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Welcome

NP Journal for experimenting with ideas, Copyright © 2011-2018 LJ Frank. All Rights Reserved. 

 

Narrative Paths Journal

“We think we know but have yet to discover.”  Thomas Aquinas
“Narrative Paths Journal is a literary magazine focusing on new philosophies and ideas.”  Uriél Dana

 

NP Journal for experimenting with ideas initiated 6/2011 within the context of experiences – rooted in treks, voyages, studies and work. The access, integrative content and design of the journal are evolving with the goal of enhancing the reader’s experience. The views and opinions expressed in the Journal are those of the individual authors. 

Impressions and visits to date: 2,000,000+ from over 100 countries and regions.

 

CONTENTS

About Us

Brief overview of  the vision and people who offer their insights and expertise. Includes a list of NP Journal Group & Contributors: editor, assistant editor, guest columnists, writers, poets and photographers.

For comments, suggestions, questions, being a guest columnist, interviewee or photographer: Contact: L J Frank at narrative.paths@gmail.com

Announcements

Introductions and links to evolving ideas, philosophies, trends with both narrative and poetic reflections on diverse issues.

Interviewees, columnists and other contributors may list their publications and presentations – books, articles, book signing events, links to periodical, radio, television, YouTube, theater and film productions, talks, speeches, other programs and performances.

Art

Includes some of Frank’s works of abstract expressionism. Numerous works are on display in business, professional offices, non-profits and private homes.

Guest Column

We welcome guest columnists/contributors. Please note: We like to experiment with ideas and explore different philosophies, topics and trends. We offer links to your online sites, updates to your writings/publications, social media presentations. Guidelines for the length of a written article – up 1500 plus words, give or take. Much depends on subject matter and author. Photos, videos, film, You Tube, podcasts, art works, cartoon drawings and other formats are welcome. Contact us for questions, suggestions or comments.

Current: Three brown men, a petite, old white lady and a flat tire by Mary Bryant.

Inquiries

Philosophical approaches to a variety of artistic, cultural, literary, political, religious, scientific and social matters. Current: Journeying on the dirt road of politics and the soul L J Frank

Interviews

Strives to offer insightful and thought-provoking observations of varying lengths in areas that are engagingly diverse and leaning towards the paradigmatic. Current: Race, towards an understanding, Interview with Vanessa Holloway.

NPJ Book Review

Books from the past to the present reviewed within the inquisitive, exploring nature of the journal. All reviews are by L J Frank unless otherwise noted.

Publications 

“A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.”  Lao Tzu, Daoist philosopher

Preview listing of L J Frank’s published books with links to retail availability. Frank is also working on two books including a philosophically oriented autobiography.

Rhythms

Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home — Japanese poet, Matsuo Bashō

Contrasting shapes of experiences, ideas, dreams and thoughts primarily in the form of experimental poetry, short essays and conversations.The words amusing, romantic, disquieting, nonlinear, rhythmless, obscure and existential are a few of the descriptors for these jottings.

Index

Links to archived Contributors, Announcements, Guest Column, Inquiries, Interviews, NPJ Book Review and Rhythms.

NPJ Briefing

The Briefing includes updates on Visitors by country, region and union.  Also, includes the Publisher’s Log.

Please send Comments and Questions about N P Journal to the attention of L J Frank at narrative.paths@gmail.com

 

Primordial Soup by Kathryn Thompson

In the quiet moments

I take deep breaths,

that turn into deep sighs,

and an inconsolable grief percolates up

from the depths of my being,

I feel  sorrow and grief so unbearable

I know not what it is

or whence it comes.

pause breathe

 

I cannot comprehend the enormity of this presence

it is threatening to engulf me,

I am drowning in a sorrow so much deeper,

darker than I have ever known or could imagine

the enveloping of an inky  blackness

fills me with fear.

pause, watch the breath

 

I am drowning

I am falling

teetering on the edge of the dark abyss

there is nothing to hold on to, nothing to hold me

pause  and watch the breath

 

a still small voice gently whispers

wait

sit patiently in the darkness

the darkness is the source of all life

like a mother holding her beloved child, the dark earth holds the seed

you are but a seed waiting in the darkness

and as the seed breaks through the hard casing of its shell,

and grows towards the light

your freedom is waiting to break through the hard resistance

of your fear that holds you so tight

pause breathe

trust in life that brought you forth

as the seed sprouts, you may shed your pain

so  sit  patiently, in the darkness of unknowing

place your fear on the wings of your breath

let it go into orgasmic surrender.

