Princess of Cups

I recall being surrounded by darkness. Amidst the darkness I sensed the presence of something behind it, or perhaps within the darkness itself. I perceived my surroundings like one might see a dark liquid sublimating into a clear cold glass of water—only this was happening in reverse. I began to experience the liquid darkness pulling away from my senses like a cloudy curtain of ink, pulled back to reveal some lost and forgotten secret.

My first sensation was this unwieldy feeling of being poured into mySelf. Piece by piece my consciousness was arriving into a new place, in a new body, with a new purpose. Upload complete. I was lying on my back. I tried opening my eyes but I couldn’t. There was a frighteningly bright sky that encapsulated everything in a shower of aggressive light. I couldn’t get acclimated. It made me nauseous. I started to feel around to get some sense of where I was. There were many jagged, damp, and windswept rocks all around me. I smelled salt in the air. I heard waves crashing together. I was becoming uncomfortable. The rocks were digging into my everything. I made an effort to open my eyes again. I sat up. I scanned my surroundings—rocks, in every direction. In the distance I saw a vast blue ocean and a beach. Waves were crashing around everywhere like a mob of angry shoppers trying to dogpile their way into a door meant to accommodate two.

I turned around.

There was a man sitting casually on a large rock beside me. He was dressed unusually. Greens, reds, blues, whites, yellows. He had a large hat flapping in the wind beside him. He was eating a shiny red apple. He broke out into a huge smile as soon as I locked eyes with him.

“You!” He said sitting up from the rock. “Like to sleep!”

He appeared to be in his eighties. He was vibrant and alive though. Well-groomed and gentlemanly. He had a salt and pepper goatee that Robin Hood would be proud of, and a thick Spanish accent. This old man—he was a rogue.

He looked upwards towards the cloudy, bright sunless sky. He flicked his right hand outward like a rapidly blooming lotus.

“Time—is not a luxury. We go!” He put on the giant chapeau that was sitting next to him and came down off of the rock to help me up. I was still weak. He pointed his finger to a large house in the distance. “Is okay?” He asked furrowing his brow. I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to make it. I nodded. “Yeah. I can make it.”

He smiled, clearly impressed with my resolve. We began to walk towards the house. I kept exchanging looks with the man trying to make sense of everything. His face seemed familiar. I couldn’t quite figure it out though. He shot another smile at me, “Hello, Nicole.”

Knee-co-Elle. That’s how he said my name. How did he even know my name? As we walked, I scanned him up and down again. Still nothing. I was getting tired. Negotiating the seaside terrain in a body I didn’t know how to use was difficult. The old man realized how tired I was getting and decided to stop for the evening. He casually gathered up some dry branches that littered the ground and arranged some rocks into a small fire pit.

As he lit the beach aflame, he turned his head slightly, “Just seeing fire—it makes you warm!”

It was getting dark. I curled up next to the crackling sound of embers and the sweet smell of burning wood. The fire’s touch defeated the chilly seaside breeze and I began to feel my body relax. He was right. Just seeing this fire—it made me feel warmer.

When I woke up, the morning began to slowly seep through the night sky. The fire was still going, and the man who started it, was still asleep, curled up comfortably in his colorful clothing. It was pretty clear that he stayed up most of the night to keep the fire going. I decided to let him sleep. I got up and gathered a few branches and tossed them onto the fire. I was tired again. I sat and watched the sun rise through my toes. Compared to the day before, I was much more aware of mySelf.

The man rolled over on his side. I could see his face through the fire. “Now I make you wait!” he said laughing. “I also like to sleep!”

I smiled. It felt new to smile. But smiling was hard.

The man sat up.

“I will explain to you a thing. Yesterday, you come to this place a vessel. Empty. A cloistered actress rehearsing her lines. But today—you will come to the stage.” He extended his hand out to me like a dashing Romeo without a plan. I took it trying hard not to smile. Just being around this man gave me energy.

We arrived at the house early in the afternoon. The front door was painted pearly white accented with a faux gold locking mechanism and handle. There wasn’t much to the door. It looked kind of cheap in a red Russian sort of way. It was lightweight and hollow.

