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Back to Blogging (why I’ve been away from the blog)

Thanks for sticking with me…

I am continuing this blog for the foreseeable future. For those of you who follow this blog, thanks you so much for your support! I am definitely not one to give up on things and this blog is no exception. For the next few months, I am going to try and post an article every day; sometimes, hopefully, more.

The reason for my temporary hiatus was my focus on music; producing music came as a very unexpected change in the direction that I want to take my life and I am honestly still adjusting my goals to figure out where I want to go with my music. But it definitely involves big events, visuals, and all kinds of interesting stories surrounding the music itself. It’s one more medium for me to express myself and its certainly my favorite.

Sometimes it’s hard for me to spend time blogging because I like making music so much. Writing is great, but there is something special about making music for me; I can spend hours and hours on a song without even really noticing. On my 26th birthday, I spent the entire day making music and loved it.

New Ventures

This blog is going to transform into more of a resource for your yoga practice. I plan on uploading as many recordings from my classes as I can, as well as adding photos of poses and making videos about sequences, advanced variations, and general tips for practicing yoga away from the studio. Ideally, this blog can be a resource for you as you practice. If you want to know anything specific, you can always feel free to ask or comment on a post.

I am still writing a book and plan on continuing to post it on the site; currently, I am very focused on music, but soon I should be finishing it up and getting it edited. I have a few more fiction stories that I am working on, but The Wanderer will be finished kinda soon, I promise!

Staying Focused on the Blog

As much as I would love to post about politics right now, I am avoiding the subject completely. I prefer not to think about politics in my personal life, so I will just extend that into my blog world. Yoga is and has always been my first priority. Someday, I do hope to open a studio in Sacramento, but that day seems kind of far off right now. Music is a close second priority. Honestly, there’s just nothing I’d rather do than make melodies and bass lines. Writing comes third, then painting and the other things that I do in my free time like painting, or taking pictures, etc.

Ultimately, I hope to make this blog my home base for delivering my message of yoga to the world. So expect some youtube videos soon, check back for more class recordings, and get excited for some cool, very free, exercises that you can do while you travel or whenever you want really. All you need is some space.

 

Back to Blogging (why I’ve been away from the blog) Read More »

tao_monastery

The Wanderer, Part 17

This story can be read alone, or as the 17th section of the wanderer story.

You can read the first story here: The Wanderer, Part 1

or the latest story here: The Wanderer, Part 16

Tas woke up on a table in the middle of Fei’s chamber, his stomach was in agony and he could barely move except to go deeper into the fetal position. He realized suddenly that Yao was chanting above him, locked in concentration. The pain was slowly leaving his body and Yao was holding something, Tas had to put his head back down to cope with the massive waves a pain from his gut. He felt like he was dry heaving, but without any result except the contraction in his abdomen.

Yao began to chant a bit more loudly now, and Tas managed to look up and see the black wyrm wriggling in his hand, nearly dried up of its dark liquid and covered in a mucky slime that seemed to partially disappear into vapor before hitting the ground. The Tas was slowly feeling the pain leave, he could breathe again and the tears stopped streaming from his eyes. Yao’s voice was steady in the background, he had never been so grateful for the old man in his life. Fei began to help Tas to drink some water as the waves of pain faded more and more. After a minute of recovering, Tas could see that Yao was still locked in concentration, eye fixed on the wyrm in his hand.

Yao continued for the next 5 minutes, then stopped once the wyrm was motionless for a few minutes. He threw the carcass into the fireplace for Fei to burn later in the afternoon.

Once Tas could breath normally, he asked, “Melkar said it was from the north and so was he. What does that mean?”

“It means they have both died,” Yao said, careless, as usual. “And come back with the power of the shadows.”

Fei looked at Yao disapprovingly, as if he had ruined a surprise or something of the sort. After a quick gruff, he spoke, “The North is a place without as much light, Tas. Darker things thrive there and people who have spent extended periods of time there come back different than when they left.” Fei turned to Paj, “My theory, or hypothesis excuse me, is that Melkar’s remains were taken into the north by Grethatch, sometime after Melkar’s first death.” Fei looked at Yao now, who was picking dirt from under his fingernails.

After a moment, Yao realized they were waiting for him and gave a shrug, “what do you want me to say? I killed that bastard, tore his head from his shoulders with a morning star.” He looked at Tas now, “it was quite the swing,” winked, and returned to picking his fingernails. Fei looked deeply disturbed for a moment, then resumed his normal smile.

