Tag Archives: Organic

When Compliments Aren’t Compliments

We’ve all been there as artists and creative people. Someone notices you have talent and thinks they’re complimenting you with something like…

“Wow you’re really talented, you should work for [whatever company]” or  “You should work in [name of profession where you’d wind up working for another company].”

 

You thank them on the surface for the half compliment but know deep down know they still don’t get it—or you. You want them to see your talent and creativity as an end in itself and valuable in it’s own right not simply a tool to be used by someone else.

 

They still don’t get that being an artist/creative person for many including you is about personal freedom to do what you want, do it your own way and on your own time—and get the maximum benefits from owning your own intellectual property to generate income now and in the future via royalties and/or licensing fee income.

 

The problem is most people including those giving “compliments” to you just want any kind of job they can stand and don’t absolutely loathe to get needed income so they’re not focused on being independent and self–sufficient. Art and creativity is not their lifestyle and overriding driving force.

 

The act of creation is air and energy to those of us who know the joys of creation.

 

 

Getting to do what you like to do for a living is a step up for most people. It’s a foreign concept from most people’s family environment since most of us observe people around us working to make money because we have to and the need is brutally immediate. But it’s not looking at life long term. Think about it, if you’re going to spend 4-5 decades doing something, why not choose something you really enjoy doing?

 

And why retire when you’re really living your ideal authentic self and life’s work? Think John Williams is going to retire and stop writing music? Think Oprah’s going to retire and crack open Coronas with Stedman on a tropical island she could buy for the rest of their lives? These people don’t need another dollar. They still “work” because they’re living their authentic selves, and IT’S NOT WORK—it’s fun, it’s play, it’s deeply meaningful and fulfilling.

 

So what is your authentic life’s work? We can define it as “What you would still do even if you weren’t paid to do it.” I know musicians that would still practice and perform, actors who would still act, writers who would still write and dancers who would still dance—paid or not. And day jobs are an interruption to what we’d rather do with our time and lives.

 

But some may ask (let’s call them the Consensus Chorus), “So why not just work for someone else and get paid for your creativity that way?” Fair question. Well, here’s the legal reason why that’s NOT the best way to gain the benefits of your talents and creative efforts over a lifetime…

 

Slavery 2.0

Laws favor the company over the individual employee. So WHEN YOU WORK FOR SOMEONE ELSE, YOUR CREATIONS ARE NOT YOUR OWN ANYMORE. THEY ARE THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OF THE COMPANY YOU WORK FOR.

 

In other words, everything you create working for a company becomes property of the company, not you the originator of the art, invention or idea. So working for Big Successful Company ain’t really no compliment now is it? You just continue to get paid hourly or get a salary and won’t make any royalties even if what you thought up goes on to make millions of dollars for the company. And you may not even get a big corner office and promotion out of it either. But the CEO, top management and shareholders will all get dividends and higher pay thanks to your ideas. Sound like the deal of the century?

 

No one would expect Tom Brady to work for $40,000 a year. He makes millions for the New England Patriots. Yet, the All Stars of the Creative Sector, (writers, animators, etc.) working for large TV, film & entertainment companies get paid slave wages compared to the company’s owners, upper management and top stockholders while making them millions of dollars from their work and ideas.

 

The copyrights aren’t yours, the patents aren’t yours, they’re the company’s. You become a non–entity in some Twilight Zone of creativity and inventions without what SHOULD be your legal rights and benefits as the creator/inventor.

 

Intellectual Property 101

Sucks eh?
I can hear Isaac Hayes in the “Theme from Shaft” say “”Damn right!!” from beyond the grave.

 

Say for example you create a new character for an animated movie that Disney will release. You and the other writer–animators came up with all these characters kids will absolutely love. There’s going to be ticket sales, soundtrack sales, DVD sales, and a global merchandising juggernaut up the wazoo: backpacks, sippy cups, stuffed animals, T-shirts, figurines, pillows, pajamas, blankets & bedspreads, gummi multivitamins, toys, toothbrushes, you name it.

 

The wake up call: You’re likely not going to see a penny above your normal pay from any of those sales because since you’re an employee, your ideas are owned by the company now and you’re in no position to negotiate from Cubicleland. You might get a small year end bonus for your hard work though which is more of an insult that what you and your ideas are really worth.

 

You may not even get bragging rights that you’re the creator of Marvelous Margay and Fantastic Ferret. If there’s a clause in your employment contract stating so about non–disclosure, you can’t even make your fame at conventions singing autographs and doing interviews on talk radio/TV shows or in print unless the company books it for you. Nope that’s for upper management to be drooled over as business wizards in newspapers, trade magazines and on esteemed panel discussions where everyone worships their “genius” over yours. The Stan Lee’s of tomorrow are anonymous.

 

And such animated characters really do go around the world. I’ve seen SpongeBob and Hello Kitty in several different countries that don’t speak English.




 

A Better Strategy that Compliments YOU

Better to work on such ideas OUTSIDE of your day job so you can sell the idea to a studio and make some real money—possible even the one you work for. More than that, you can earn your freedom to lead the life that’s more you as a creative person instead of punching a time clock for someone else. Most companies will only pay you enough to keep you showing up for work the next day.

 

It’s not fair to artists, inventors, innovators and creative people being used as “Financial Camels” to further carry and support top heavy management salaries and shareholders.

 

 

Most management type people aren’t the creative types the company is riding on the backs of but they’re making craploads more money than you. Why should they get paid more money than you? Do they really work a couple hundred thousand to a couple million dollars harder than you? Are their brains really a couple hundred thousand to a couple million dollars better than yours?

 

There is no real justification for the lopsidedness of pay scales. It’s a symptom of a sick society that doesn’t honor and award creativity and instead oppresses and corrals it so others benefit more than the originators. It’s like cattle being milked and sold for money, the privileges of wealth and freedom the cattle will never see.

 

Why is the pay scale so mediocre for most creative people who work for other companies? That’s how it’s been and will continue to be. I’m not betting Congress will grow a set to stand up against big corporate lobbyist money. Since laws will not change in your favor as long as you’re working for someone else,  work in a manner where Copyright/Intellectual Property (IP) laws work in your favor. For that, you have to make it on your own outside of putting your best efforts and ideas for someone else. You could be chewing saffron truffle quinoa Matsutake mushroom salad instead of hay.

 

Don’t set the bar too low for yourself just because of other people’s fears of making a living and lower standards for living a life more authentically you. That’s no compliment to yourself or your talents. And for that, you need freedom from 9 to 5 to do it. Your ideas and creations are your most valuable asset so don’t be so willing to give them away for pennies when they’re worth much more.

 

Look at The Blair Witch Project. I thought the movie was poorly made with a sparse script and plot. They only spent around $60K, which is low budget even for low budget independent films. Who’s laughing now though? To date, that first film has raked in over $250 million dollars worldwide. Not bad for only 8 days of filming.

 

Would you spend $60k for your freedom like that? They did and now they can do whatever they want for the rest of their lives. Good for them. Like the tattoo on John Wick’s back “FORTIS FORTUNA ADIUVAT” (Fortune Favors the Bold), working in Cubiceland isn’t being bold—it’s just playing it safe, and playing it safe only keeps you safe for so long. And our friend Mr. Wick being an A–list well paid designer tailored suit wearing hitman isn’t living his authentic self and life either. Even he wants to be free from working for someone else.

 

You can lose at playing it safe just as easily—perhaps even more easily since there’s more people in that boat versus the person who invents their own boat and becomes their own Captain.

 

 




Who’s George Lucas?

That’s right. See what we mean? You’d be asking that too if George started his career working for Disney. No one would know him by first name. At this point, there’s probably extraterrestrial civilizations that know who he is too.

 

Instead of working in a rookie pen for pennies on his imagination, he became a billionaire from his own creations and ideas and sold the Star Wars franchise to Disney decades later for a lot more than they would have paid him in wages/salary as an employee.

 

Who’s Bill Gates?

Bill too. If he tried to get the backing for his ideas on a new operating system with his superiors at IBM he may have gotten a grand old promotion and expanded his heirloom sweater collection with a slight bump in pay. But he wouldn’t have founded his own company, Microsoft, which IBM now buys products from. You can’t buy a megaphone like that to get your superiors to notice you when you’re working for someone else.

 

The best thing to do with success like George, Bill’s or Oprah’s is to nurture other artists/inventors/creative people with no strings attached financial support so they too can give their gifts to the planet. Venture capitalists are too attached to return on investment (ROI) within a timeline more aggressive than standard bank business loans. They often step on flowers they initially attempt and intend to water. I’ve seen companies go under once Venture Capitalists get involved. So it’s recommend to stay away from such money marionettes for your art, inventions or ideas, because guess who’s going to be the puppet in this relationship?

 

Real Compliments

I’ve gotten real compliments and they’re gold. They last and age like fine wine, increasing in both richness and potency. So when people see you and your art as valuable in itself, that’s a real compliment. When they don’t tell you you should to work for this company or that, that’s a real compliment. When they’re interested in your next project and tell people about you, that’s a real compliment. When they want to help you however they can to help your grow and promote your endeavors, that’s a real compliment. When they’re a legitimate fan of what you do, that’s a real compliment. When they’re happy to know you, that’s a real compliment.

 

Artists of the world need real compliments, not career advice from armchair HR directors.

 

 

Anything less is feeding you and your creative heart & soul to the sharks of the marionette marketplace. They’re forever swimming around Cubicleland, following the scent of money and new ideas from naive creative people to exploit for their own gain over yours.

And who wants to swim with sharks? You could be sipping an organic margarita with Oprah and Stedman on a financial island of your own creation.

 

© Composer Yoga

Resources for Artists/Inventors

US Copyright Office Website

https://www.copyright.gov/

 

Registration Fees—these are less expensive if done electronically online versus mailing your work(s) in:

https://www.copyright.gov/docs/fees.html

 

There’s various kinds of copyright forms: Form TX, Form VA, Form PA, Form SE, and Form SR. The form instructions describe the purpose of each in more detail but here’s a brief explanation of what each is for:

 

Form PA (Performing Arts):

Screenplays, plays, musicals, dance,choreography, comedy, motion pictures, audiovisual works

https://www.copyright.gov/forms/formpa.pdf

 

Form TX (Text):

Books, poetry, etc.

https://www.copyright.gov/forms/formtx.pdf

 

Form VA (Visual Arts):

Photography, prints, sculptures, models, paintings, etc.

https://www.copyright.gov/forms/formva.pdf

 

Form SR (Sound Recording):

Music, audio masters for CDs/albums, music spoken or other sounds by themselves not part of a larger audiovisual work

https://www.copyright.gov/forms/formsr.pdf

 

Form SE (Serial):

Periodicals & serials, newspapers, etc.

https://www.copyright.gov/forms/formse.pdf

 

 

 

Patents are done through the US Patent and Trademark Office. This is a more expensive and time consuming process. There are different kinds of patents as well.

https://www.uspto.gov/

 

Application Fee Info:

https://www.uspto.gov/learning-and-resources/fees-and-payment/uspto-fee-schedule

https://www.uspto.gov/learning-and-resources/fees-and-payment/uspto-fee-schedule#Trademark%20Fees

Entertainment Earth



TicketCity

IK Multimedia's iRig Keys I/O

Lung health / breathing support

Christmas Tree Pizza

Vegans rejoice in this Yuletide culinary cuisine…Behold:

 

CHRISTMAS TREE PIZZA

 

 

Ingredients:

Organic green peppers: Cut the tree out of a flat side of pepper.

Organic onions: Cut out the tinsel and star. You can also use any kind of cashew/nut/vegetable cheese.

Organic pizza or pasta sauce

Organic Sourdough Spelt crust (or use gluten free crust)

Use an X-Acto knive or another small sharp knife for better precision cutting.

Enjoy, and don’t forget to give Santa a slice!!

© Composer Yoga




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Thanksgiving, Gratitude And Emotional Alchemy

Sometimes brief encounters are more life shaping and single experiences more life defining than the vast catalog of experiences we draw from. Instead, these actually draw us with their unique distinctive nature and personalization.

 

Serious injuries give you a much different perspective on life—

 

A perspective most people never get the “benefit” of internalizing via direct experience. Empathy can only extrapolate so far. Though they’re unfortunate and painful to the victim, they are teachers that cauterize knowledge into us through multiple layers of our Being.