The man stood before the door and opened it. A woosh of cold air came bursting forth out of the house. As he slowly pushed the door open, the house’s carpet was rubbing up against the door, dragging against the bottom of it like white noise.

“Here is your stage, princess of Cups. Today, we meet you.”

I entered. The old man followed. He closed the door behind us.

Inside, it was mostly quiet except for a nostalgic hum of a refrigerator in the kitchen. The closets in this house were all sliding doors with mirrors. There was a balcony leading outside which overlooked the ocean. Just past the kitchen there were rows of small washers and dryers. On my right there was a room with a single bunk bed. The house was abnormally sterile. I started to cry. This was my childhood home.

The man stood there and watched as I relived both the horrific and the beautiful. Memory. This man, he was right, what I was experiencing wasn’t a rehearsal. This was real. I felt weak and defeated. I needed some fresh air.

He put his hand on my right shoulder. “And now, the princess is a queen.”

He walked away from me and headed toward the balcony. He opened the door leading outside and beckoned me over to join him. I wiped away my tears and slowly made my way back outside.

The view from the balcony was spectacular. We were very high up above what appeared to be a Charybdis-type vortex, and in the distance sat the horizon, a cloudy, sunless sky, and endless endless blue.

He sat on the ledge of above the watery vortex and pulled something out of his pocket. Actually—he pulled three somethings. Three doubloons. He held one up for me to see. There was unreadable scribble on one side and on the other something far more grotesque.

“These coins—they are from a place, a place far from everything.”

He then spoke the name of the place “far from everything.” The word sounded like it was derived in an otherworldly language from some far-flung nebula. I didn’t understand the word other than the fact that it’s likely that this language made heavy use of glottal stops—perhaps to accommodate the abnormal physicality of a beast who’s mother tongue it belonged to.

“The old gods. You know them?”

“I know of them.” I replied.

“They are out there.” he motioned to the sky. “You will meet them. In the stars. You must meet every one.”

My skin started to crawl. I wasn’t ready for any of this.

“There comes a day when a princess becomes a queen. A queen becomes a knight. A knight, she understands what must be let go. That there is nothing lasting in this life. Everything must be let go, or always there will be sadness weighing very heavy on the heart. A knight—she understands this. And when she finally leaves to travel amongst the dangerous stars, she may be a fool. But she is a fool daring to let go of the everything. She alone can kiss the lips of failure and live to tell of it.”

We sat in silence for a few minutes listening to the ocean below. I felt relaxed. My eyes met with his. Again with the smiles.

“I want to give you something Miss Nicole. But first, you must be willing to leave behind this cup and become the fool.”

“Cup?” I asked.

The vortex was swirling violently below us.

He placed one of the alien doubloons onto the balcony. Clink. He smiled. “This, is your ticket to the stars. But only a fool would take it. So, you should—think it over.”

Just then, the old man began to lean back on the balcony’s ledge. I was sure that he was going hurl himself into the vortex, but instead he stood up.

“I have a question,” I asked. “If you have to be a fool to take one of these, and being a fool requires letting go, how do you have three of those coins?”

“That—is something I cannot tell you. What I can tell you is that you already have everything you need.”

He started to walk back inside the house.

I still couldn’t figure out who the man was. Until I finally did. My eyes started to well up.

“I am Paul Atreides.” I said.

The man stopped walking towards the door and started to laugh as if it had been five hundred years since he first heard that name. Paul Atreides. He turned to face me one last time, and said nothing. But I swore that I heard him whisper “I am too.”

Princess of Cups

Behind Invisible Weapons

Close your eyes. And repeat after me…

Belief is strange. It has a magical quality that can completely transform reality if you buy into it. It’s so strange that if we’re told something enough times we might grow to adopt it as “Truth.” Even if that “Truth” is actually an invisible weapon disguised to hurt you.

Life inherently has no meaning. Any meaning that we attach to life begins first as a thing created by the mind. Therefore, any meaning that we ascribe to the world in front of us is first derived from the one we cannot see.

When we are young, we live like immortals. Bathing in the ignorance of youth. Waiting for time to never end, we are bewildered by the possibilities that the tomorrow might bring.

What feels good? Everything that doesn’t hurt. Until everything that is good hurts you.

In the end, everyone leaves. This is reality. Believe in free will or do not. Are you awaited in Hell? Or will you rot away below the earth without a care? Are you destined for greatness? Or do you carve your own path? In the end, everyone leaves. This is reality.

Behind Invisible Weapons

Real Working Girls Buy Surgical Augmentations — My Impressions of the Cyberpunk Genre

Cyberpunk is exceedingly pastiche. It imitates our own postmodern absurdity much more than it explores a bizarre non-existent side-future. I suppose that this is why it’s appealing to a certain type of individual.

Cooking is as much a technology as the smartphone is. Technology, in general, isn’t so much something that I associate with the future so much as it is a product of the mind used to accomplish some end. In “Neuromancer,” Gibson’s portrayal of women fringes on treating them as mere sex objects. Linda Lee, in particular, is essentially Case’s sexual drug. Molly is quite an oddity within the general scope of Gibson’s world because she breaks away from what we come to expect of women in the first part of the book. Molly is without a shadow of a doubt a gender transgressor. She’s pretty I guess. But also pretty deadly due to her surgical augmentations. Of which were paid for through sex (she was a meat puppet). Ultimately, she uses sex as a tool to break away and isolate herself from the “normal” life that she might’ve had otherwise. As a reader, Molly is even more attractive because of this. She even leaves Case high and dry at the end…


It’s all very interesting because people out in the horrific world are slowly becoming aware of the fact that they have the ability to decide what they want to be. To many, when they become confronted with this they either:

1. Turn tail and deny it as unnatural–which it is, considering we are already unnatural beings. (their loss though)

2. They embrace it and ultimately integrate closer to their authentic Selves. (best case scenario, also the rarest)

3. Use it as a band-aid to address another underlying issue that doesn’t become apparent until it’s too late. (worse case scenario, most common)

Everyone can craft their identity. Does that mean that humanity is falling away from us though? Or is there something else to learn as a result of this? To me, it’s pretty apparent that most people can’t handle the speed at which technology is shaping the world because it constantly forces us to define and re-define who we are at every level of who we are. To observe the tangible insanity of this, you don’t need to look very hard.

Real Working Girls Buy Surgical Augmentations — My Impressions of the Cyberpunk Genre

Finding Ekstasis: Xeper in the Art of Fighting

Last spring, I began studying Baguazhang. I had spent the year before acclimating to a new job that required me to be in an office forty hours a week. About eight months into my tenure as an office dwelling pencil pusher I started feeling sick. My body ached. My stomach was constantly in shambles. I started shaking all the time. This wasn’t surprising considering the lack of physical activity I was getting between my day job and producing music at home. Both of these things required me to be sedentary for upwards of eighteen hours a day. I would go to bed and repeat the cycle the next day, which, in retrospect is a horrifying experience to re-live in my mind. The process of breaking out of this self-destructive cycle began with my investigation into traditional Japanese fan dancing, Wing Chun, and Tai Chi. Unfortunately, I couldn’t participate in the fan dancing classes because they happened while I had work. The local Wing Chun school was quite promising, but it was about forty minutes away from where I lived. I did actually start doing Tai Chi for about two months with a rather nice group of people at the local Chinese Cultural center in Tucson, but I quickly bailed on them after realizing that it was a glorified swingers club for people above the age of 55.

I began searching for solutions closer to my apartment and discovered a school that taught internal Chinese martial arts literally a mile down the road. I wrote their association and was informed about their meeting times and attended my first class. The school was hidden in plain sight. The only indicator that the school was different than the houses around it were the two ivory “foo dogs” that stood watch at the entrance. When I entered, I was greeted by paintings and photos of smiling Bagua and Xingyiquan practitioners Dong Hai Chuan, Liang Zhenpu, Gao Yisheng, Zhang Junfeng, Li Guichang and a group of five people slapping the shit out of their bodies. At first I wanted to laugh, but I was quickly beckoned into the circle to join in on the “light” body slapping.


