margonaut blog archive (2004-2014)


3 day novel contest prep

I am moving towards the 3 day novel contest that's happening this weekend. I'm going to sit in my treehouse and write for the long weekend.

I am preparing food ahead of time and taking care of everything I need to do so that I can truly focus as much as possible on writing from 12:01 a.m. Saturday to midnight Monday.

I will be taking a break on Monday when CBC Radio interviews me at 4:40ish to see how I'm doing! It will be available in B.C. on the radio and through the Vancouver station on the CBC Website. I'll be adding a short video entry to the site tomorrow afternoon with an update, then I'm going offline for the duration of the contest!

I am not sure what I'm in for with this experience, but I know it will be intense. Send Love.


drugs & "enlightenment"

The book Zig Zag Zen is about the connection between psychedelic drugs and Buddhism.

Drugs are always a controversial subject, and in my view it's never as simple as them being good or bad, despite what the "War on Drugs" people tell us.

My own personal views on this aren't completely clear, but I found the passage below food for thought. I'm interested in hearing your comments!

So how do we express and characterize the relationship between psychedelics and Dharma practice? The conventional answer, offered by many once-tripping Buddhists, is that drugs can "open the door." Without much work or knowledge on the part of the user, psychedelics can crack open consensus reality, expand identity beyond the confines of conventional self, induce ego-death, and unveil the connection between mind and the totality of the real. However "unauthentic" these experiences may be judged to be, many people respond to them by turning to Eastern practice in order to extend, comprehend, and deepen their insights. Once their practice has stabilized and opened up, many of these people abandon drugs as needless or even harmful distractions. In this view, spiritual practice becomes something like the liftoff of Apollo 11. Drugs point you toward the moon of enlightenment, and somewhat violently thrust you away from the gravity of consensus reality. Having done so, they can then be abandoned like the early stages of a rocket. Or as Alan Watts quipped, "Once you get the message, hang up the phone."


essential Buddha

I haven't read this book (yet) but really liked the passage from the book review below...

The Places That Scare You
All beings have the capacity to feel tenderness—to experience heartbreak, pain, and uncertainty. Therefore the enlightened heart of bodhichitta is available to us all. The insight meditation teacher Jack Kornfield tells of witnessing this in Cambodia during the time of the Khmer Rouge. Fifty thousand people had become communists at gunpoint, threatened with death if they continued their Buddhist practices. In spite of the danger, a temple was established in the refugee camp, and twenty thousand people attended the opening ceremony. There were no lectures or prayers but simply continuous chanting of one of the central teachings of the Buddha:

Hatred never ceases by hatred
But by love alone is healed.
This is an ancient and eternal law.


creative blasting

I am thinking about taking this project on as an exercise in creatively activating my inner writer.

Part of me is stoked & part of me thinks it's crazy.

Anyone want to sponsor me? :)

The 3-Day Novel Contest
The 3-Day Novel Contest is a writing challenge that has happened every Labour Day Weekend since 1977. Entrants pre-register and then grit their teeth, lock their doors and try to produce a literary masterwork in 72 hours. A panel of experienced judges reads the results and the winning novel is published. The contest was originally administered by a series of small publishing houses, but today, thanks to a host of volunteers and friendly literary groups, the 3-Day Novel Contest is now an independent organization.


inspiration from "the Universe"

Here's a gem from a favourite inspirational email list...

----- Original message -----
From: "The Universe" Date: Fri, 25 Aug 2006 03:25:18 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: TUT... A Note from the Universe

Did you know, Margo, that whenever someone says, "I think I'm on to something HUGE, I'm so excited, I love my life, I have total clarity..." it's like hitting an "On" button that throws countless supernatural, invisible mechanisms into action that gradually begin physically rearranging the props and events of their life so that
they'll soon yield something HUGE, generate excitement, inspire love and
provide clarity?

