Remembering the Career of a Legend: Hawaii’s BJ Penn

“Live by the sword, die by the sword.”  ~ Too many

Tonight former UFC two division champion, BJ Penn, lost a decision to Nick Diaz and subsequently announced his retirement from the sport of Mixed Martial Arts and his career as a prizefighter.  Penn was the first non-Brazilian to ever win the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu World Tournament (Mundials) and would go one to wreak havok upon multiple divisions in the sport of Mixed Martial Arts.  He beat others at Lightweight, Welterweight, Middleweight, and almost defeated former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Lyoto Machida.  Not bad for a local kid.

Penn, dubbed The Prodigy, grew up in the same town I did, Hilo.  Actually, he was also born on Oahu and his family moved to the Big Island as well.  His younger brother Reagan was my classmate for a few years and I even got bit by one of their dogs.  It was one of those embarrassing stories from youth that I no longer feel embarrassed about but eh, not the best of memories.

I wrote a couple of articles for MMA Hawaii Magazine over the years about BJ.  At the time I was working in politics and getting back into martial arts.  I had started with Muay Thai and found Jiu-Jitsu years later, so following MMA was of great interest.  BJ was the man for many years, considered the world’s best Lightweight and a pound-for-pound great.  The best thing about BJ, IMO, is his Aloha for Hawaii.  Many people that come to Hawaii from other places express their infatuation.  Many who grew up here echo that but there are people like BJ and many others who don’t get the spotlight, who express more than that, they express the Love.

Hawaii is known for its Warrior Spirit, and I’m not talking about the football field variety that UH brings. I’m talking about that ancient before any of us Nature that goes back to the growth of an island nation in the middle of a body of water that held its own for many years, being recognized by other nations as a Kingdom in and of itself, and whose last Queen viewed this, our Home, as a place for any and all who would swear allegiance to it.

Hawaii is a big part of who I am regardless of how I look.  Growing up white in Hawaii is not very easy, regardless if you are mixed (like I am) and your family goes back to the Hawaiian Kingdom (like mine does).  Nonetheless, I support any and all who are able to educate and advocate for our people.  While it won’t be the same not seeing BJ fight again (and I think maybe he’ll come back in a few years back at Lightweight), I am glad that he’s hanging it up.  It was always an emotional thing to watch him fight, same as it is to watch our Warriors play, and watch any other Hawaiian anything take Center Stage. In Hawaii, we support our Native and Adopted Sons and Daughters.

In many ways, Hawaii is kind of like the Little Engine That Could, despite the conflicts that we have (see growing up white above), when you’re local or your Soul is called here, when you’re Heart beats Hawaii, there is no denying our connection here, because of who it has shaped us into.

THX for the memories, Brah!  May your next endeavors be great.  I hope you fight your next battles at the Hawaii State Legislature.  There are plenty in need of KO’s and getting choked there.  Until then, enjoy your family and thanks for representing us.

Update: Penn has since said he’s taking some time off.

Adventures in Urban Mysticism: You’re Beautiful Mirror (Have you looked inside)

Yesterday, I was on a walk with Adya around Magic Island.  I had forgotten that we had taken a stroll with Steven aka The Soul Samurai many moons agos but the 72 y/o still has her chops about her ; )

So we were having one of our conversations about God, Life, Love, and the amazing experience that is being and all of a sudden she stops and tells a young child: “You’re beautiful!” to which the girl’s mother replied: “Don’t tell her that.”

Adya stopped, ignoring the comment and told the girl, Lily: “you’ve such a beautiful Spirit.”  The mother again replied: “You don’t know her…”  Adya didn’t scold the woman but she said: “Have you looked inside her at all?”  The mother stopped, didn’t know what to say or do, much as many people I’ve seen interact with Adya (and in greater frequency with me).  We’d chat a bit further and Adya would give the young woman a magic stone and the mother would change her tone from one of challenge to gratitude.  Lily’s birthday was a day before Adya’s, so the young Sagittarius was still growing as an Archer but it was an interesting mirror to see for Adya.  As we walked away, Adya said: “The mother doesn’t mean that, it’s own her stuff, probably anger toward the girl’s father.”  We watched the sunset, chatted, laughed, laughed, we laughed and then went out separate ways.

And like that, I swear I was swallowed by a vortex as I was summoned to counsel a young man who was a mirror into my own younger me that I had met at the end of last year.  Where I stumbled in counseling him earlier, my Journey having taking me further down the Rabbit Hole, I was much more successful, as I found that which I was seeking in my own Journey.  I always made the kid smile but this time when we parted ways he was flying.