 

* A over-educated expat Brit, artist, poet, writer, etc, living in the Northern Territory, Australia (28 yrs with brief interlude of 2 yrs in New Zealand). Worked in Aboriginal education at the Red Centre for 25 years. Currently, working as a counselor and therapist.

Image for Writings

Credit: Jean Philippe-Cypres, photographer

I was born in a country with political boundaries and within a capitalistic system. Capitalism is based on profit. Some economists suggest capitalism is necessary for survival at least to a degree. In the extreme, it encourages greed. In such a system, one is a political and an economic creation as much as being of flesh and blood. I have identity cards, licenses, records, documents, certificates, diplomas, degrees and job evaluations that measure, label and categorize me now all in digital format and allow me to work or shove me out the door at will. At will is a pretentious legal term that philosophically suggests my existence and value exists at the discretion of others. Competition is inbred into the capitalist philosophical disposition and has become a political creation. Genetics is another story. The artificial and the biological are now woven with the technological. Consider artificial intelligence with thinking software and the future of human welfare.

Unless you have a pre-existing condition of surplus wealth, then you can’t live satisfactorily outside the boundaries of the country or rules of the “political state of being” in which you are born and are subject to. Without a record of yourself, you are without a home unless you have sufficient financial resources. It’s the economics of power. Those who control the wealth are mostly in control or at least the framework exists for such a liberty. Wealth effectuates liberty of movement. And, the earth turns giving the illusion that the sun rises. Art, music and poetry are just three expressions to help assuage our physically transitory existence and the setting of the sun. Philosophically one could say one is moving as the earth whirls at approximately one thousand miles an hour. That’s not wealth, or liberty of movement, merely the power of observation.

The politics of liberty are interesting. Libraries, fire departments, schools, colleges, water, sewer, roads, etc., are dependent on government and government is only as successful to the degree that it’s nonprofit and its services are available to all people. To suggest that supply side economics is an answer is indeed to play into the hands of the superstitious. Some have previously called it “voodoo economics.” In different words, outsourcing is about profit-making. The poor get lost in the shuffle and corporations explore their greed.

I think it’s become natural for politicians to vacillate between politics, policy-making and fundraising; the last tends to take up most of their time. Some days I wonder how a Navy man served an insightful four terms during the depression and WWII, and how much he and his cousin at the turn of the century from another party who also understood what it meant to “possess a conscience” and a heart, were able to keep corporations from gaining too much control. Democracy was defined differently than it is today. What was considered progression in one era is redefined as digression in another period.

History is continually revised as new perspectives and insights are either eschewed or espoused within the context of power and the packaging of ideas. For example, the poor have their place and will always be with us. Is that a serious argument? Rationalizations are a calming self-help spiritual ointment fostered by the wealthy and supported by religious proverbs inscribed under the authority of politically inspired rulers.

Political jargon and epithets are repeated for a purpose and are antithetical to the spiritual. Repetition creates affirmation. Bias is infused within the believer’s mind. Cultish behavior grows. Collusion exists between the person(s) who purposefully collude and those receptive to it. People, who want power, collude. Manipulation, arrogance, bullying behavior and narcissism are siblings to fear, insecurity, self-loathing and true belief.

Democracy is a nice term for the pre-twenty first century. It is now being redefined and reshaped into an oligarchic and authoritarian framework. Packaging ideas point toward the espoused belief that prosperity is for winners.

The gospel of prosperity has infected the theologies of modern religions based on ancient metaphors. The book of Revelation was determined sacred by men and written by a man seeking wealth, for who would desire an eternity wandering streets paved of gold singing alleluia to an invisible “Being.” It was allegory filled with metaphors from an individual I suspect who was “naturally high” on some plants he was ingesting at the time. Still, much can be learned from ancient and medieval mystics. The insights gained can be profound and provocative and retain a spiritual quality.