Paj spoke now, “Tas, you have been entangled in something older than your self, as we all are when we are born into this world. Your dream, rather, nightmare last night was no accident. Melkar knows you now and so does Grethatch for that matter,” He looked alternately at Fei and Yao now.

Yao spoke now, “there is no use terrifying the boy.”

“Wait,” Tas copied the way Yao spoke on occasion, heightening his voice then softening it to get the others to listen. “What is happening to me?”

Yao laughed now, “Your mind was under attack by a shadow wyrm, or something along those lines, no one can know what Melkar has been creating in the shadow. Without my extraction, you would have entered into a permanent nightmare. And in the process, become Melkar’s slave.” He looked more seriously at Tas now, “You must be careful for the next few days. It may take up to a week for your body to process and get rid of the shadow.”

Fei nodded, “meditation will help.” He looked at the others, “But we must be careful now. There is no telling how much control Melkar might have over the boy.”

Yao locked eyes with Fei, “I disagree. The boy is resilient and powerful. We should continue his training.”

Fei’s eyes now darkened, in a way that Tas hadn’t seen before, “You would fling his life around like a plaything, teaching him that which can kill him, harm him, put him in the way of death?”

“Do you suddenly believe in accidents Fei? This is the boy’s destiny. He has chosen to walk the path towards god, he said so himself! Who are we not only to stand in his way of his path, where-ever he is being led.”

Fei sighed, “your way is so detached. Do you have no compassion for him?”

“I do, that is why I wish to arm him with all of the skills necessary to defend himself.” Yao was resolute, Tas could feel it, not only from looking at his eyes.

Paj remained silent as Fei scanned the room for support. Tas finally got up the courage to speak, “Do you think he will come back?”

“Do wolves give up their hunt? How about when they smell blood? He smells a soul to reap, he will be back sure as the sun rises.”

“Then I have no choice.” Tas said, knowing his mind was made. “We should train starting tomorrow.”

Paj sighed, shook his head, then spoke, “I am sad to say it. But we should certainly. Your life will not be an easy one Tas. This is only the beginning of the terrible darkness that a black reaper can bring.” He looked at Fei and Yao to make sure they understood. “His warlock friend is also a nuisance, but I will teach you how to shield your mind against both of them. You will sleep soundly within the week.” He said it jauntily, but Tas wasn’t so excited for a week of sleepless nights.

Fei spoke now, “I will put the best resources the temple can provide. You will be ready to defend yourself when the time is right, Tas.”

Yao just sat, but Tas would wait. Finally, he spoke, harshly and barely audible, “Wake up before the sun. Meet me in the central grounds, that’s when we start your physical training.”

Tas was surprised with himself, but he was excited to train with Yao again, more than anything else.

“After morning ceremony, meet me on the balcony,” Fei said with a smile.

Paj took Tas by the hand and led him away, “For now, you can rest. We will talk some more when you wake up. Be careful; do not forget about what was inside of you this morning…”

Tas nodded, nearly asleep again and let himself be led back to his room, when he fell onto the mattress and let himself fade into the dark of sleep.

The Wanderer, Part 17 Read More »

taoist_sage

The Wanderer, Part 9

Please read the first parts of the story here:
The Wanderer, Part 1
The Wanderer, Part 2
The Wanderer, Part 3
The Wanderer, Part 4
The Wanderer, Part 5
The Wanderer, Part 6
The Wanderer, Part 7
The Wanderer, Part 8

Tas woke in a cold sweat. He could hear a rustling in the bushes near him and started until he saw that it was only the old man, his rescuer from the night before. He still felt the euphoria from the night before, his vision seemed to be more defined and even his body did not hurt so bad as the day before. In fact, he felt fresh and renewed, even from his injuries.

He got up quite easily, gently nursing his bruised back and ribs and he rose and remembered the crushing blow from four days easier. The old man was already continuing along the road they were following north, though Tas had no idea where they were going. After a bit, Tas thought he might try his luck with some questions.

“You killed them all?” Tas asked, remember the vicious assault the old man had inflicted upon the village the night before.

“No,” the old man said somberly. “Just the ones who fought back.” He seemed to brighten up as he said it.

“Thank you. I would have…”

“I know.” The old man said quickly. “They were a wicked group, this one. They have killed many travelers before you. I brought what was coming to them.”

“How did you know where I was?”

“The stars told me,” the old man said mystically, looking up at the forest canopy. His walking stick seemed to have changed, though Tas hadn’t even really noticed it before. It was a bit shorter, and the man’s back seemed a bit more crooked.

