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There are people who come into the world with a message for the rest of us… something I learned  years ago on a beautiful spring day in my home town. This was the day Ken Kesey came to town.

Long-time friend Mike Mallory has been doodling on Facebook about his allergy to clichés which led us to one of the sillier things we did years ago. After comparing notes, half-truths & faded memories, here’s my version.

It started with Mike complaining about the over use of certain phrases – rendering them clichés. As it happened, the cliché in question was: “Don’t Drink The Kool Aid.” The way I remember, this warning, would never have surfaced had it not been for cult leader, Jim Jones’s and the event he orchestrate. Stuff that doesn’t need retelling here.

Prior to this, anyone who said anything about Kool-Aid, and meant anything other than, well… Kool-Aid, was speaking wistfully of events recounted in Tom Wolfe’s book. The other, “off brand” Kool-Aid reference that came to our attention a decade earlier.

Enter: THE ELECTRIC KOOL-AID ACID TEST, and, Ken Kesey. Mike and I had read the book as had all our friends. But, “All,” in this usage is a small number given that we lived in small-town Oregon where, ordinarily there wouldn’t be many counter culture types. But La Grande was home to Eastern Oregon College, now EOU as the school has been granted university status. So, add our small group at the High School to the College population where everyone had heard of Kesey’s novels. Now you have an audience. This was about the time that Kesey’s second novel had made it to the big screen and few hadn’t seen Paul Newman’s performance in Sometimes A Great Notion.

Where’s this going? On a whim, Mike and I decided to call Kesey and invite him to town. Audacious. Yes, it was a bold idea, but looking at each other, we knew we had to give it a try.

Fortunately, this was the days of phone books and operator assistance. With a little help from each, we found a number for his family’s business – The Springfield Creamer, East of Eugene, OR. The woman who answered gave us Kesey’s home number- these were more trusting days. Dialing this second number, Ken answered and presumptuous as we’d already been, we plowed past the awkwardness of two kids calling a nationally acclaimed author.

As some may remember, prior to his appearance in Tom Wolfe’s book, Kesey had already written, “The Cuckoo’s Nest,”  in 1962 and, “Sometimes A Great Notion.” in 64. The second of the two has made it to the big screen first, in 1970, and few hadn’t seen Paul Newman’s performance as “…”Great Notions,” Hank Stamper. All this added to Wolfe’s recounting of the escapades of Kesey and friends – Kesey was a Rock Star.

Our request was simple enough; Would Ken Kesey drive himself over to La Grande and speak at the High School? My guess is that on that particular morning he was feeling more like a bored farmer than celebrated author. Apparently, the man felt he was due for a vacation from cow milking, hay hauling and all the rest that went with life on the farm, the dairy operation that supplied milk for the creamery. We just happened to be the best excuse for a road trip he’d received that week. So, long and short of it – we invited and Kesey accepted.

So far, all was shaping up well. No rumblings of decent. Amazing! Well, actually, not so amazing. The problem was that neither Mike or I considered, or were considerate enough to ask permission. School assemblies were a regular thing and we’d invited this guy we knew of, or thought we knew something about, to say a few words.

Never mind that our guest speaker was none other than the spokesman for the “Merry Pranksters.” As such, an infamous counter culture hero – one of the decades most celebrated and vilified psychedelic evangelists. Yes, we forgot to ask anybody. Simply slipped our minds. No, wait… we were only 17! We had yet to grow minds.

So we forgot – conveniently forgot right up till the point where we had to tell, “The Principle” – Dale Wyatt, that he needed to cut us a check for $250.00 in favor of, “Ken who?” Dale may not have known who Kesey was. But he knew Mike and I and knew trouble when he saw two of its local representatives standing in his office. We must have said something like, “Paul Newman starred in the movie version of one of his books! Ya, Mr. Wyatt, Paul Newman!” Whatever.

Actually, it was spring, prior to graduation. I think Dale just rolled his eyes and figured he’d be rid of us in two months. So why not just wait and see what we were really up to. Part of me still wants to believe that the man found us entertaining – a source of variety and amusement in his otherwise predictable world. But that’s just speculation… something I’ll never know. “So long Dale… Hope your next gig has been more fun that that last one!”