Artificially defined sacred works achieve power when they subjugate material wealth to the wealth of the soul – the ethics of conscience. The human spirit can easily be infected with the virus of the unethical. In times of volatile political change, spiritual greed and material greed can easily be woven together in a viral fabric and find itself contaminated with ignorance, arrogance and abuse.

While in Bombay (Mumbai), India several decades ago I spoke with an old Hindu woman walking alongside a dirt road with a stick in her hand to balance her gait. She nodded and greeted me and we talked as we headed toward a village. At one point we stopped at a restaurant and sat outside at a small table with two chairs. We had some tea and she smiled and looked into my eyes and said, “You are both fortunate and wealthy in experience. Your soul is in your breath. Gandhi intimated poverty is the worst form of violence to the human being; money is only needed for the basis of food and shelter. Until one suffers and experiences life you can’t uncover the joy of seeking something deeper within your soul. I can see in your eyes that you are on that journey.”

And when you showed me the Bridge*

in the morning,

and me leaning on the lamppost wiping eyes,

Nobody knew I cried

or would have cared anyway

slip on the water and fall

down the stairs in the hall

and the long line of chairs,

And when you showed me long gold hair on a cheshire cat,

I knew God you had better plans than that.

 

*Belle island Bridge. Detroit.

Artist: Kathryn Thompson

Bring me your shattered mind,

your bruised and battered soul,

and lay your weariness across my lap

like swathes of silken cloth.

Let me stroke the worn tapestry of

your torn misery.

 

My strong smooth thighs hold you

as you turn your face to nuzzle

deep into my musky darkness.

The ancient call and response

springs to life once more,

your yearning, my wanting.

I stoke your head and press you to me

and sigh

as I flow into your hungry sucking mouth.

 

*A over-educated expat Brit, artist, poet, writer, etc, living in the Northern Territory, Australia (28 yrs with brief interlude of 2 yrs in New Zealand). Worked in Aboriginal education at the Red Centre for 25 years. Currently, working as a counselor and therapist.

I was driving to Denver to pick up a few members of my family at the international airport. I was on Interstate 25 on the south end of the metropolitan area in very heavy traffic – six lanes in each direction. It was a clear sky kind of day and the sun was already heading to the western horizon.

My right rear tire blew out – a tire that was only three weeks old.  Fortunately, I was in the right lane and was able to get on the shoulder safely – next to one of those large concrete barrier walls.  The traffic was so heavy and fast I was feeling dizzy and very uneasy. Perhaps frightened is a better word. Yeah that’s the right word.

I started moving stuff out of the trunk so I could get to the tire and jack and was having a very difficult time getting the tools out of their home. They felt bolted down. I couldn’t help but notice all of the SUVs, Hummers and sleek European and American vehicles whizzing by – cars bearing Godly and righteous bumper stickers proclaiming their love for the lord, love for their neighbors, love for the troops, love for every unborn beating heart, but they had no love for this diminutive 59-year-old white-haired woman – this woman who by now was shaking a bit with a tear or two dripping down her cheek. Perhaps it was the last-minute chilly wind that occurs in the mile high city that caused the watery eyes. I doubt it.

My saviors arrived in a small old beat up white pick up truck with painting equipment in the back. They pulled up in front of my car and out rolled three brown men in baseball caps with white paint spattered on their skin and their clothes. They immediately took over the task at hand.

These gentlemen spoke no English – but none was needed for them to see a woman in dire need. No English was needed to help in perfect team work to get the tire changed in about 5 minutes; no English was needed for them to refuse the $20 I offered; no English was needed for them to accept the small bag of freshly made chocolate chip cookies that I had for family; no English was needed for them to understand my gratitude when I put my small and perfectly manicured hand in each of their tire-dirty, paint sprinkled brown hands to convey my thanks. No English was needed as we nodded and waved and smiled at each other as we each drove away on our separate trips.

I thought about it as I drove towards the airport and couldn’t reconcile or understand why language, color of skin or country of origin are something to fear. We’re all on the same planet. From a distance in space without a zoom-in camera you can’t notice the artificial boundaries. It’s difficult to defend the indefensible. And, my experience also suggests you may find a bit of humanity in the most unexpected of circumstances.

