Category Archives: Spirituality

What would Frank do?


Alert: minor spoilers ahead. 

Our latest TV binge has been Shamelessthe american version of the dark British comedy, starring William Macy as Frank Gallagher. The series is perfectly named because Frank, a serial substance abuser, is truly shameless. He shamelessly lies, cheats and connives to support his habits without lifting a finger to work. I guess if he’d been born in a better neighborhood, he would have made a great CEO.

Shameless behavior isn’t limited to Frank, Steve/Jimmy steals cars and lies to his family and his lover. Sons Ian and Lip steal, swindle and deal to bring cash to their strapped family, the list goes on. But Frank is the most blatant and narcissistic. He’s a perfect role model.

We love the show. The producers shamelessly break every taboo of TV. Sometimes it’s so gross I have to look away. And then there are times when I can’t stop watching. If you’re disturbed by the human anatomy, don’t watch. The acting is stellar. Macy; Emmy Rossum as the oldest daughter valiantly trying to hold the family together; Joan Cusack gives a comedic performance for the ages as Frank’s sometime girlfriend; Emma Kenney as prepubescent daughter Debbie, leaves you wondering how such a young actor can be that good. There are no weak links in the cast.

Lately I started to think about adopting the motto, “What would Frank do?” I’ve been kind of drifting in life and I feel like having a guiding principle like that would be just what I need to straighten myself out.

For example, I was on a conference call the other day with some of my college classmates, planning our 45th reunion. We were brainstorming of ways to get more people to show up. Our school is kind of the NCAA champ of reunion attendance and people really get in the spirit, so the pressure is on if you’re a committee member. Most of the committee consists of the kind of achievement oriented, serious folks that you would expect from a school like ours. And then there’s me. Kind of a slacker by comparison, then and now.

One of the ideas we were tossing around was how to attract class athletes that might not come because of the class itself, but to the feelings they had for their team and the experience they had playing sports.

The idea, doubtlessly inspired by Frank, came into my head to get a list of all the athletes and send them notifications that they would be inducted into the Class of ’71 Sports Hall of Fame. Never mind that you rode the bench your entire career, it was your inspirational contribution to practices. Who could resist?

But, you say, we’d have to put together an award ceremony and have trophies and gimcrack of some kind. Stop being so negative! Frank wouldn’t even consider that a problem. After you get them to sign up and they arrive on campus expecting their moment of glory, just tell them, “Oh, yeah… We had to cancel that. Lack of interest. Sorry.”

But, alas, I don’t have the steadfast dedication to shamelessness that Frank displays. Too many times I’ve experienced the icy silence that follows the blurting of a brilliant, if out of box, idea. I held my tongue.

I can only dream of achieving Frank’s level of shamelessness.

OK this is weird

Snowy Buddha
I mentioned earlier that I had started meditating. I’ve found it very useful in maintaining a good outlook, being positive and resilient. However I am by nature extremely skeptical of new age mystical magical supernatural phenomenon. I don’t believe in ghosts.

I had an experience this week that was, shall I say, unreal. I often use guided meditation, and I particularly like a podcast called Meditation Oasis. The guide, Mary Maddox, has an incredibly soothing voice and she’s really helped me with my practice. The podcast has dozens of meditations for various situations and I recommend it highly.

One of the meditations is for “Morning Energy.” I use it often when I’m starting out my day and I’ve found that it did indeed seem to increase my energy. One of the things she does is to ask you to imagine a center of energy in the middle of your pelvic region. She asks you to imagine it spinning and glowing and absorbing light. These days I mostly experience prostate pain in that region. Weird stuff. Then she asks you to turn your attention to your feet, the soles of your feet and feel the energy flowing up from the “core” (of the universe?) through your feet, up your legs, through your body and up to the “crown chakra” at the top of your head and then feel it shoot out the top of your head like a fountain of energy. C’mon, really?

I did this exercise a few times and experienced some level of increased energy, but I stopped, partly because it just felt a little to “New Age” for my tastes. Then late last week I tried it again. I shifted the way I was trying to imagine that ball of energy and the flow of energy through my body. I’ll be damned if I didn’t have a very vivid experience of those things actually happening! My limbs were twitching as if a rush of energy was flowing through them and I really felt as if it was shooting out of the top of my head and showering down around me like some kind of fireworks display. I had the same experience the next time I tried it. I’ve never experienced anything like it. OK I’ve never experienced anything like it without being under the influence of psychedelics. Hey, I came of age in the late ’60s.

I almost hate to admit this happened, I’m a proud skeptic, after all. I’ve tried this twice since, but I was somewhat distracted and the experience was much less intense. I’m guessing that what was going on here was some sort of self-hypnosis, and I’ll admit that I’m pretty susceptible to suggestion and have always had a vivid imagination.

I will not be packing up for Tibet to go on a year-long silent retreat, a la Sam Harris, anytime soon.


Hi. Remember me, I used to blog here. Seems as if I had a writer’s block with the magnitude of Hoover Dam. I couldn’t think of anything to write and when I did think of something, I couldn’t write it. I’d start and then I would get the feeling that it was going nowhere, and it was just to exhausting to contemplate finishing.

I hope that’s going to change. I feel like it is. Continue reading OHM OMG