“For an answer, go to the place where there is no thought and listen.”-Katie

The world is what it is, it’s neither good nor bad, it’s not happy or sad; it just is. There is no should or shouldn’t. There is no ‘I would rather…’ It’s either cloudy or clear, day or night, rain or shine and neither is better nor worse than the other. In this instant, which is all there is, that is what is… and you are perceiving it, you are the perceiving. Look, witness, be.


Watch. Be still. Everything changes. By the time you think “now”, it is gone; it is already a story of the past. Remember the saying ‘go-with-the-flow’? That is the only Now: the flow.


Be still, perceive, let it flow in and out, in and out. Sounds, sensations, colors, shapes. Feel, see, hear, smell. Who? What? Who or what perceives? Close your eyes. Find the Perceiver.


Did you find it, the perceiver? Good. Now, who did that? Who or what perceived the perceiver? Find that one. Oh, yes… there it is, found it! Fantastic! But… who or what perceived the perceiver of the perceiver?


Are you beginning to see? Really see? You can never, NOT EVER, see or find the Who or What that you are. The self cannot contemplate the self. The Perceiver can never find the Perceiver. The Perceiver can only perceive what it is not. There is only the possibility of experiencing its presence through what it perceives, through the very act of perceiving.

Dec. 5 2011 011

Almost 60 years ago, I saw. I was an adolescent. An adolescent knows nothing; an adolescent has so little experience. Perhaps, an adolescent is open to whatever because it knows it does not know and becomes curious. To be curious is to be. So, that night, I turned off all the lights in my room and looked.

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There was still a glow from the street lights. Therefore, I covered my eyes with my hands to shut out all possibility of light. There was no question posed, I was not looking for an answer to anything, there was no goal, spirituality wasn’t even a word in my vocabulary. I have no idea why I did what I did. Curiosity was alive in me. So, I covered my eyes. Then, with the lights off and my hands tightly blocking any glow, I opened my eyes again and looked. Then I saw, I perceived with an intensity that left no doubt. For an instant, I sat in wonder just looking. And then the mind came in and named it: There was absolutely nothing in between the Cosmos inside and the Cosmos outside.


Of course, by putting it into words, I have turned the pure experience into a thought, but in the instant I experienced it, there was no thought so I knew it to be true.  I told no one about this experience, but I have never forgotten it and that infinite cosmos, inside and out, is a space I can always go to when I believe that reality should be different than it is.



Every life writes its own Work of Fiction (anonymous)



tumblr_inline_mf8dkslNWP1qggdq1[1] The 17th century lasted from January 1, 1601, to December 31, 1700, in the Gregorian calendar and became known as the Century of The General Crisis. During this period of 100 years, Europe suffered a series of struggles for power or religion or both that no one particularly remembers and no one particularly cares about. The usual battles ensued between one Royal Family and another and within the Royal Families themselves; between the people of one region and the people of another and between all the different entities of the then splintered Christianity. These battles led to death, migrations, territorial divisions and general devastation which perhaps touched the early protagonists of our story very little, if at all.



“The seventeenth century was probably the most important century in the making of the modern world. It was during the 1600s that Galileo and Newton founded modern science; that Descartes began modern philosophy; that Hugo Grotius initiated international law; and that Thomas Hobbes and John Locke started modern political theory.  In the same century strong centralized European states entered into worldwide international competition for wealth and power, accelerating the pace of colonization in America and Asia. The colonizationDutch, French, Spanish, Portuguese, English, and others, all struggled to maintain and extend colonies and trading-posts in distant corners of the globe,  with profound and permanent consequences for the whole world. They also fought one another in Europe, where warfare grew increasingly complex and expensive. To gain an edge against other powers in war, European governments invested in research in military technology, and the weaponsseventeenth century was consequently an age of military revolution, enabling Europeans from then on to defeat most non-European peoples relatively easily in battle.”

The Thirty Years War was closely connected to the war between France and Spain (1635-59) and the Spanish-Dutch “Eighty Year War” that finally ended in 1648. Along with the previous 100 Years War, it demonstrated beyond a doubt the massive horrors that human belligerence could bring to entire populations by the sole merit of lasting so long and being so widespread. It therefore convinced us mortals, not that there should not be wars, but that wars should be accomplished in less time, a lesson duly applied in the First World War which only lasted four years (1814-1818). The First World War was the war that was supposed to end all wars, so it was also known as The Great War until we had WWII which lasted six years (1939-1945). WWI, as it was called untitledhenceforth, was rapidly terminated, not by peacemaking or any human endeavor, but by a flu epidemic that killed off more men in the trenches than the war itself; WWII, as you may still recall from your history courses, was ended abruptly by the initiation of the Atomic Age which swept two entire Japanese cities, including a large part of hiroshimatheir populations, clean off the map. Since these two WW’s, wars have gone back to being what they were before: localized, intermittent (sometimes), interminable (some) and breaking out all over the place as it was during the years of the General Crisis, so once again we probably should honor our century with a similar epitaph.