* A romantic traveler

Help a Library Transcribe Magical Manuscripts & Recover the Charms, Potions & Witchcraft That Flourished in Early Modern Europe and America

Magic is real—hear me out. No, you can’t solve life’s problems with a wand and made-up Latin. But there are academic departments of magic, only they go by different names now. A few hundred years ago the difference between chemistry and alchemy was nil. Witchcraft involved as much botany as spellwork. A lot of fun bits of magic got weeded out when gentlemen in powdered wigs purged weird sisters and gnostic heretics from the field. Did the old spells work? Maybe, maybe not. Science has become pretty reliable, I guess. Standardized classification systems and measurements are okay, but yawn… don’t we long for some witching and wizarding? A well-placed hex might work wonders.

Say no more, we’ve got you covered: you, yes you, can learn charms and potions, demonology and other assorted dark arts. How? For a onetime fee of absolutely nothing, you can enter magical books from the Early Modern Period.

READ FULL POST

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)

Censorship, the suppression of words, images, or ideas that are “offensive,” happens whenever some people succeed in imposing their personal political or moral values on others. Censorship can be carried out by the government as well as private pressure groups. Censorship by the government is unconstitutional.

In contrast, when private individuals or groups organize boycotts against stores that sell magazines of which they disapprove, their actions are protected by the First Amendment, although they can become dangerous in the extreme. Private pressure groups, not the government, promulgated and enforced the infamous Hollywood blacklists during the McCarthy period. But these private censorship campaigns are best countered by groups and individuals speaking out and organizing in defense of the threatened expression.

READ FULL POST

Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research

Stronger evidence for a weaker Atlantic overturning

04/11/2018. The Atlantic overturning – one of Earth’s most important heat transport systems, pumping warm water northwards and cold water southwards – is weaker today than any time before in more than 1000 years. Sea surface temperature data analysis provides new evidence that this major ocean circulation has slowed down by roughly 15 percent since the middle of the 20th century, according to a study published in the highly renowned journal Nature by an international team of scientists. Human-made climate change is a prime suspect for these worrying observations.

Artist: Kathryn Thompson

Sitting outside in the dark,

bare feet pushed

into the warm sand,

I gaze up at the night sky

and there is Venus sitting

right in the lap of Scorpio.

I think of you.

The evening breeze

gently cools my skin

and suddenly I am there right beside you,

on the rug in the garden,

both of us smiling dozily

in the still afternoon.

You rouse me from my laziness

and still half stoned we pedal into the fading light,

down to the waters’ edge to be part of the sunset.

We laugh and talk and kiss and pet

then snuggle up as the evening falls around us.

The stars begin their twinkling

and Venus magically shines so bright.

You pull up my skirt and expose my bare skin

to the moonlight and the salty air.

Kissing me tenderly,

you fuck me intensely

and the cool evening breeze caresses my thighs.

You suck my nipples and make me cry out

just as the birds coo their last goodnight.

Back on our bicycles, we cruise home

whizzing round the corners, free wheeling all the way

my heart bursting.

*A over-educated expat Brit, artist, poet, writer, etc, living in the Northern Territory, Australia (28 yrs with brief interlude of 2 yrs in New Zealand). Worked in Aboriginal education at the Red Centre for 25 years. Currently, working as a counselor and therapist.

The Shame Nation: The Global Epidemic of Online Hate by Sue Scheff, Melissa Schorr (2017) With a forward by Monica Lewinski.

My take: This work serves as a thought-provoking idea resource to those who wish to counter online hate.

Anonymous hate filled trolls have ruined the lives and careers of people. Hate is a growing problem worldwide and instantly manifested on the Internet. Words do hurt and can effectuate a chain reaction from a single individual to a family and a community sucking out the marrow of a meaningful life and leaving a mere skeleton of hope. Hate is rooted in fear, insecurity and vanity.

The challenge is further complicated when hate is institutionalized and people are marginalized. Hate is a debilitating behavior. The perpetrators seem to bathe in self-entitled loathing of others, spreading disinformation and misinformation as if somehow such digital bullying and trolling elevates themselves in their own eyes and among their peers. They feel they are right and others who disagree with them are wrong. The evidence they present is not based on facts but emotion. Reality is distorted and lies and illusions replace it. Hate eats away at human dignity and feeds ignorance and arrogance. The downstream effects can be catastrophic. What kind of human being takes glee in the literal or figurative suicide of another human being?