 

Injuries are a most humbling experience. The most basic thing most of us take for granted, a normally functioning body, is suddenly not there. In a second, you’re knocked back down an ancient chromosomal ladder.

 

The Road Down

When I was ten, I suffered a compound fracture to my arm. The bone from the shoulder to the elbow cracked in half (not a “clean” break) and the two bones going from the elbow to the wrist twisted and reversed position. It was a mess. I could feel it was a mess without even seeing it.

 

The moment of impact, it was like someone unplugged all my senses and all I saw was black. Pitch black. I don’t know if I was out for a second or several. I came to while lying on the ground, turned my head to the side to look at my arm without needing to know what I already knew.

 

I remember I could feel my arm but sensorily knowing that if I tried to move it, it wouldn’t work the way it always did before. And I didn’t want to know what that mashing of bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments now felt like if I had tried to move it. Electrically it felt differently as well. On some level, I felt I still had an arm but physically it wasn’t matching that Etheric blueprint anymore.

 

Adrenalin thankfully numbs excruciating pain but it also makes you think and feel strange things. My first thought was “Well, I’m going to be missing some school” and laughing inside about it. And I always liked school.

 

Then the reality sets in. I could not move a part of my body. You wish ambulances were hovercrafts. And in the Emergency Room, that’s when I found out there really are needles the size Bugs Bunny might have stashed in his fur.

 

A hypodermic needle going into your bone and depositing fluid is a feeling I could not even vocalize. Who knew we have nerves inside our bones? That was ANYTHING but a pleasant discovery. It crossed the point where my brain couldn’t distinguish it as extreme pain or extreme pleasure.

 

The Road Back

I had a cast on for six months. Had to take baths a certain way, sleep a certain way, have a special bus pick me up and bring me home from school. I watched my brother and neighborhood friends play outside and couldn’t participate. I put models together and made use of my time doing other creative things.

 

After the long wait, my surgeon finally took the cast off and the pins out. For six months I was a better weather forecaster than anyone…”Trust me it’s going to rain.” My arm now looked like a see through medical model, like those Visible Man and Woman kits. It was whiter than a vampire, and the skin was so translucent I could see things normal skin pigment obscures.

 

Once the cast was removed, I had to relearn how to use my arm again. It took months. It hurt. It was weak. It was frustrating. It became a series of little victories. And every victory counts.

 

Reunion

Ten years went by and I went to see the same surgeon for a minor injury I had in college. There we were face to face again a decade or so after he put me back together as a 10 year old boy. A college guy and by then a surgeon in his mid fifties who’s done thousands of operations before me and thousands afterwards.

 

Tears in the corners of both our eyes.

None of the “Hi, how are you doing” or other Physician/Patient formalities.

“Lemme see” he said gesturing for me to roll up my sleeve as he came over to me and looked at his resculpturing of my arm.

He remembered me. He remembered that operation on my arm. He was as genuinely happy seeing his success years later as I had been living it.

 

What do you say to the person who gave you your arm back?

 

Somehow I managed to say “You did a great job” over a surge of backlogged emotions that was muting my vocal chords with the momentum of tears.

 

I finally got to thank him as an adult. There was a therapeutic closure in doing that.

 

I’m never at a loss for words but that reunion was one of those moments for me. The only time in my life I was speechless. I’ve given several eulogies about people I was close to and kept it together in front of people amidst the sadness of such events.

 

But that moment of gratitude in that room with him broke my normal centeredness down like nothing else. It was just such a devastatingly humbling experience.

 

Do you know what it’s like to not be able to pick your own self up off the ground? Be carried out on a stretcher? I learned that at 10 years old. I wonder how many dictators, terrorists and warlords would become dictators, terrorists and warlords if they learned what that feels like at 10 years old.




Backstory

The injury happened playing sports where I was hit and landed on my elbow during a football game. Even with all the protective gear worn you can still get badly injured.

 

And this doesn’t include long term accumulative damage which is gaining more scientific traction with CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy) in current and retired NFL players. Along with boxers, I would include Professional Wrestlers in that category as well even though it’s a “pretend” sport.