As I write now, a young man sits across from me, diligently at work on his computer, another mirror into my Soul, I felt the bug saying to speak so inquired to him what his dream was, what was it that he wanted to do in life.  His reply: “To go into film.”  There he sat, 13, and I sat, 31, numerical opposites in a sense but still sharing a thread because we are both of Spirit.  I talked to him a bit, he asked me what I did, and I watched as he beamed with telling me about his Father, who would join us later.

Kids look up to their parents man and that one stray comment can be devastating.  This young gentlemen, Aaron gave me hope today that the future will be bright and I hope I gave him a boost to pursue his own dream just as I know Adya made a difference yesterday.

And that’s how simple life can be.  It’s all about not being afraid to share love and express the honor we have for what lies within.  Quite magical indeed.

Adventures in Urban Mysticism: Now..

Thank you for this moment, thank you for this Breath.

If one can take a breath, sit in the moment, and climb the mountain of consciousness, one arrives exactly to Now, as it always is, the empty, perfect cup, that can be filled, and filled, again, again, again. However you wish for it to be filled.

Being there is where creation really gets fun.  Because everything is out there.  Every possibility.  Every inkling.  It can be instant.  But it takes time in the body, it takes practice, to get to instant.  And where’s the fun in that? Doesn’t brewed coffee taste better than instant?  Isn’t it fulfilling to see a plant grow that you planted and nurtured?  Doesn’t it feel amazing to eat something you took the time to prepare?

The same can be said about our lives, our dreams, our desires.  All it takes is Faith in knowing that in the Now, you always have exactly what you need and never have to worry.  It is worry that derails the train.  There is no need to derail the train.

So let it go.

Let it be.

Let it Flow.

And you shall be set free.

To be full, who you truly are, a Child of God, Now.  Because it’s who you really are!  And that’s what Jesus meant when he said those who follow me will be saved but those who just spout on about his teachings will not.  Because he was talking about walking your path, walking your path fearlessly, because when you do that, you know that God is always with you and you are trusting “Thy Will Be Done, Not my will be done.”

There are many paths to God.  We each have one.  We need only walk it because through walking it we release all that does not serve us and marry the Spirit, totally, fully. Truly, madly, deeply, and experience God in all.  And because God is in All, All is well.  All is right.

So live your life.  Live it Now…



A Poem about Some Rebirth

They say that Much ado is said about No-Thing

And the Reaper, too much is said about Him, about Her

You see, the funny thing about Death, in order to live

We must feel his embrace, taste her kisses

For it is Death that guards the entrance of the Path

To the Stairway of Heaven that takes One up the Mountain of the Lord

Fear not, Archangel Michael, awaits, arms awide

And amidst it All truly, madly, deeply…

You will find, Life amongst Death for to Die is to be Reborn

And Arise from the ashes they say of the Phoenix

And to walk with Death, not as enemy, but as Friend, as Lover

For it is Death, in every moment, in every experience, in every body,

That shall truly set One free…

The Buddha came first and off he went to kill suffering.

Jesus was second, in recorded fashion, and his Death opened the connection.

The Prophet of Islam came along and it was he who saw the value in submitting to the Path.

And many others, countless others have walked the Path, up the Mountain of the Lord

In their fields, in their traditions.

And they all died, many deaths…

We are not afraid of Death.

No, no.

We are afraid to truly Live.

In order to be alive.

Thought of the Moment

“Follow through and live our lives…”

All we have to do is plant the seed, share what is in our Hearts, then walk the path and live.  In so doing, all shall be delivered.  Start with the gratitude for this moment and there you can find the strength in Love to do so.

Keep walking.

Adventures in Urban Mysticism AND Embrace Your Inner Psychic: Tarot/Studying Life

I get asked many questions about Tarot cards and the decks I use are often commented on.  I’ve used two decks primarily, the Osho Zen Tarot Deck and the Law of Attraction Tarot Deck because the imagery speaks very clearly to me.