If I had a conscience I’d feel a little bad about it all. Whatever he’d known or suspected, our intention was to fool a nice guy. Think about it. It was 1971 and Dale’s job was the social and academic care and feeding of several hundred kids. At which time, there was that war in S.E. Asia, and a related one in most homes in America.

Add to this mix – with the release of about a dozen albums, the Beatles had just ripped serious holes in six thousand years of recorded history, then walked off stage leaving the Stones – Jagger & Co, to mop up any resistance. In Dale’s mind, if not in fact – he stood on the defensive front lines of civilization. Representing the opposition – Mike and I looked him in the eye with the straightest of faces, assuring him that Kesey was coming to talk about writing and, “You know, good literature and…” So Dale signed the check. Yes! So much for feeling bad long after it makes a bit of difference. Add to this… on the “Bad Ass” scale, Mallory and I were the minor-leagues compared to what Dale had dealt with in his time.

It was one of those days. Spring. Warm. Blue sky and not a cloud of doubt that all was well in our world. I was driving my dad’s jeep back from lunch at Nell’s, a local N’ & Out, burger place. Up N, and a left on 8th, climbing the hill by the Admin. Building with a right turn on to K Avenue, put us directly across from the Eastern Oregon College Library. This was back before the University thing.

Anyway, glancing out the driver’s side window, I spot two guys sitting in a funky looking beige sedan. A Ford, a Dodge… an ugly car. But the guy behind the wheel was Kesey. I guess he and his pal were thinking that it he’d been invited to speak at the college. Or maybe it was simply the first place they’d found that looked academic enough to be their destination. A better guess is they weren’t really thinking. I have evidence for this last idea.

Braking fast and pulling to the curb, I was out the door with Mallory close behind – both of us loping across the street to make introductions. Kesey wasn’t exactly friendly. He wasn’t unfriendly either. Just kind of unimpressed. Smoke from the joint the two of them had been

passing drifted and curled out the window. Which brings us back to why he was sitting in a car a mile from the location of his big speaking engagement looking totally unconcerned about his shabby car, his two new acquaintances or where he was supposed to be for the rest of his life. The joint between his thumb and forefinger – there’s my proof of the theory advanced in the previous paragraph.

Kesey looked at what was left of their smoke and glanced up at me. Apparently inviting, but he wasn’t he going to actually say the words. So I asked for a hit and passed it back to Mike. Big mistake. Two lung-fulls apiece was all it took for Mike and I to realize that prior to that moment, whatever we’d been rolling was closer to lawn clippings than a federally controlled substance.

Fortunately, the onset of effects took a few seconds. During which time we delivered directions, time and… that must have been about it. Mike and I drove off, and found ourselves inside the, never quite so, High School building trying our best to figure out what was supposed to happen next.

let’s fast forward, because I don’t remember how we got through the next class and on to the assembly thing… the pledge of allegiance and an introduction. But I know it happened. Mike assures me it did.

Time passed and the effects of the smoke began to dissipate. But there was still one more serious twist scheduled for our heads that day. After the preliminaries, Kesey took the stage. Then the microphone. Within the first few minutes he’d also taken charge of the minds of everyone in the auditorium.

What did he say? I’ve got only the barest glimmer of a memory and none of it translates well into English. I remember feeling that we’d all been dropped into the deep end and nobody seemed to have the sense to paddle to safety. Something shifted. By this time, Dale must have known that he’d made a mistake, a big one. But then maybe something was shifting inside of him too.

There are some really smart people. More importantly, there are people who come into the world with a message for the rest of us. Kesey was no man’s fool but his message wasn’t about being smart. It was not about being, “all you can be,” at least not in any conventional sense. Instead, it was about really being alive, and not being afraid to do whatever it took to figure out what that meant.

Comparing memories with others it’s clear that we all heard something different. Just as everyone reading the previous paragraph interpreted it differently. The interesting thing is that when a person who knows something about how big the human spirit really is – knows how far beyond conventional wisdom or perception… well, when somebody speaks from experience, whether you fully understand what they mean or not – it makes a difference. The shift.