“You can really read  the stars like that? To see what is happening in the world?” Tas asked in an innocent tone?

The old man nodded. “I see the now. The stars assist me in this.”

Tas didn’t completely understand. But he could tell that the old man wouldn’t talk more about it, so he moved on.

“Where did you learn to fight like that?” Tas had never seen anyone move in such a fashion, like a wild animal with complete control, perfect precision. He could still see the silhouette dodging multiple spears and connecting a spear to neck after neck, two heads fell at a time.

“I was born to be a warrior.” The old man said. He stopped walking now. He looked around for a moment, as if looking for something specific, then began to walk towards the side of the road they were following. He found a couple of nice sitting rocks and mentioned to Tas to have a seat. He took out some salted peas that turned out to be tremendously tasty, especially since Tas hadn’t eaten much since he left the village.

They spent a minute eating, before the old man began to speak again.

“Kid, you can’t tell anyone what I am about to tell you. But it’s time you learned who I am.” Tas nodded in agreement; he wouldn’t tell a soul.

“My name is Yao, I am from the far north, high in the mountains. That is where I learned to fight,” He looked at Tas with a grin as he said it. Tas had never seen the mountains and the old man seemed to know it.

“I was born to be a Jarakanda, a hunter and defender of my village. It was a childhood of strife and training; my only thoughts were to be as strong as I could possibly be. I learned to fight with my fists first, then my feet, then with other things. Swords, Staves, knives, rocks, all kinds of different weapons. Spears are one of my favorite,” his grinned turned menacing as he said it.

“My people traveled with the snow, we were people of the mountains and were efficient enough hunters and fishermen. I learned to read the sky and the weather from them, as well as all types of hunting, gathering, and fighting. But when I turned into a man, my father was killed by the chieftain for adultery on my mother. I left my village in shame, to take up the life of a monk in a monastery to the south. I gave up my arms and hunting to live a life in solidarity and to undo the karma of my father’s treachery. He was beheaded.” The entire story seemed to have no emotion behind it, like he was telling it from another person’s point of view.

“So you were born to be a warrior?”

“Not just a warrior. Jakaranda’s are renowned for being the most vicious opponents, elite hunter-warriors. Especially against multiple targets. We practice hunting and preying on groups of deer at a time in the mountains, to minimize our time outside during the harsher storms of winter. Once you can kill three deer within 20 seconds, you can kill as many men as you need to,” the old man said with a chortle.

He seemed to be entertaining questions, so Tas pushed further, “What happened when you left for the monastery? What happened to your father?”

“Well, he was given a trial, Jakaranda’s are held to extremely strict standards. When he was convicted, the chieftain took his head. I was forced to watch with my mother and brother, in shame.” He didn’t look shameful though. Tas thought that maybe the old man had cleansed his karma or something along those lines. No, he was sure of it. There was still no emotion in his voice, despite talking about witnessing the death of his father. Tas’ respect for his teacher seemed to grow each time he learned more about the stooped old man. To watch one’s own father die shamefully must be the worst of punishments, Tas thought to himself.

“I left for the monastery and pursued god, or holiness, or purity, or whatever you want to call it.” He looked directly at Tas now, “Just like you, I wanted to find answers to my questions and I left everything behind to do it.”

Tas digested his words for a minute, then responded, “What did you find?” He had to know what happened next, surely the monastery would have answers.

“That is a story for you to learn for yourself.” When Tas began to ask a question in response, the old man continued, “We will arrive there within a week. You’ll see it for yourself. Now, it is time to walk.”

Tas got up, but still had one last question. “Can I call you Yao, master?”

The old man laughed heartily for a few moments before responding, “You can call me Yao, but I prefer Yejo. It was my father’s nickname.” Suddenly he became extremely serious. “But don’t ever call me master.” The smile had left his face completely.

Tas smiled as the old man turned from him to continue walking north. Even though he seemed to have gotten some answers, they had only sparked more questions about the old man. Where were they going? What he did mean by saying that god and purity and holiness were the same thing? He sighed and continued walking, happy to know that the man he was following was as full of surprises as the jungle itself.