I was led into Tarot because of my years of studying dreams, at the direction of a former mentor.  I really enjoyed learning about Dream Psychology (Carl Jung chee huu to you, Buddy!) and Dream Analysis, the more I worked with it, the more my life started to make sense (as non-sensical as that statement is).  I’m also a writer who loved movies (and subsequently found comic books as an adult because I now realize, that each dream is a story containing a message, has its own story arc and theme.  As a result, my interest in studying Archetypes (another shout out to CJ and also Joseph Campbell) began.  Figuring out what the symbolism of the different characters in my dreams meant along with all the other elements of life, the grand waking dream, grew and grew.  I guess I can ultimately trace it back to my constant seeking to understand the deeper elements of life.  Yeah, let’s go with that…

Tarot is a powerful tool and the way that I was taught to read often gets commented on because I don’t read according to the card meaning.  From my own studies of tarot, dream psychology, and energy, I tune in and “read” the energy based on what is intuitively being communicated.  I’ve worked on developing clairaudience, which for all intents and purpose is listening to what Spirit is communicating, is considered by some a form of channeling.  I’m working at keeping life simple so I basically “listen” to the energy and share the message.

The thing about it, is that this is available for all of us with a little (or a lot of work and practice). Just sit on a bench and watch what is going on around you.  Ask yourself why something is reappearing in your life?  Why is this person here more than once?  Become a student of your experience and the veil is lifted…

Traditional tarot folds in many symbols that are very useful and the more I learn about them, the more it helps.  I imagine my reading style will continue to evolve as I practice the craft more in addition to studying more.  I was called many years ago to a statue of Thoth, would find the Thoth deck a few years after that, and it is a long-term goal to learn about the intricacy of that deck.  I wish I’d found this field of study earlier in my life but as I reflect back, I realize that the timing of it all has been perfect and that I’ve been a student of life, spirituality, and mysticism since I was but a child and that I’ve always sought to know God, in my own way. So Tarot has been a great tool for me.

I am not opposed to different tools and have used the I Ching, Angel Cards spreads, and Animal Cards for people here and there.  From that “research,” I find that there are many viable ways to communicate with the Spirit and many different tools to use (now why did he say that again?).  I like cards with vivid imagery because it’s a quick way to get into what’s going on with people.  I prefer to sit and talk with people and communicate answers to questions in that fashion but most people I read, I’ll never see again, so during that blink of an eye of time that we have, I am sure to do my best to share the fullest expression of the message the Spirit has for them.

Other Note: For more on Clairaudience, I really enjoy this article.

A Story Told in Ink: Some Flash

A Story Told in Ink: Some Flash…

JMAW for 434 Tattoo

A year ago to the day that Tattoo Adam put the wolf on me, I started my three-quarter sleeve (which knowing me will end up as a full-sleeve) with some Tattoo Flash from a tattoo parlor in New Orleans just outside the French Quarter, Electric Ladyland.  I didn’t know I would work into a sleeve nor intend it at the time, but that’s how life works, sometimes a little too smoothly, a little too eerily, but it works nonetheless…

I was picking up the pieces of my life and that piece of flash was to be a symbol of rebirth, I realized that I was a work in progress, much like ‘Nola, the city who stole a piece of my Heart, that place along the Mississippi still in her rebirth, even years after Katrina ran through it, which disrupted business as usual then and ever since.  But that’s life, it’s the grit, it’s the grime, and it’s all beautiful if you really look at it.

“My tattoos on the back of my hands, they mean alot of different things, but they are powerful, and I believe in them.  A monk at the Tiger Temple, tattooed from head to toe put them on me.”  Adam had said to me the day earlier and even the first time he had spoken to me about spirituality and tattoos.  So much has happened in both our lives since my first session with him, now ten months ago.  It’s funny because his son was a newborn when we met, now he was almost a year old.  A lot can happen in life in a year, and certainly both within and outside a tattoo shop.

“The other day, this dude came in, he had all these spiritual tattoos and they were so far just symbolic of his past.  He was telling me that the next ones were going to tell the story of his future.  It gave me chicken skin.”  Adam continued.  It was funny/eerie because though the wolf appeared on my arm in a dream from my past, was confirmed by a woman who saw it on my arm before any of the sleeve save for the flash was even conceived,  the wolf was there to symbolize my present and lead me towards the future. Adam placed the wolf three times before he was pleased, the wolf was already there and we were both just playing a part it would seem…

“There are many forms of medicine.  Tattoos can be one of them…” Adam has told me during more than one of our custom tattoo and talk story sessions. I agree.

I’ve written this before and will do so again: I spent three years with politicians, and now just over one with tattoo artists, and tattoo people are definitely more my type of people because if anything, the only flash is on the walls, you know what you get when you pick it, and its honest throughout the whole nine yards…