 

My Surgeon was decades ahead of the research curve on the long term damage of football. They didn’t even have a name for it back then. He told my mother adolescent boys should not be playing tackle football— that because they’re still growing, injuries can create lasting damage and may never heal properly.

 

I never played organized tackle football again. I wore an elbow pad when I played outdoors from then on. And in the neighborhood, we switched to two hand touch “tackling” though there were some slip ups out of our earlier habit of tackling each other.

 

My mother told me years later that he talked with her before the operation. He informed her that he wasn’t sure he would be able to repair my arm to full mobility due to the severity and jaggedness of the fracture. I was told I may not be able to touch my shoulder again after the cast came off and not to expect to regain the full range of motion.

 

I still have a scar on my arm several inches long. I really don’t care. I don’t have any concerns for vanity of appearance about it because my arm works again. From my perspective, the things most people are concerned about and worry constantly about relating to peer pressure and “fitting in” seem so trivial in a post injury world.

 

The Right Kind Of Tears

I see now that it was a blessing that I felt that level of gratitude at 20 years old instead of having to wait to the last years of my life. Why wait til you wipe your feet on death’s doorstep to feel gratitude? There’s plenty of things in your life right now you can practice on.

 

Gratitude is a muscle that needs exercising just like an arm or leg.

 

And gratitude is a more highly evolved emotion that benefits long term health and the immune system. Feeling and practicing feeling highly evolved emotions is transformative and even medicinal.

 

Studies have shown gratitude lowers blood pressure, improves relaxation and resistance to stress. It slows breathing and heart rate providing a sanctuary of calm in your life.

 

It’s calming, cathartic and continual. I still cry about this man now and then to this day. They’re the right kind of tears. I don’t cry anymore about close relatives and friends I’ve lost because the normal healthy grieving process ran it’s course and has been transmuted into gratitude for knowing them and treasured memories.

 

But some gratitude will always be bigger than you and that’s a good thing. I’m glad I still cry when I think about the Surgeon who gave me my arm back.

 

Movies about love stories don’t really make me cry. Movies and stories about friendship, loyalty and camaraderie always do and always have.

 

Emotional Alchemy

Gratitude is emotional alchemy and turns lower base emotions into gold.

 

I look at the current social, cultural and political landscape and see masses of people getting Ds and Fs in gratitude.They’re stuck fighting and arguing in lower untransmuted emotions of anger, hatred, intolerance, fear and aggression. All toxic emotions dangerous and volatile to others including and ESPECIALLY the host.

 

It doesn’t matter if you’re Conservative and don’t drink or smoke. You’re drinking and smoking a bunch of toxic emotions already. At some point it will cash a check your body can’t cover and you’ll wake up to a health crisis.

 

Just taking care of yourself on the physical level with a healthy diet and exercise won’t get you unlimited brownie points over negative unevolved emotions accumulated over years and decades.

 

There’s a better healthier practice. Instead of increasing feelings and perceptions of distance and difference with toxic emotions, gratitude folds emotional space onto itself and builds connections. Gratitude is a bridge.

 

Did someone tell you you can write well?

Did someone tell you you have a great voice or can sing?

Did someone tell you you’re talented?

Did someone tell you you’re really good at this or that?

 

Those are all gifts. You don’t need 30 people to tell you the same thing. Really all it takes is one. You can be that one to someone else.

 

A few genuine words can change someone’s entire trajectory in life. A few moments of genuine attention towards someone can make an enormous difference in their self esteem and emotional landscape. A few moments can save someone’s arm, someone’s life.

 




Living In A Post Injury Reality

In a post injury reality it’s hard to be arrogant. It’s hard to be narcissistic. It’s hard to be an A–hole. It’s hard to be egotistical after not being able to move a body part for 6 months.

 

It’s hard to be self absorbed when someone you didn’t know gave you their best talents and some of the finest hours of their life and energy to make you normal again.

 

And there’s people much less fortunate than me that never regain full use after an injury and amputees.

 

It almost makes you wish all the brash, superficial, entitled braggarts and bullies on the planet would experience this because it seems it would be the only thing (along with serious illness) to make them look deeper at themselves and their personal defects and change into better upgraded versions of themselves.