 

 

The Wanderer, Part 9 Read More »

village wanderer part 8

The Wanderer, Part 8

Please read the first parts of the story here:
The Wanderer, Part 1
The Wanderer, Part 2
The Wanderer, Part 3
The Wanderer, Part 4
The Wanderer, Part 5
The Wanderer, Part 6
The Wanderer, Part 7

Tas rolled over; his pain returned in full force. His head was throbbing and his mind was lost. He opened his eyes sometimes, but would shut them immediately because of the throbbing pain shooting from the side of his head. In the depths of his agony, he could see the smile of the man with the razor teeth grinning in between bursts of pain from his spine and head. His body was useless.

For two-days, he simply sat and recovered in a small hut, the village women brought him food and water and they arranged for a few new cloths for him to wear. Occasionally, they would bring him a coconut and it seemed to make everything feel a bit better.

He didn’t leave the small space that was allotted to him; he didn’t think he could even if he wanted to. The pain in his head was overwhelming.

Tas was happy to eat and drink his fill after a few days of nearly starving in the jungle. The women brought him bowls of rice and noodles and vegetables and some fruit to match. But their tea was absolutely intoxicating, Tas must have had 6 full cups throughout the day. He also had a bowl of soup each night for dinner, which was a delightful mix of squash and lentils. He slept on a soft fur that one of the women had given to him and as he recovered, he couldn’t help but feel very lucky to be where he was.

On the third day he woke with his spine still in pain, but his head felt better. It was still a bit hard to breath because his ribs were bruised, but he could stand without too much pain. There was still a dull throbbing, but he soon found himself stretching his spine. It was painful at first, but as he warmed his body slightly, the tension faded. He was still very sore, but he was ready to be out and about.

He walked out of his little hut and immediately was surrounded by people. The villagers acted like they had never seen an outsider before and their eyes were on him everywhere he walked. He was pulled this way and that by a small crowd of children, until one of the women shoo’ed them away. Her body was tattooed, but her face was relatively free from ornamentation.

She took him by the arm to an older man; on his head was a crown of feathers and carved wood and his face was painted to look very important, red bolts of lightning on his cheeks and vertical lines of white on his forehead. His eyes didn’t leave Tas as the boy approached. He seemed to look at him like the old wandering man did, piercing through his skin to something deeper. Only this man had spear surrounding his chair, long knives and arrows laced the background menacingly.

The old man looked at Tas for a moment, then called him closer. The woman pushed Tas so that the older man could examine him. He spent several long minutes examining Tas’ skin, then his head, then his ribs and spine. He looked at Tas in the eyes and seemed to have decided something. He called out in a loud voice to the entire villages and they roared and applauded as one in response. Tas wasn’t sure what was happening, but the entire village seemed to come alive at the old man’s words. The men began to organize to leave, grabbing weapons and painting each other with face paint. The women began to prepare food, Tas began to hear them chatter and heard sizzling in the background and could smell their fires being lit. In 20 seconds, the entire village had roared to life.

The woman took Tas back to his tent, where he remembered his throbbing head again. The pain had come back, though not as strong as the day before. He spent the rest of the day resting and listening to the village prepare, but had no idea what for.

When the shadows of the afternoon became longer, Tas was yelled at to come outside by the woman who was tending to him. He couldn’t quite figure out what they were saying at first, but once he had left his hut, three women grabbed him and pulled him towards a fire that was roaring in the center of the village. The men had returned with various game, a few chickens, but most notably a boar that was being skinned by the vicious man who had struck Tas. He felt his blood boil as he watched the man tearing through the boar’s flesh with his knife.

The women led him to a seat beside the old man, then began to feed him. All kinds of drinks and different vegetables were placed before him and he couldn’t help but devour them. He had never eaten so well as the past few days, but this was different. He felt like a king with servants that were continually arranging his food for him to eat, bringing new dishes until he couldn’t eat anymore. Once he was done, he realized that the entire village was waiting for him to finish.

Something was very wrong here, Tas thought to himself. The words from the villainous man days before rung in his ears ‘no friends here’. He couldn’t help but feel that this was not in his honor, but for something else entirely, but he had no idea what.

After everyone had finished eating, the sun began to set. The men began to pull out pipes and pass them between each other, before passing them to the women and even some of the older children. Tas had smelled tobacco before, but this was different, a skunkier smell. He felt a bit disoriented after a while and could tell that the smoke was strong. The villager’s eyes turned a dark red as they digested and smoked. Finally, Tas was offered a pipe, but after one pull found himself coughing uncontrollably. He felt a strange peace begin to settle over him and he almost felt as he had with the old man in the last days in the desert. He thought back grimly at the old man’s final prank.

The men began to scuffle about and soon a big wooden bowl that was cured for fire was brought into the center of the fire. The old man rose from his chair to the silence of the village and began to put ingredients into the bowl, some that Tas could see, some that he couldn’t. He could make out various roots and leaves and other plants of various sizes and shapes. He added some dark green and black liquid into the mix and set it over the fire.

A few minutes later, when the sun was just setting down on the horizon, Tas was led to the bowl. He was given a ladle and told to drink and he did. It was a nasty taste, but they gave him a bit of fruit afterwards. The old man drank longly from the bowl, as if relishing the taste, which Tas found unbelievable. It tasted like a mix of cow dung and overcooked vegetables.

Once the old man was done, the other men in the tribe took smaller portions of the strange liquid then the remains were passed to the women and finally, a few of the eldest children.

Tas returned to his seat and after a time, began to feel very weird. He started to see lights that couldn’t be there and the whole world seemed to come more alive. He couldn’t stop staring at the stars and the setting sun and felt his entire being start to melt away. The entire world melted away and all he could feel was the nothingness inside of himself, a void that grew larger and larger until it was overwhelming and he felt a burst of light come forth from his chest and illuminate the entire village. He saw his mother and sisters dancing at their own village fire and felt an intense longing, time seemed to pass so slowly. He opened his eyes to look at the stars again and found himself floating amongst them, a light inside of him was burning bright. He felt as if the stars were his brothers, though he had forgotten them. His vision became more and more in control and suddenly, he re-realized where he was. The old man was right beside him and he seemed to be inoculated, looking up at the sky with closed eyes.

Suddenly, seemingly in response to Tas’ gaze, the old man looked over at Tas and yelled loudly, so the entire village erupted. He took Tas by the arm and then slapped him to the floor. Pain flared in Tas, though it seemed to be distant in a way. He could still see the old man in perfect detail, his skin seemed to hang like a bag around his body and it swirled and magnified as he stared. He was brought to his feet again, and was bound to a tall pole. Tas finally knew that this was a tribe of the sort that were in children’s stories in his village. He knew immediately that these men planned to eat him. As if in response to his thoughts, the grim man who had injured him before came to the fire, licking his lips. Tas began to struggle, but it was too late.

They brought him to the fire and he knew it was over. He thought back to the old man and wondered how he could have gotten so lost. He walked slowly with the men surrounding him until they dropped him with a yell, close to the fire. Tas fell on his face, but could hear the cries of the villagers, screaming. Hell itself seemed to break loose from the lips of the women..

Tas tried to roll over, but couldn’t and found a rock to untie his hands from the pole. As he finally was able to look up, he saw a flash of darkness moving against the fire, seeming to dance with its flames. He finally broke the bindings of his hands and used them to raise his head to see what was happening.

A group of villagers were backed up against one of the larger huts, one shorter looking man with a large spear threatened them. Tas would have found this comical in any other situation, but the villagers seemed terrified. He smelt burning flesh and turned to the fire to see the body of a headless man singing in the flames. He looked on the floor to see more bodies, at least a dozen men, most of the them dead. The rest would be within minutes because of their wounds. Gashes, cuts, and blood decorated their bodies, giving signs of the battle that was continuing now.

The fire just barely illuminated the short attacker, who seemed to fly through the villagers while tearing through their flesh. The cries of the villagers grew less and less until only a dark silence remained. The fire was growing softer and Tas was still having visions of his family, of the old man, and of the stars and the life around him. But this was interrupted by his thoughts of the attacker that he watched flow like a swan with his movement. Who was this godly man who could kill a dozen ferocious villagers at once?

As if on cue, the attacker approached Tas and to Tas’ surprise, gently untied his feet from the pole and sat him up to look at him. When Tas could finally see the man’s face, he gasped.

It was the old man from the desert. He seemed to know that Tas was out of his mind and left him for the time being, but Tas sputtered and tried to speak to no avail. He was amongst the stars now, feeling the eternal energies of the cosmos flowing through him as a stream through a valley. He wondered if the old man was a hallucination and if perhaps he was dead. What a curious thing, life. Tas thought to himself.

He came back down for a moment to see the old man again, whose gaze hadn’t left Tas’ face. He helped Tas to his feet and brought him to a nice place to sleep. Tas cried the whole way, not knowing if he was alive or dead, but knew that this man, who had saved his life and viciously slaughtered 20 men in the process was a part of god. He felt it as strongly as he had ever felt anything in his life. As the visions began to fade, so Tas faded into sleep, the world forgotten and blackness overtook him.

The Wanderer, Part 8 Read More »

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