But back then, during the General Crisis of the 17th, the Poles and the Lithuanians broke up; the Spanish empire, being the first global empire, had no idea how to hold itself together and suffered secessions and upheavals, and in Britain the entire extent of the Stuart monarchy (England, Scotland, Ireland, and its North Spain - copia (2)American colonies), initiated by James I and lasting from 1603 (the year the beloved but never loved ‘Virgin’ Queen died) until 1714, suffered rebellions and unrest. The Spanish fought the English and vice-a-versa; the French tried to clobber the Low Countries and Spain with both resisting violently. And, according to someone quoted somewhere, “political insurgency and a spate of popular revolts seldom equaled shook the foundations of most states in Europe and Asia. More wars took place around the world in the mid-17th century than in almost any other period of recorded history.” Apparently, it was a mess.

versailles-palaceAdmittedly, not all was killing, conquering and conflict. The Baroque cultural movement had for some time been populating horizons with all the ornate palaces (Versailles, amongst them) and breathless churches we pay tourist tickets to visit today; the Renaissance which started back in the 13th Century, had blossomed enough painters to fill entire rooms of our vast museums with names our children strive to memorize like Michelangelo, Raphael, Botticelli, van Eyck, Tintoretto, Murillo, Hieronymus Bosch, van Dyck, Velazquez, Zurbaran and da Vinci in places we dream of visiting such as Florence, Rome, Paris, Madrid, London and Venice mostly located in Italy, France, Germany, Spain, England or the Netherlands. Of the writers, very few are read today (or possible to read tumblr_nmfppvY5p21usqhcvo1_1280.jpgtoday) although their names and their importance, the dates they were born or died and the titles of their principal works continue to appear on exams in schools the world over (Shakespeare, Cervantes, Chaucer, Rabelais, Boccaccio, Marlowe, John Donne…). Philosophers had a heyday producing volumes of highly unintelligible flights of mind under the names of Bacon, Erasmus, Machiavelli, and Thomas More.

munstermapExplorers had gone and come back and set their countries on fire with a mad race to gain ever more territory in the so-called New World which was “new” only to its discoverers as the Aztecs and the Apaches, the Incas and the Mayas, the Mohicans and the Sioux and every other inhabitant of that side of the globe had known about it all since time inmemorial. Children then heard the names of Columbus and Cortés, Francis Drake and Sir Walter Raleigh, Magellan and Pizarro with awe and wonder and not just as something to remember at the end of the term.

The Scientific Revolution, which began with Copernicus dethroning our Cosmic marble as the center of what henceforth would be called the solar system and placing the sun there instead, burst forth between the 15th and the 17th centuries tearing open and remaking beliefs in mathematics, physics, astronomy, biology, anatomy and chemistry that transformed the way society and nature were viewed and entered into direct conflict with



religious belief. Along with Copernicus, Kepler and Galilei rearranged the known Universe,b1b038ba81e6db1ceed88b4846a75b1b Descartes rearranged the human mind, with “I think therefore I am” (when surely the opposite is true: I am therefore I think) making us slaves to the god of Reason who has turned out to be the most unreasonable god of all, while Newton took the apple of Adam and Eve’s fall and through its falling gave us gravity to explain why the people (called ‘antipodes’) on the “underside” of the Earth did not fall off and drift away.

By the end of the century, Europeans in general were at least aware of logarithms, electricity, the telescope, the microscope, calculus (a subject my mother, Betty, never took having left her studies before finishing high school; my father, Perico, being an Engineer, loved, and I failed calculusmiserably[1]), universal gravitation, Newton’s Laws of Motion, air pressure, calculating machines, and the price of eggs in China, and it is possible that some of that knowledge seeped down to the English countryside where one unbelievably small Elizabeth Smyth arrived on the very doorstep of this General Crisis of everything.