Whether in the form of politicians patting people on the back while looking for the soft spot or those individuals or groups in search of greater power and control, the ultimate victims are both the individual and a civil society. Public shaming and bullying affects human empathy, trust and dignity. The authors show how to fight its devastating effects.

Though this work doesn’t cover presidential behavior the implications point in that direction. When the leader of a country spreads hate and purposeful disinformation then the fabric of democracy is torn and divisions are extremely difficult to stitch back together in a single generation.

The authors offer their insights to alleviate and counter public shaming…for hate is a symptom of a deeper social an intellectual malaise and the solution begins individually, within the family and collectively as a civil community or in a broader concept threaded within “civilization” itself.

Do to others what you would have them do to you is both a worthy and necessary daily aim for the sake of humanity.

 

O N  Y O U T U B E
‣ “5 Lessons I Learned While Hiking Cucamonga Peak”
‣ FB Live: Insights from a QHHT Session

 

C U R R E N T L Y 
‣ Reading “Ayahuasca: Soul Medicine of the Amazon Jungle”
‣ Obsessed with Orange Theory Fitness
 Pinterest 🙊

 

 

 

Q U A N T U M  H E A L I N G  S E S S I O N
‣ Book a One on One Quantum Healing Hypnosis Session and Past Life Regression Hypnosis

I’m spending much of my time these days writing the second book in my Dream Yoga trilogy, which is tentatively titled: The Seduction of Being: Dream Yoga and the Path of Illusion. It’s a deeper dive into the philosophical implications of the nocturnal meditations, and the science behind seeing the world as illusory. Here’s the preface to the book to give you a sense of the material.

I’d rather be driving.

It’s strange if not unnerving how life can turn on a dime.  I can remember my mother saying that about our brand new 1957 Oldsmobile Super 88. It was our first car with power steering!

I digress.  That is not the dime I was speaking of but hey, I’ve always had a love affair with cars and can turn nearly any story into something about cars or roads.

Three years ago I was living in the mountains in rural Colorado near many hiking trails.  I loved hiking alone or with my partner at the time or several of my women friends.  I could knock out 5 miles at 10,000 feet without breathing hard.  It was that year that my partner and I took a month to drive around the Canyonlands National Park of Southern Utah.  Some of the back roads were pretty treacherous.  Hiking in the slot canyons was magnificent!

Then two years ago I went with my partner on a few months journey to Greece.  We did a lot of island hopping and we rented a tiny car on the Isle of Crete.  Driving across and around the island was an adventure.  Very curvy mountain roads, in fact, the tourist busses nearly knocked us off of the side of the road and the sheep roamed free…and it was not uncommon to see one of them asleep in the middle of the road.

Shortly after that trip I was diagnosed with acute anemia, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, 3 fractured discs and primary biliary cirrhosis.  Suddenly, the aforementioned dime was spinning out of control.

Primary biliary cirrhosis is a liver disease that can’t be cured except with a liver transplant.  High levels of bilirubin in your blood prevent the bilirubin from breaking down.  Sounds like a 50″s rock band …Billy and the Rubins in charge of my life.  I’d rather it was the Beatles. I try to think of that when depression sets in.

The arthritis and osteoporosis stopped me in my tracks.  Some days it is too painful to walk at all.

Consequently I have monthly blood labs with iron infusions about every 3 months.  I have endoscopies every 6 months and ultrasounds and bone density tests frequently.  Alas, the drive to Vanderbilt Hospital is pleasant unless you happen to hit rush hour…and they have free valet parking, which is a real plus in downtown Nashville.

The physical changes are obvious.  The mental and emotional changes are pretty unpleasant.  Asking for help and support from family members is humbling.  And spending a couple of days in the hospital every two or three or months is demeaning. Hearing whispers in conversations is uncomfortable because  paranoia begins to insinuate itself in the mind.

One of my seriously bad times came when I was on a cruise with my sister around Iceland.  We were gone eleven days…most of which I didn’t even get up to eat.  She took great care of me but it sure changed the kind of trip we thought it would be.