Something happened on a beautiful spring day in La Grande. Kesey was the catalyst. Exactly what that was – how it may still be resonating in the heads and hearts of those who were present is impossible to specify. A blessing and curse – though in fact we’re basically doing and thinking the same things – we’re all convinced that we are different. Looking through a kaleidoscope, the patterns are ever changing. Stand back and see what’s in our hands? It’s just a kaleidoscope. The temptation to make distinctions insures that we’ll never look at the same thing the same way.

We love it. We hate it. Still, few ever stop long enough to see the obvious. Those who do, say similar things. It’s all empty, incomprehensibly spacious, safe and infinitely peaceful. And one more thing, it’s funny. Too funny for words.

 

 

#sacredspace

#tomcarroll

The postman left a box yesterday but I was napping on the couch and didn’t hear the screen door open or close. So it was not until this morning when I gathered the nerve to brave the morning chill and ran to the car for a book that I had left, that I noticed the delivery – a package sitting on the porch. Passing it on the way out the door… mentally, I ran through the possibilities. I was not expecting anything ‑ nothing ordered. Nothing left in Sandpoint that had to been mailed down. Then it came to me. It was the week after Thanksgiving ‑ There was a fruitcake waiting on my porch! Snatching it up on my pass back through the door I used a knife to slice away tape, freeing the box flaps and foam packing. And there it was, protected and perfect with a card on top.

Christmas cards are nice, and yours was the first, waiting neatly on top of your ‑ I mean ‑ my fruitcake! But not an ordinary greeting card. This one was hand made and featured that old, black and white photo. Continue Reading

This past Sunday afternoon, refreshingly candid, humorously irreverent – teacher and counselor, Eva Marice conducted the first of three classes for people like myself who felt a need to brush up on their public speaking skills. “You must love yourself” said Eva. You must first of all, love yourself if you want to connect with an audience. This somewhat surprising – almost counter intuitive insight is the basis of compassionate expression, Eva explained. Loving yourself allows you, as a public speaker to give the audience your full attention. A person who love’s them self – is much more relaxed and sensitive to those seated in front of them – sensitive to the needs and shifting mood of their audience. Continue Reading

Here are some words from Friend and Medical Intuitive, Catherine Carrigan.

Catherine-Bio-Picture_bigger

Catherine writes:

One of the many blessings of following the steps in my recent Amazon No. 1 best seller, Unlimited Energy Now, is that you get to develop a deep reservoir of inner well being.
At first, it’s very helpful to learn what actually works to build your personal energy.Unlimited Energy Now teaches you what you can do on every level – physical, energetic, emotional, mental and spiritual. Small practical steps. Easy to understand language. Even if you are totally exhausted, believe me, you will get the message.As you become more practiced, however, you can begin to let go of the need for external conditions and become a source of well being for yourself and everyone else.As you build your own well being, you can experience happiness no matter what is actually going on around you.How do you do this?How do you develop the habit of unconditional well being?

February 7, 2013

Also posted at: www.sedona.biz
Tom.Carroll@sedona.biz

A spiritual partnership is a partnership between equals for the purpose of spiritual growth. This agreement between two people places the growth of their souls above the convenience of a “comfortable,” conventional relationship.

Speaking of, and referring to material contained in his latest book,  author, Gary Zukov tells readers that a new and surprising world is emerging that requires each of us to explore the sources of our love and cultivate them while observing the inner sources of all that prevents us from loving and feeling loved. The root of these blocks are our fears. However, for those who are ready, a conscious relationship between spiritual partners can place us on the fast track to healing. Continue Reading

www.SacredSpace.org
December 14,  2012

Also posted at: www.sedona.biz
Tom.Carroll@sedona.biz

Are you ready? No, I don’t mean Christmas. Are you ready for life? Again, no – not me! I never have been. I never knew what to expect. Short of preparing for the worst, how can you be ready for the unknown and the unexpected? And having prepared for the worst – how can we enjoy all the good that comes our way? “Ya, that was pretty good but you never know what terrible thing might be coming next!”