And that whenever someone says "I don't know what to do, it's all so hard, I hate my life, I don't ever want to come back... " it's like hitting an "Off" button...

Of course you did.
The Universe


negative activism vs. positive activism

I've been involved with a project that is highly "anti" something and while I agree that what's being complained about is criminal, I have decided to put FAR less focus on negative activism and FAR more focus on activism that seeks to provide hope & positive solutions, especially activism that involves art, theatre, music, and humour.

What we focus on grows. I seriously believe this. Focusing on what's wrong and what we don't want just brings more of it. This is why so many activists burn out. Good hearts, good intentions, wrong focus.

I heard that Mother Teresa would go to Peace events but not to Anti-War events. Did she know something here?

Realizing this has been a relief. Progress is happening.

Buckminster Fuller quotes:

You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

Don't oppose forces, use them.


questions to keep asking myself

Who do I want to be?
In this moment, how would She act?

Filed under: poetry 2 Comments

myriad ways to meditate

While I really had strong benefit from my intense experience at a 10 day Vipassana retreat, I don't agree with their idea that their method is the ONLY correct way to meditate.

The passage below (from Lorin Roche's website) goes into the idea that there are many ways to get into a meditative state (music comes to mind as one of mine) and the concept of creating a customized, personal approach to meditation.

Meditation FAQ
Meditation was probably discovered independently by hunters, singers, dancers, drummers, lovers and hermits, each in their own way. People tend to encounter meditative states whenever they throw themselves with total intensity into life’s callings. The knowledge of how to intentionally cultivate meditative states is a kind of craft knowledge -- those handy tips people pass on to each other. Meditation does not come from India or Tibet -- those are just places the knowledge rested for awhile, and the hermits in those wrote it all down. Bless them.

Human beings have been using tools for hundreds of thousands of years, according to the archaeologists. I consider it very likely they have been using sophisticated mental tools for tens of thousands of years.

Hunters, for example, sometimes have to make themselves still for hours. They have to merge with the forest and not even think, lest they scare the prey away. Then they leap into action with total precision at a moment’s notice -- that’s Zen in a nutshell. Hunters teach each other these skills, through verbal instruction and example.

Singers and dancers often enter meditative states through their passionate expression. Singers work with breath awareness in ways far more sophisticated than yoga. Lovers are often in a state of heightened appreciation which borders closely on meditation. Hermits are the ones we have heard the most from, because they kept the best notes. That is why we always think of yogis and bearded guys in the Himalayas when we think of meditation. But their way is only one small subset of the many different gateways into meditation.


like attracts like

This film illustrates the fact that whatever we focus on in our lives grows. If we are constantly thinking about what we don't want, it will simply send more energy to that and make it more likely to continue. This may sound crazy, but I guarantee it's worth a try. This is sometimes called The Law of Attraction and it works.

Though I think the production is overdramatic and there is too much of a focus on using the power of manifestation to get material objects (ah, the American way) this is definitely worth watching and I'm glad this information is being spread.

I consider it a good reminder.

The Secret
In this astonishing program are ALL the resources you will ever need to understand and live The Secret. For the first time in history, the world's leading scientists, authors, and philosophers will reveal The Secret that utterly transformed the lives of every person who ever knew it... Plato, Newton, Carnegie, Beethoven, Shakespeare, Einstein.

Now YOU will know The Secret. And it could change your life forever.


buy the book, or go to the library and read it for free

I've decided to stop putting those "buy it now" images in posts when I quote books as it looks tacky & isn't really effective anyway. For anyone who is curious, I made less than $3 in referral fees last quarter. I quote books I think people will enjoy, it's not about money.

However, I will still link to textually and do receive a small percentage when others choose to buy books from my links. All referral fees go directly into my book habit & no money is received. This generally amounts to 3 books a year.

With that said, I present this classic quotation:

For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much--the wheel, New York, wars and so on--while all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man--for precisely the same reasons.

— Douglas Adams, The Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy