogamous, conventional relationships went so awry is that I was actually unconsciously using them to avoid connection.

Hmmmmm. Probably people who have sane and happy monogamous relationships don't do that.

In other words, I'm personally not capable of happy monogamy or happy polyamory or really much of happy anything unless I am fully and utterly willing to be always in the orgasmic bodhisattva heart of connection, with all its messes and tears and pain and pleasure and - ugh - other people.

In other words, I'm an infinite player - and I crush a lot.

So I love these words of the philosopher James P. Carse in his book Finite and Infinite Games:

"Sexuality is not a bounded phenomenon but a horizontal phenomenon for infinite players. One can never say, therefore, that an infinite player is homosexual, or heterosexual, or celibate, or adulterous, or faithful - because each of these definitions has to do with boundaries, with circumscribed areas and styles of play. Infinite players do not play within sexual boundaries, but with sexual boundaries. They are concerned not with power but with vision.

In their sexual play they suffer others, allow them to be as they are. Suffering others, they open themselves. Open, they learn both about others and about themselves. Learning, they grow. What they learn is not about sexuality, but how to be more completely and originally themselves, to be the genius of their own actions, to be whole."

To suffer and to be suffered in the touch of our glory and our ache - I can't really think of anything more kind. So I'm still in the game.

A bit about me, Carolyn Elliott

I coach magical, creative people to live turned-on, ecstatic lives full of genius and challenge.  I’m the author of Awaken Your Genius: A Seven-Step Path to Feeing Your Creativity and Manifesting You Dreams (North Atlantic / Random House).  I also lead the Outlaw Court, a secret Facebook group where magical people are hugely supported in bringing their Things into the world – if you’re magic and you know it, you’re welcome to apply to join the Outlaw Court.










Posted on October 22, 2013 and filed under Uncategorized.

3 Magic Ways to Wake Up Your Genius

Look, you already have a fuck ton of genius. You genius is the disruptive, volatile, erotic force of evolution within you and within every human being.  It’s your original, irreducible power. It just doesn’t give a hot damn about your comfort, so you usually suppress it to stay cozy.

Honestly, it’s likely that the very last thing your ego truly wants to do is wake up your genius. Because that shit is scary.

The only reason your genius isn't fully awake and active right this minute is because of your fear. And your fear is pretty damn sensible.

It's sensible because your genius will devour everything in your present life and self-image only to lift its blood-smeared face from your steaming entrails and lick its lips, wide-eyed, howling for more.


 (This is what your genius looks like. It's a daimon. It will fuck you up. And you'll like it.)

And you’ll want to give it more. And you know that.

You know that giving all of  yourself to  your genius will be glorious and also utterly terrifying.

Most of us actually go to great lengths to avoid waking up our genius and having it eat us alive. We snuggle up into stale relationships, boring jobs, well-rehearsed social roles.

We find ways to numb ourselves out (over-eating, cigarettes, obessesive relationships, over-work and over-consumption are popular American choices) and go through our lives like we’re sleep-walking.

It’s fairly nice – except it kills us inside.  So millions of people end up depressed – feeling flat and stuck and low.

Depression is a real and awful thing – and as far as I can tell, it’s also mostly a symptom of suppressed genius.

Still with me? Okay. If you really want to wake your genius up – what follows are the basics that you need to know.

Each one of them is a magical practice that draws on the resources of your imagination and heart and energy to re-create your fundamental experience of life.  Because that’s the most genius thing you can do.

1. Dream Yourself Awake

Dreaming Yourself Awake means:

a) Spending time each day committing to becoming fully awake so you can awaken all other beings from their suffering – and…

b) Vividly imagining that you’re already a fully-compassionate, aware, wise, ecstatic, radiant and empowered being.

After you practice committing to wake everyone up out of their suffering and visualizing yourself as an already totally realized creature you get up off of your meditation cushion or couch, and proceed through your daily life acting “as if” you indeed already are this utterly amazing, luminous being.

This work is based on ancient practice called Deity Yoga.

Deity Yoga found its fullest flourishing in Tibetan Tantric Buddhism, where practicioners devote time every day to imagining themselves as already-awakened Buddhas.  In Tibet, they say that this practice is the key to attaining full enlightenment in one lifetime.

The practice works because it draws on the innate power of your imagination to activate the creative force within you. What you vividly imagine, you gradually become.

Most of us vividly imagine ourselves each day in the same way – as boring little mortals of limited resources, full of resentments and self-pity, struggling each day to get what we need.

As long as you keep unconsciously projecting that limited imagination of yourself, that’s what the world will reflect back to you, and that’s all you will know yourself to be.

As you begin consciously projecting an imagination of yourself as utterly empowered, magic, awake, and loving, overtime the world will reflect that gorgeousness back to you, and that’s what you’ll know yourself to be.

It’s very simple.

And you don’t have to believe me.  Just try it for thirty days and notice what happens.

Also, pay attention to how much it scares you to realize your thoughts and imaginations have that much dramatic influence over your experience of life.

Discover how you stop behaving in ways that ensure that you gather the approval of everyone around you and instead start behaving in ways that challenge their comfort and champion their freedom.

Take note of how completely disturbing that is.


(This is Red Tara, the Buddhist embodiment of Awake Desire - she's the deity I practice this work with. Isn't she hot?)

2. Love Everyone (yeah, including those bastards)

Loving everyone is key to waking up your genius because resentment and fear and alienation are what keep your genius chained-up and asleep.  They’re the stultifying drugs of smallness and boringness.

I know loving everyone sounds all cuddly and sugary, but really it’s just about the grittiest, nastiest, most painful thing you can do.

It involves confronting every single place inside of yourself that you prefer to stay bitter, fearful, separate and selfish – and pushing beyond that into wishing freedom and joy for every last person who’s ever hurt you or could ever hurt you.

In other words, it’s agonizing.

And it also ultimately feels really, really super awesome.  Like giant, perpetual hits of free and legal Ecstasy flooding your brain with oxytocin and dopamine all the time kind of awesome.

The practice of loving everyone is also a daily work.  It’s based on another very old form of Buddhist contemplation called Metta Cultivation.

Metta is the Pali word for “fat with friendship.”  It’s a kind of love that’s not grasping or controlling but instead just saturated with endlessly flowing, non-conditional goodwill.

Metta entails simply vividly imagining and wishing for the happiness of yourself and others.  Isn’t that a solid, succinct definition of love?

Metta is not a promise to always like everyone or indulge all their whims – it’s a commitment just to relentlessly wish them well-being and happiness.

You may be thinking to yourself “oh, I already wish well for everyone” – but do you really?

Do you really and truly wish for your former friend who disrespected you dramatically and betrayed your trust?

What about that person who traumatized you when you were growing up?

Do you really want them to enjoy unstoppable waves of gigantic bliss and fulfillment now and forever?

Yeah. So. Until you do, baby, your metta is weak stuff.

Metta is traditionally considered one of the four “Boundless Thoughts” or Brahmaviharas (the others are karuna – compassion, mudita – sympathetic joy, and upekkha – equanimity).

The Brahmaviharas are literally “the God-Realms.”  They’re boundless thoughts because they embrace all beings equally without limit or duality, and they’re the sort of thoughts that divinities think.

All of the Brahmaviharas are tremendously valuable and important – and metta is the foundation for all of them.

It’s possible to consider Metta Cultivation to be another aspect of Dreaming Yourself Awake. It’s another way to practice being and thinking like a God or a Buddha or an Angel or whatever you would like to call it.


(No really. Love everyone. Especially those jerks. You know who I mean.)


In Metta practice, you take time to visualize first yourself, then a friend, then a person you feel indifferent about, then an enemy looking and feeling utterly ecstatically joyful and free, surrounded by wonderful intimate connection, surrounded by beauty.

The first few weeks of Metta Cultivation are usually profoundly annoying.  You bring to mind your coworker who pissed you off, and you discover that you really don’t want to imagine them glowing with happiness, you’d rather imagine them fired and miserable and full of regret that they were ever rude to you.