[1] Or would have failed if the teacher had not been both intelligent and kind. The class was at 7a.m. at a time when I stayed up way past midnight discovering both literature and the wherewithal of love, eroticism and heartbreak. Up to that point, I had loved math, algebra was my fascination and although trigonometry bored me, I had no problem with it, but calculus had nothing to do with anything I had ever studied before and there was no way I could get my confused, half-asleep mind around it. After taking the final exam, the professor called me into his office to tell me I had failed and to ask me if I was going to major in the sciences or the humanities. When I told him it was the humanities he kindly told me he would pass me with a D for there was no purpose in having me repeat a subject I was never going to use. This was a wise professor!




(Statement of Manuel Domecq Núñez de

Villavicencio on his death bed, to his son)

In August of the year of 1977, Pedro Domecq González Núñez de Villavicencio and Gordon, 2ndPerico circa 1942 Viscount of Almocadén had a heart attack. He was in San Francisco with his wife, Elizabeth Cook, and his granddaughter, Maria Fernanda Rodríguez Domecq who, at the time was 10. They had taken her to Disneyland in Los Angeles and then gone on to San Francisco. They had been out to dinner and, upon arriving back at the hotel room, Perico (as he was called) complained of indigestion. He took an Alka Seltzer, as was his custom in these circumstances, but the problem only got worse. Suddenly he gripped his chest, leaned against the wall and slid to the floor. Betty knew there was a problem. Probably, if they had been anywhere else but the U.S., he would have died, but an ambulance took only five minutes to arrive and in less than twenty he was in the hospital. Betty called her daughter.

When the phone rang, I was sitting in the bar (in our house) having a nightcap with my husband. I answered and heard the news: my father had had a serious heart attack, was in the hospital and the next day my mother was going to put my ten year old daughter on a plane to fly home alone. She gave me the arrival time so I could pick her up and promised to keep me informed of my father’s progress. All I remember was a hollow feeling inside. I loved my father; I think I have loved him more 1938-1 Cat Cay 1938 3 (2)
than any other person in my life. If nothing else –and there was plenty else- he showed me that it was possible to be happy in this life with very simple things and that was what kept me going every time I was ready to give up.

My father survived that incident, although it was a bad attack and he had to spend at least three weeks in the hospital and then another month at Burlingame Country Club in a small cottage they rented before the doctors would allow him to fly and return to the altitude of Mexico City.

He had survived, but he was never the same again. “I wish I had gone then” he used to say. I think he meant that the waiting for the next time was not much fun. He lost most of his interest in the things that had occupied him before: the1939-3 Gordon Claridge's Manor  England (5) bird watching, the translations, loading his shotgun shells, painting bird pictures. Life seemed to have turned into a waiting game, trying to guess, perhaps, when the next “sablazo” would hit. (Sablazo is a Spanish word for being struck by a saber with force and it is what my father used to call the blows life dealt one; he called his heart attack “un sablazo”.)

After three and a half years of waiting, Betty figured it was safe to travel and they went to New York to see their son, Michael and his family. Again, the phone call came at night.

“Your father’s in the hospital again. His lungs filled up with water and he was drowning. We rushed him there in a taxi because your brother had gone out to dinner. He almost died,” she said in what sounded like a tired voice.

“Did you consider letting him go?”

“Yes, but he said he was afraid, he wanted to live so I had to take him. The doctors say he will pull out okay, but he is going to have to take care or his lungs will fill up again.”

1949-1 Travels to Latin America07052014That was when my mother learned to cook without salt thanks to a wonderful cookbook that I ended up adopting just because the recipes were so tasty. After a while, my father didn’t miss the salt either, and he would continue having his glass of wine in the evenings and midday on weekends so the loss of salt was not a tragedy. He got well, he even took up some of his hobbies again and all seemed to be going along smoothly.

Then my mother decided that she had to go to San Francisco again, I guess because they had some money invested there, and she took my father along. In Spanish we say “la tercera es la vencida”, which means the third time is the one that wins, and, at least for my father, this turned out to be true.

It was the 25th of February 1982, and once again the call came at night. My mother’s tone sounded emotionless.

“He’s not going to make it,” she said, her voice heavy with fatigue; “I saw an x-ray of his  heart. Poor thing, it’s all limp and barely beating; it looked like a dying fish.”1960-8 Bodegas  (3)

“I’m on the next plane,” I told her and hung up.