I later discovered that light body slapping is done at the start of every class to essentially wake the body up by getting the blood flowing. In the context of my initiation this fit in well as a way to physically explore what it meant to literally go from white to red and back again. With every slap, my circulation improved, my blood rose to the surface of my skin, and for a few hours several times a week I began to realize the importance of using exercise as a way to quiet the brain.

Notice, I did not say my practice of Baguazhang shuts down the brain. Baguazhang is an internal martial art. It works by activating different structures in the brain that I don’t normally use while simultaneously quieting the prefrontal cortex. This allows me to stimulate a state of Flow by being able to focus wholly on what I’m doing without being interrupted by my self-consciousness. Bruce Lee referred to this as the “emptying of the cup.”


Bagua has given me an outlet to stimulate my ability to achieve a state of Flow with greater frequency and ease. My initial experience with using martial arts in this way didn’t come until I was able to have a grasp the basics of my chosen fighting art. Which is why I’ve only really begun to write about it now–this is a new, unexpected development in my personal quest to constantly improve.

Flow requires us to bring several automatized skills together in order to kick up our focus to a level that allows us to experience it. It takes awhile when we begin to learn a new skill or artform before we can actually experience a brain quieting flow-state. Steven Kotler, author of “The Rise of Superman: Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance” would describe this experience as “Transient Hypofrontality:”

“In flow, parts of the brain aren’t becoming more hyperactive, they’re actually slowing down, shutting down. The technical term for this is transient, meaning temporary, hypo frontality. Hypo[…]the opposite of hyper means to slow down, to shut down, to deactivate. And frontality is the prefrontal cortex, the part of your brain that houses your higher cognitive functions, your sense of morality, your sense of will, your sense of self.”

I get a sense of deep embodiment when I practice Baguazhang. There’s nothing quite like being locked eye to eye with another person while focusing on multiple outlets of your own physicality. The ancient Greeks called this deep embodiment, ἔκστασις (Ekstasis). Ekstasis can be best described as an altered state beyond the normal “sense of self.” Ekstasis is NOT Flow, but it is a byproduct of being able to achieve Flow on a regular basis. In a Setian context, being able to experience Ekstasis means tapping into my “divine pattern.”

Now just imagine how amazing I feel by being able to achieve Ekstasis a several times a week! Baguazhang has all but become not only a powerful tool, but a conduit in which I can interface with my higher self so long as I continue to practice it or something like it.

Tapping into Flow takes practice. When it comes to my practice of Bagua I fail at tapping into it several times a session. This is usually caused by me trying to mentally dissect forms or movements. In terms of my physicality this “over-thinking” comes from making use of my prefrontal cortex.

I’ve experienced wonderful success imprinting myself with the overload of information I get from my practice the less “think” about it. And the less I think about it, the more I experience Ekstasis by having meaningful personal breakthroughs on a regular basis.

For instance, I was able to fully retain the positions of the nine palaces and the thirteen elbow form last month after working with them each for half an hour. Everything prior to that took several months for me learn. Part of my ability to retain this information comes from the challenge of seeing if I could actually do it, which I could surprisingly, but part of it also comes from a grasp of the basic movements I’ve spent perfecting since last spring.

Bagua has taught me how to get in touch with my immediate physicality–a.k.a. those things that I can see in the mirror. It has also taught me that I am fully capable of interfacing with of my physicality that I previously regarded as impossible to connect with like blood flow, internal energy, successful breathing, and various parts of my brain.

While it could be argued that certain notions of “emptying” the cup could be misconstrued as more of a right hand path philosophy I would argue that the “loss of self” that is experienced by learning to stimulate Flow through shutting down the prefrontal cortex requires the same control it takes to move our sovereign consciousnesses through the objective universe. “Emptying the cup” is something I do voluntarily for the purpose of stimulating Flow in an effort to connect with my divine pattern through Ekstasis.






Finding Ekstasis: Xeper in the Art of Fighting

Almost Certain Hurt

I’ve been thinking about a lot of different things lately. Death is among one of the most intriguing things I’ve really been jumping into. I feel that as I’ve grown older it’s around me more and more. I’m more keen to it.

Winners and losers. They will always be there. Last year, I stepped on a few people consciously. For the first time in my life I stood by myself first and let other people in my life take a back seat. When we stand to lose the things important to us we have two options. One, we can choose to be stepped on–because we’re too scared at the possible consequences that might come out of being the one who does the stepping. Two, we break a few eggs.


Belief. We make up a large majority of the things that cause us almost certain hurt inside of our heads. Selective hearing. We can consciously choose to elect ignorance in the same way that we consciously choose to fuck a few people over in our lives to get ahead. Fucking other people over isn’t exclusive to those subjectively evil individuals in the world.

We are held back because we hold ourselves back. Desire. He who restrains it does so because he is weak enough to be restrained. But why? Because we are taught that weakness is okay. Weakness is not okay. Weakness means you are not fit. Not being fit means you’re off to the gallows. You dig the holes and bury yourselves.

Everything we know, everything that we think we know exists only on the basis of what we experience. What we perceive. There are so many things out there in the so-called universe that we cannot perceive. An infinity of possibilities, an ocean of knowledge you and I will never know or understand. I used to think that uploading my consciousness into a computer would be the most sovereign thing for me to do at the end of my life. But now I’m not so sure. What part of my monkey brain wants to keep living on in the same way that I do now?

Almost Certain Hurt

Safety, the Illusion — Change in Five Steps for the Self-Styled Doer

Here I detail five steps in working towards change. Looking to shake things up? Looking to get motivated? Then maybe you should try some of these strategies. I had a lot of fun writing this one.

1. Awareness

In the case of bad habits the first and most vital step is becoming aware of the things in our lives that we want to change. Most people are fully aware of their bad habits. Choosing to actually do something about the things we want to change, however, separates movers and shakers from the undeniably lazy. It’s easy to be aware of a problem you have. Even a lazy person knows what aspects of themselves they want to change. The difference is choice. The lazy individual chooses apathy when it comes to confronting change. It is required that a person plays an active part in confronting the problem they’ve become aware. Without this awareness it is impossible to begin the act of changing it.

Personal growth and previous triumph in solving life’s problems gives the effective individual the necessary tools to become efficient in dealing with this phase of solving a bad habit or a problem. Many, but not all individuals, cease to grow with respect to this awareness phase at an adolescent level of maturity. That is, Mom asks Johnny “what is wrong?” to which Johnny replies, “Nothing.” Johnny knows what’s wrong deep down. He either chooses not to confront his problem due to fear of being judged, fear of ineptitude, fear of the future…etc., etc. or deals with it by evaluating what is wrong and making an active choice to confront his anxieties and the dark unknown.

Don’t be Johnny. Grow up.

tumblr_n3n4myo0to1tt3ubdo1_5002. Evaluation & Honesty

The idea of having a confrontation with a bad habit suggests that overcoming fear of change plays a big part in the awareness process, but moreso in the evaluation of a problem. A person who has a disposition to create and cultivate change within themselves is able to confront fear directly because they are able to evaluate exactly how their bad habits are triggered. Why do we do the things we do? The first step in the evaluation process is finding the strength to be honest with yourself. As Søren Kierkegaard once wrote, “there are two ways to be fooled…one is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.” It is easy to convince ourselves that our bad habits can be positive. If left unchecked and ignored, we take a back seat to our id monsters and choose to be less conscious to the negative aspects our problems may bring us. We must be honest with ourselves. We must have the personal fortitude to step outside of ourselves to question everything that surrounds our bad habits or problems. Without honesty, defeating the things within ourselves we want to change becomes an impossibility. Procrastination, self-inflicted sabotage, frustration, anger, and extreme depression are all results of personal dishonesty.

3. Dealing with Setbacks – Cultivating Motivation

The pre-programmed American was born for quitting. Quite often the biggest obstacle in overcoming a problem or bad habit is lack of positive foresight. People are predisposed for disappointment because we are programmed to expect immediate results for everything. The fork will indicate that a process of defeating a problem is undercooked, and yet many people will choose to remove our processes from the proverbial oven before they’ve been fully developed.