Then you keep at it – and overtime you find out that there’s something weird and super-energetic inside you that honestly would prefer to see everyone you know – including the jerks – totally bonkers with fulfillment and joy.

Odd as it sounds, you find out that you actually are the kind of great person that you were always just sort of half-assedly pretending to be.

And that weird, super-energetic, profoundly unpredictable and yet oddly benevolent thing inside you is your genius.  And you’re feeding it love.  And it’s waking up.

Now watch the hell out.

Because the more love you have radiating from within you, the more difficult it will be for people who are afraid of being loved to relate to you.

You might find yourself spontaneously dancing with joy, running up to people and hugging them, staying up all night to compose a song or paint a portrait.

Lots of people you know won’t much care for this new, ebullient and boundlessly creative you.  And in the past you would have let their disapproval get you down and shut you up.

But now you don’t really care because you just love them sooooooooo much.

I mean, they even look cute to you while they’re standing there grimacing at you.

3. Don’t Hide

At its most basic level, Don’t Hide means stay in connection with the world. Stay in connection with the people you love even when they piss you off.  Don’t collect up all your toys and go home and lock the door.

Don’t isolate yourself in an attempt to keep from being rocked by other people’s messy demands and emotions and judgments of you.

Show up.  Put yourself out there.  Expect plenty of criticism and insult and revel in it.  Also expect plenty of love – and revel in it.

Your genius is dead-set on not just waking you up to amazing generative brilliance but to waking up everyone else, too. 

And that means you have to be in relationship in order for your genius to thrive.

You can’t bring yourself and everyone else into their fullest potential if you’re not relating to them.

So sitting alone in your garrett isn’t going to cut it.

You gotta get out there and hustle, darlin’.

Write that blog.  Make those videos.  Show up at that party.  Put together that gallery show. Hell, throw some parties and open some galleries. Found that intentional community.

Make it happen, angel. What are you waiting for?

Let us hear you, let us see you.  At your best and at your worst.  Show us your despicable mess and let us think the worst things possible about you – and then shine on anyway – because that’s the only way we’ll ever learn that our disgusting mess and our vulnerability is okay, too.  That’s the only way we’ll get free and awake.

Be the brave one, the bold one.  The one who loves us so much she doesn’t flinch when our fear of our own genius causes us to act like supreme jerks.

On a deeper level, Don't Hide means truly let yourself touch and be touched.  And I mean this quite literally.  Be touched by people.  And touch them.  It’s what we all want.

Ask for hugs. Ask for cuddles. Ask for kisses. Ask to hold hands.

Show up at a Contact Improv class and learn to dance by feeling another human being’s body flow with yours.

Sign up for an Orgasmic Meditation training and stroke or get stroked. Let your electricity flow through you to others.

Whatever you do, touch us and let us touch you.  Be present.  It’s super-uncomfortable.  And it’s what your genius longs for.  It’s actual life.

In Conclusion

If you Dream Yourself Awake, Love Everyone, and Don’t Hide – you’ll soon find your genius waking up and taking you on a ride that defies description.

Things will get really messy and really upsetting and also totally magnificently great.

You’ll encounter synchronicities that will boggle your mind, and people and ideas will come into your life that dazzle you.  You’ll create in all kinds of mediums – with words, with pictures, with communities – and best of all, you’ll be living in synch with your heart and your sex and your soul.

You won’t feel blocked or numb, but you will have to deal with a huge amount of intensity and sensation as your genius rips apart your safety and builds you heaven on earth.

Which, by the way, looks pretty much exactly nothing like your present imagination of heaven and a lot like your ego’s worst nightmare.

Terrifying, I know.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

A bit about me, Carolyn Elliott I coach magical, creative people to live turned-on, ecstatic lives full of genius and challenge.  I'm the author of Awaken Your Genius: A Seven-Step Path to Feeing Your Creativity and Manifesting You Dreams (North Atlantic / Random House).  I also lead the Outlaw Court, a secret Facebook group where magical people are hugely supported in bringing their Things into the world – if you’re magic and you know it, you’re welcome to apply to join the Outlaw Court.

Posted on October 21, 2013 and filed under Uncategorized.