And just look at the vegetative and animal world – how they protect themselves. Hard as a nut, we say. Thick hides and claws, venom and jaws! Old Lady Natures pack’en and protected! Continue Reading

Glorian Bonnette and I had met at a meeting where she was speaking, a meeting sponsored by a mutual friend – an evangelist with a reputation for giving accurate prophetic readings. Glorian did the prophetic thing too, so after listening to her stories of miraculous encounters I asked her for a “read.” Short story made shorter – I was intrigued enough with what she said that by the end of the afternoon I had offered to travel as a member of her ministry group. Injury and age had combined making travel and the heavy lifting required to stage meetings painful. It was clear that she needed more help.

And so began a four month odyssey in South East Asia. Singapore, which would be “home base,” is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. From this comfortable oasis we traveled to cities and remote villages in Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia. Glorian was not a typical missionary – actually more of an evangelist. The people who came to her meetings were looking for a message from God. To Glorian’s credit she came to give – not to get. Good thing, because by appearance, certainly by comparison, most who attended, were extremely poor. Continue Reading

Before leaving Singapore on my original return flight ticket I bought another that would get me from the US to Israel. Arriving home, I stayed only long enough wash cloths and re-pack. Flying from the Boise to Chicago, with a night in the air over the Atlantic, put me in Munich by morning of the next day. Changing planes here meant I would be flying the last leg on Lufthansa. Unlike United, Lufthansa, allowed a bare minimum of carry on baggage – insisting that you check anything larger than a wallet before boarding – which meant more hands pawing through my stuff. And even before September 2001, passengers waiting to board flights to Israel were watched by armed guards. Thankfully, no shots were fired and we were soon on our way. Crossing the Alps and Southern Europe the plane banked left once we were out over the Mediterranean routing us straight into Tel Aviv. This near the end of the second leg of a long trip I was anxious to get to a room, shower and sleep. After a short wait at passport control, I retrieved my roll aboard and made my way unchallenged through customs and out into an arrival hall. There I was greeted by expectant faces – all waiting for someone else. Some held one words signs that said things like, Greenburg or Sheraton or UNESCO. They are never for me but I can’t resist looking – as if by chance someone knew I was coming. Apparently no one did. Outside of the terminal the late afternoon sun felt good. A warm breeze tugged at the tops of the palm trees as I stood waiting for the bus that would take me the last thirty miles. Continue Reading

Don’t Let the Desert Eat You!

The Sea of Galilee and the Jordan River which drains it, The Dead Sea and The Red Sea – all lay at the bottom of the Great Rift Valley. Defined by an immense fault line, the Rift Valley continues three thousand mile south into Central East Africa, Just ahead of us the fault has split the earth so deeply that we were soon below sea level. Signs along the way mark the descent in 200 meter intervals. The highway twists back and forth in the rocky canyon and occasional flat spot opens to one side or the other. On one of these small deltas a ragged Bedouin tent flapped in the dry wind. A beat up old truck with a water tank mounted on its bed sat in the sun. I could see why they wanted my rental car. Herds of multicolored sheep and goats grazed optimistically in the flinty dirt. Words of a song came to mind, “If you can make it here you can make it anywhere!” Ya, Frank… ever tried it here? Continue Reading

The Dead Sea and desolate mountains rising sharply from its East and West shores. This is an environment as unforgiving as the politics of the people who live here. The only visible water is so salt and mineral saturated that it instantly, painfully attacks the mouth of anyone trying to drink it – a blessing considering that sickness and vomiting would result. People don’t swim there – they float – on their backs. Not knowing better, on a later visit, I dunked my head under the surface and came up with my whole face on fire. Futilely wiping burning, salt slick water from my eyes, I ran near blinded, for relief at one of the fresh water showers dotting a public beach. Lesson learned.

“Don’t let the desert eat you,” – the words I thought I had heard from one of the guards. One step outside the gates of garden-like Kakalya and I was in that desert – nothing but hot sun radiating against rock and barren soil. I’d been warned. Continue Reading