 

Ironically it’s those very people who are not emotionally and psychologically fit enough to cope with a negative life event like a serious injury that puts you out of commission. It’s crushing and they’re actually really soft and vulnerable to begin with, which is why they bark the loudest and try to scare and intimidate people—it’s to protect their fragile tender insides. They can’t hide from or fool those of us with post injury eyes.

 

Paradigm Shift Of Priorities

It’s hard to take your body and your health for granted as well in a post injury reality. Why abuse your body with poor quality food or drug use? You don’t feel the gradual degradation over time as noticeably this way but it will happen.

 

With a traumatic injury, the degradation is INSTANT. The road to recovery isn’t.

 

So I don’t wait for magic pills and magic cures. I started taking my long term health by the reins in high school with weightlifting and regular exercise. I then phased out soda, candy, sugar and junk food and began eating cleaner healthier Organic foods later on.

 

Gradual movements over time will get you you there—The same way I learned to use my arm again.

 

You can live without your dream job, dream house, dream relationship, being in love, finding your Soulmate, all those things and still have a fun, fulfilling life and a great quality of life. A lot of people have a hard time believing that.

 

It’s a foreign concept to me. Things like this are much more primal. If you don’t have usage of an arm, leg or properly functioning body, your quality of daily life will never be the same. Those of us who’ve had these kind of experiences know this. I live in a post injury reality and it’s colored my life lenses ever since.

 

So I consider myself very fortunate. Most people don’t take the time to realize this about themselves just as they are right now with fully functional arms and legs.

 

Don’t wait for a license to enjoy life from someone else or external circumstances to magically change. To this day, it doesn’t take much for me to be happy and enjoy life. I’m always planning my next adventure, working on my next project.

 

Learn to appreciate simple joys in life and to celebrate daily life. The joy of taking a walk, the joy of hearing birds sing. The joy of a wonderful meal with family or friends. Don’t waste your life sitting at a desk even if you have to for income. Get outside now and then and make a date with nature. It’ll always look better in person than on your TV, phone or computer screen.

 

Watch a child discover the joys of doing something for the first time like whistling or snapping their fingers. You were that way once too. What happened? I hope you don’t need an injury to realize it and get back to that state of mind. Children have what are called “Beginner’s minds” And Beginner’s minds are never cynical and deflated of wonder.

 

The Universal Currency Of Gratitude

Yes my Surgeon was paid for his skills and orthopedic expertise but I can never repay him for what the operation was actually worth. Beings beyond our little economy here in this dimension are the bookeepers for that kind of currency.

 

So consider this my tribute to a man who doesn’t need to be named. It’s comforting knowing there’s even one person like him on the planet and his bank account for gratitude towards him will always be in the positive. Even if I’m the only one, though I am certainly not. There are thousands he healed and helped in his 8 decades on the planet.

 

The Surgeon I mention left the Earth plane this year (2017). I rarely saw this man. Yet over the years I always thought about him a lot. And I still have a connection to him I do not fully understand. We are somehow related on a different level than family and there is a closeness that far exceeds the amount of time we crossed each other’s paths in our respective walks through life.

 

I’ve come to realize he was an Artist like me only he doesn’t sign his works. Now you know I’m one of them.

Oh, and I can touch my shoulder again.

 

© Composer Yoga

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The Master Cleanse For Greater Health & Creativity

Writer’s block? Plateau in your musical/artistic creativity and technical skills? Foggy upstairs when it comes to memory and coming up with new ideas?

 

Take a look at your diet and lifestyle. If you’re eating the Standard American Diet (SAD) of fast food, microwave meals and processed food filled with preservatives, pesticides and chemicals it’s definitely time for a cleanse.

 

Even if you eat relatively healthy, a cleanse is still a fantastic idea. Your body, mind and organs need a vacation so give them a Spring break.

 

With poor diet and health, your body and mind won’t work at optimal levels. People take better care of their cars and trucks than they do their own bodies. Fasting is that oil change, tune up and transmission flush for our carbon based cars we drive around in on the planet. Most people get new cars every 5 to 10 years. You get one body per lifetime here. You need to take better care of it.