It is absolutely okay to want something now. The way you use that desire will determine how to deal with setbacks. We can choose to get frustrated when the things we want are far outside of our reach, or we can opt to use our desires as fuel for motivation. While powering through a process may be the inherent knee jerk reaction to getting a process to work, the best method to working on something is in short focused bursts. The best work occurs when we can aim our undivided attention in the direction of the things we need to make happen.

Please look forward to it.

In addition to positive foresight we also must learn acceptance when dealing with setbacks. We must first grow to accept that some processes take large amounts of time to generate any progress. This is part of the process of change that we cannot control in an objective sense. Dealing with the passage of time is all perspective, especially when that time is, at face value–devoid of pleasure. Slowing down, taking in the details, and developing an autotelic sense of self-discovery within the subjective universe of yourself is a good first start in dealing with the prospect of acceptance of time. Without time, there is no personal growth. Without personal growth there is nothing positive to cultivate in the process of overcoming our problems.

There will be times when we have to do and redo the same process over hundreds of times without apparent progress. Accepting the possibility of this need allows us to to achieve greater understanding of ourselves and to the things that cause our setbacks. Eventually, learning to not make the same mistake twice in a row results in progression.

In order to deal with setbacks, we must recharge our motivations to act in order to positively move towards our goals. At times, we must accept that we will be incapable of overcoming distraction. We also must accept our limitations—we need to rest. Without rest it is easy to become burnt out which is toxic to maintaining our motivations.

We must be vigilant. What is our intent in cultivating change? Is that intent directly connected with the outcome of our eventual endgame?

4. Creating Change—Safety, the Illusion

Nothing ever worthwhile is ever easy. Sure, playing it safe gives us a certain level of comfort. But safety can result in stasis and stagnation. Being comfortable results in no progression. When it comes to change safety is a negative. Safety is easy, therefore it isn’t worthwhile.

I’m not saying that we must plunge headfirst without abandon into the all-encompassing darkness of the future in order to create change. Learning to anticipate our next step is a vital part of the process in creating change. Granted, we won’t always be able to anticipate our next steps, but we must temper ourselves in order to deal with the unexpected bumps in the road. We must be aware of our shortcomings. We must be able to evaluate ourselves with unfiltered honesty.

Everything we want lies on the other side of fear. Creating change is an active process that requires us to challenge ourselves to face the unknown aspects of our potential and tap into them. By thinking about changing something about ourselves, that begins the process to actualize it. Choosing whether or not to act on actualizing change is directly related in overcoming our anxieties and fears.

How do we know the change we are about to attempt will work or not? The worst that can occur is failure, in which we owe to ourselves to learn from our experiences and pick ourselves back up again to fight another day.

tumblr_ngarjtnDz31stu0tlo1_500There will always be quitters. There will always be people too lazy to change themselves. There will always be people who fail and choose to die in bleak deserts of their own self-doubt. Those people do not exist in our world. As self-styled doers we must not give into our inherent animal tendencies to wither away and die. We must active be aware that it is our responsibility to ourselves to move forward.

Change requires planning. It requires persistence to continue amidst opposition. It also requires the ability to set aside idiosyncratic cannibal propensities and obsessive counter intuitive behaviors. We do this in order to direct ourselves in a positive direction towards the change we wish to cultivate within our subjective universe. Change means pursuing moderation over excess. Finesse over brute force. Patience over frustration. Change involves the will and the ability to do. To bring our subjective desires into the continuity of the objective house which exists in the world outside of ourselves.

5. Understanding Change

When the resolution of our problems results in the development of new problems, we know that we have changed something in our world. When problems are solved, new ones will always arise. Without this, we would fall back into stagnation. A life without problems is no life at all. A stagnant, comfortable life is just that—one devoid of self-reflection. It is illusory, and non-existent. Without the prospect of personal growth, there is no prospect of a meaningful life.

Understand that when it comes to enacting positive change in your life safety is illusory. Safety is limitation. It will work against you every time. Don’t be fooled by your id monster into stasis and comfort. Work against your natural inclinations. Produce new self-created standards in which to live by. Force yourself to feel excellent–because when you consciously make a decision to confront your fears and enact change you will embody excellence.


Safety, the Illusion — Change in Five Steps for the Self-Styled Doer