My husband and I got tickets for a flight the following day and, once on board the plane, I remember thinking all the time of what I wanted to tell my father when I got there, all the things I thought he might be interested in, how the Conservation Association he belonged to was doing so well, and the projects that had been approved at the last council meeting for the following year. Then suddenly I knew, I knew from deep in my heart: There was nothing left to say. My father and I had said it all. In that instant I accepted that I did not need for him to stay alive, to wait for me, to continue living. I understood that I was ready for him to leave and realized how blessed I was that there was really nothing left to say to him. From somewhere in the air, I closed my eyes and said goodbye with all my heart. When we arrived at the hospital, I practically ran to the room. My mother was standing by his bedside gazing at him as if she were trying to recognize him.

1943-1 Florida trip21042014 (7)“He went 5 minutes ago,” she said looking up slowly from the blessed fog that deep change shrouds us in for a moment to protect us from the shock.

I noticed the strange waxen aspect of his face and, walking over to the bed, put my cheek next to his; he was still warm. “I’ll take care of her, so don’t worry” I whispered and gently kissed his cheek. Then my mother began to talk.

“It’s so strange. About three days ago his voice began sounding different; it wasn’t his and it came from somewhere else. I couldn’t recognize his voice, but he didn’t say much anyway. Only once, he said ‘I want to D-I-E’ in this strange voice, spelling out the word as if it were difficult for him to say it. And then today, I was just sitting here gazing out the window and he called to me.1955 - 3 Trip to Cuba (2)

“’Lay down the bed, I want to rest.’ You know, he had to be in a sitting position to be able to breathe due to the liquid in his lungs. I asked him if he was sure. We both knew that if I lay him down, it was the end. He said ‘yes’. So I cranked the bed down. And then I just held his hand. It wasn’t too bad, but it took about 10 minutes. After he was gone, I called the 1939-7 Perico visits Tony Ruggeron in Portugal15042014 (4)doctor. He asked if I wanted him to revive your father so he would still be here when you arrived. I said ‘no’.”

I walked around to the other side of the bed and embraced my mother. She seemed tiny and all bones in my arms. The admiration I felt for her in that moment was overwhelming; as far as I was concerned she was the bravest woman I had ever known. We sat together holding hands until they 1977 Perico19042014came to wheel my father’s body away. The following day we went for the ashes and flew back to Mexico carrying them in a plastic shopping bag. My father would have had a good laugh over that. No fuss.


Today I found myself crying twice. It is strange; it is as if I have delved into some deep sadness that bubbles up every time something touches my emotions.  The first was an e-mail in the morning from a cousin with whom I have been corresponding over the last year or so. Continue reading


20151024_140024Goodness, how it hits one when something new comes into life and begins to open up unforeseen possibilities! I just registered for a TeleSummit (arrogant title, don’t you think?) on Conscious Business which is not the same as the business of consciousness, but connects into it sideways. A series of speakers on internet are going to introduce the people who register to the art of doing business in the NEW way; everything from Aligning Meaning, Message and Market; Recognizing The Copycat Entrepeneur and Charging what you are Worth, to the Quest for an Heroic Business and Cosmic Comedy, the new bunch of spiel artists are going to buzz our ears for 10 sessions over a period of three weeks with inspirational ideas and personal working models that are supposed to get us jettisoned on our way to success in the new virtual internet establishment way of the now called “Multiversity” (Ok, folks, so now you know: we are no longer a part of the Universe, but of the Multiverse and whatever we do will have a Multiversal effect hopefully).

Anyway, as I said I registered for this course. Why? Good question. I have no desire to start, continue or fortify a business (non-existent other than my very small, intimate workshops which will change nothing, including the numbers on my bank account), so that can’t be it. I certainly have no desire to begin to “join” others on Facebook (which I avoided like the plague up to just a couple of months ago), Twitter, Hi-Five or any other “social” gatherings where the meeting of people is cultivated and then harvested for business purposes. I don’t even want to do business, so why register for a Conscious Business TeleSummit? Because I adore Swami Beyonananda, the cosmic comic with whom I have exchanged a few e-mails. Also because I immediately sent the F.r.e.e. Course off to my son and my friend, The Muse, hoping that it would help jumpstart them on a new path to the wealth they want and seem to need in this moment. And it was incoherent in my way of thinking to invite them to something I was not prepared to take myself. So this morning, 12 hours after the fact, I tuned into the RePlay of the first conference by Adela Rubio (could she possibly be a compatriota?? a Mexican curios??) I have to admit that I basically liked what I heard, nothing new mind you, I had heard most of it and seen it put into practice by my friend Carlos from Tucson, but he was –as far as I could see, always a loner- and this according to Adela has 2000 attendees from all over the world. Wow! But, I liked what she said, it rang true. Words like “passion”, “choice”, “evolution” and “playground” sparkled in her vocabulary; suggestions of change –“intentional awareness” instead of “intellect”; “being” instead of “doing”; “potential” in the place of “problem” (like instead of “what is the problem in this picture”, “what is the potential in this picture”) twinkled true.  Openness, multiple options, willingness instead of willpower, collaboration not 2011-2012-045competition, create a movement instead of create a market. Don’t “sell” something, “offer” it. And emphasis on YOU as the center, as the creator, as the original who will find what to offer in an “energy exchange” that can become a “steward of positive results”. Perhaps something basic that really hit home was: “Do something meaningful that is aligned with your passion”, “help others”, find out what you have to offer, and what “really Works for You”. What is a joy? When I heard Adela say: “I love to write”, I thought:  Me Too! And then the question: “What do I want to give?” and “What inner shift is necessary for that?” Good questions, good to know that she is not directing people to change outer reality, but rather to look inside to find the barriers to creating their own heaven on earth.

I immediately jotted off notes to the two persons I wanted to join in this conference, and then realized that it was for ME. I have no control over them, if they want to listen or not. I was getting excited. The last instruction was perhaps the most important: FOLLOW THE ENERGY.

So that I know how to do. I breathe down deeply in my chest, close my eyes, feel everything beginning to open and whisper my very secret prayer: “I’m willing…” It is a dangerous prayer because it is open, completely open: there is no wish, no desire, no control. There is absolute Trust. “I’m willing…” And then, I simply go about my day, take care of the chores at hand, do my exercises to see if I can get rid of the pain under my shoulder blade, strengthen the muscles in my arthritic ankle, relieve the discomfort in the right knee anything to insure that the body keeps doing its job for as long as it is possible. The mind takes care of the things to do I have jotted down on a piece of paper: call Insurance Company, write property administrator, cancel appointment in Barcelona, make date with physiotherapist, contact Tamara about our upcoming workshop. I think no more about what I have listened to in the morning, and yet there is a feeling in the chest, similar to butterflies but not in the stomach, there is a latent excitement even though nothing has happened.

During lunch I finish off a P.D. James murder mystery. She’s a master of what I think is called the Gothic Novel, a true follower of Agatha Christie and better. Towards the last pages, two paragraphs catch my eye and I underline them:

Why was it, she wondered, so difficult to believe that the old had been young, with the strength and animal beauty of youth, had loved, been loved, laughed and been full of youth’s unmeditated optimism?

And the second one, some pages later:

Without ceasing his work, Father Martin said. ‘Are you happy, Adam?’ ‘I have health, a job I enjoy, enough food, comfort, occasional luxuries if I feel the need of them, my poetry. Given the state of three-quarters of the world’s poor, wouldn’t you say that unhappiness would be a perverse indulgence?’

How strange, I thought that I should be underlining these speeches. I am old, of course, or rather getting there at an amazing speed, and finding it extremely difficult at times to remember what it was like when I was young, and I do enjoy everything that Adam (the detective in the novel) seems to think is enough, so both are in some way pertinent to my life at this moment, and yet, to be underlining things in a murder mystery that I will chuck away the moment I am through (although, given my short term memory these days, I 20150510_153644might be tempted to buy it again in the near future thinking I haven’t read it yet), seems somehow strange and somehow to do with things I heard this morning. Was all that hope, energy and excitement distilled through the voice of Adela Rubio meant only for people who are young or who don’t have their basic needs, and yet more, fulfilled?

It was walking home from lunch, having finished the novel at hand, that I noticed certain thoughts appearing spontaneously in my mind: How would it be possible to go about “publishing” on internet what I am at the present writing, not to sell it mind you, but just put it out there so that anyone interested could read it. In other words, to HANG IT OUT free, no ties, nothing to buy, do or commit to. Maybe one, or none, or one hundred people would read what I have written; maybe for one it would be a model to begin writing their own experience.  This new born thought was hung on the line to dry.

Oh yes, dreams, why not. Something is stirring inside, something that had not stirred for a while. Now I will open again, continue to listen to the participants in the Conference, allow the mind, My Mind, to go where it must, produce what it must, entertain these 67 years with new dreams… and who knows? Who knows?