I did better on my trip to Italy last month. New medications have improved my quality of life but death still looms nearby as I know it might occur at the next exit ramp.

Now I wake up every morning with gentle twists and turns till both feet are on terra firma to see if my back and legs plan to support me or not.

All things considered, I’d still rather be driving.

*A romantic traveler

The Devil in the Holy Water or the Art of Slander from Louis XIV to Napoleon by Robert Darnton (2010)

My perspective: This is an enormous book of scholarship by Professor Robert Danton, Harvard University Librarian. It’s both lengthy and substantial. The book had been sitting on my shelf for over five years in which I finally began reading it this past year. Given my previous readings concerning the history of slander, character assassination and defamation, I was drawn to this book, particularly, in light of the culture of authoritarianism and nationalism that is widespread today.

I read this work over a period of several months. It’s lucid and articulate and readable with an abundance of information.  The writing suggested the author was on a hermeneutical quest, so much so I had the feeling I was reading a book not only on the art of slander but also on the  theology and philosophy of slander.

Darnton is a brilliant thinker who enjoys research and it comes across in this intriguing study that at times reads like an 18th Century mystery. In summary, “Slander, libel, defamation, calumny, character assassination, mudslinging, scandalmongering, bad-mouthing, and billingsgate flourished as never before in eighteenth century France. Yet vilification has existed in most political system from antiquity to present.”

What one may learn in part is the devastating effects on the subsequent actions of a populace to the lies, slander and the belittling of one’s political opponents or anyone that is found disagreeable to one’s tastes. Narcissism and the ‘arrogance of power’ and wealth are symptoms of darker forces and misdeeds at work.

Darnton citations and bibliography are superlative, from police archives, to works of art, library archives, newspaper and letters from the period and so forth.  The reader might well ask, who did it and why? One can get lost in this book. I preferred it in a small dosages over a period of time.

It’s not for everyone but for those who want to gain an inside look at the nature of the art of slander in a particular period of history this work causes a pause when one thinks of the world today. And that is where I found historical and sociological value. I can only ponder what readers thought at the time. What did they think? And what was the result? The French Revolution comes to mind and Darnton covers it succinctly.

There are certainly more in-depth reviews I suspect but for this reader I scratched the surface of this fascinating study. It’s a useful reference tool.

Power, Politics, and the Making of the Bible, An Introduction, by Robert B. Coote & Mary P. Coote (1990)

Some thoughts: This book written almost three decades ago was considered a paradigm shift towards a sociopolitical analysis of the Old and New Testaments and away from traditional historical analysis.

The implications of Robert and Mary Coote’s scholarly research remains pertinent in the study of how rulers translated their right to power through “God’s activity in history,” or producing written documents (Bible) of how and why they are in power.

That is, “The Bible was produced by demands for legitimacy following changes in rule-from David’s usurpation, through Jeroboam, Jehu and Josiah, the Persians, Aaronids, Hasmoneans, and Herodians, finally to the Romans and the Byzantine emperors and their ecclesiastical clerics…”

“The turning points in its history have been the building of the temple, the restoration of the temple under the Persians, the destruction of the temple by the Romans, the recreation of the Temple by Constantine, and the legal canonizations: Roman Law, the church’s canon law, and the Babylonian Talmud.”

And it doesn’t end there. The effect of establishing such legitimacy is far-reaching.

A major theme in this study shows how the various rulers sought legitimacy and justification for their power. In different words, scribes were given the task of writing down how a given ruler obtained his power as part of “God’s will.” By ascribing the legitimacy of changes in power implying the Bible serves as a “sacred” (as defined by man) justification of all actions that occur in :His name” and  so “God” in effect, can “work in mysterious ways.”

The work is a succinct scholarly study. It examines the making of the “Bible” or “documents ” from a social and political perspective and places into cultural context the nature and effect of shifts in power and how rulers rationalize and justify their claims to power. Once man exclaims the “documents” or “Bible” he has written (through scribes) as sacred, rulers then enjoy their “legitimatized” power. The authors offer insights into the economies and the effect of wealth on politics and the social and economic implications as part of their study.

This concise, thought-provoking study provides insight into the cultural role of the making of the Bible but also inspires the questions surrounding the manipulations of power though the use of of the Bible, today.

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