 

The Master Cleanse can improve your health and open the floodgates of creativity and artistic productivity. We artists are athletes too. Just because we down throw, hit or chase balls around doesn’t mean we don’t give our bodies a workout and need that primary instrument in tip top condition and performance to play any other instrument.

 

I’ve written complete songs on fasts as well as poetry and music. Actually, writing this on a Master Cleanse now, several days in and towards the end. See, I don’t sound like Rocky Balboa either having been 11 days without food now.

 

What follows is my firsthand experience and advice I’ve given others from doing fasting and cleanses for over 15 years.

 

Fasting and Meditation for Expanded Consciousness

Fasting and cleanses are far better and vastly safer than “mind expanding drugs” route. Fasting and meditation are the original mind expanding drugs with only positive side effects. Ever see Jesus at a Grateful Dead concert? Well maybe you have, but do you see the point I’m making? Moses didn’t drop acid on Mt. Sinai either. Buddha wasn’t smoking fattys for 49 days under a Bodhi tree. They all were meditating and fasting.

 

Using drugs to “expand creativity” is a losing game and playing roulette with not only your creativity but possibly your life.

 

Fasting is also far better than sleep deprivation which some others employ. I’ve been on the road with bands and know what sleep deprivation can do in just a few days. No wonder why bands can’t get along and break up. Lack of sleep on the road will do it even without drug use.

 

Enter The Master Cleanse

I first read Stanley Burroughs’ classic The Master Cleanse years ago and have done it 2-4 times a year ever since for over a decade now. The Master Cleanse is known as a “Juice Fast” because you are only consuming liquids and no solid food. It is also commonly referred to as “The Lemonade Diet.”

 

It goes without say that I am young, healthy, mentally sharp and lucid compared to many people in my age group—which is the result of several things I do to maintain my long term health. The common cop out defeatist people who don’t want to take charge of their health say is “It’s just good genetics.” Truth is, my family has just as much good health examples as bad ones, just like yours.

 

A Tale Of Two Burroughs

One Burroughs named William S. wrote beatnik novels in drug induced stupors. Another Burroughs named Stanley, lived a 180 degree lifestyle from the beat generation writer famous for writing Naked Lunch. A fun fact about that book (which makes absolutely no sense) is that Steely Dan got their name from it. Yes folks, Steely Dan is really a top of the line Japanese strap on dildo, just like Duran Duran is named after a character in the cult sci-fi Jane Fonda movie Barbarella, Dr. Durand Durand.

 

It has been said that 80% of your health is diet, the other is regular exercise. So it’s habit and environment that play the biggest role in our health, not some Wizard Of Oz “Man Behind The Curtain” genetics you cannot control. Your health is your responsibility—not your Doctor’s or the medical establishment, not your partner’s, spouse, or children’s.

 

And back to genetics, one of my relatives from Europe lived to be 97 and only ever went to see a doctor at the very end of her life for anything. What did she do every morning? Squeeze lemon into a glass of warm water and drink it. Lemon stimulates the lymph system and cleans it out. She could still walk at 97, still lived in her OWN house, and her mind was nowhere near senility. She knew about drinking fresh squeezed lemon as a folk medicine remedy that goes back far longer than The Master Cleanse was created and further elaborated on by Stanley Burroughs. Burroughs may have even based his ideas on these same folk remedies he heard about publishing his modified juice fast in the 1940’s, then later in 1976 as The Master Cleanser.

 

Benefits of the Master Cleanse and Fasting

Cleans on multiple levels: body, mind and emotions
Expands creativity
Alters consciousness to deeper brainwave states
Mastery of the body, thoughts and emotions
The most primal drive next to breathing is eating—when you can master that, the rest becomes easier
Fasting allows the body to heal and rejuvenate itself
Organs get a rest to repair and regenerate

 

When you are constantly eating, your body has to digest and produce digestive enzymes (even if you are eating mostly raw or all raw in your diet). When you stop eating solid food, the body produces enzymes that drive biological processes. In other words, your hair will still grow normally. I shave just as frequently 10 or more days without solid food as I do when eating normally.

 

Fasting purifies you not just on the physical level but on the emotional mental and spiritual levels as well. you may experience waves of emotion days after the fast in broken and you have started to resume eating solid food again. This is “emotional trash and toxins” that the body is ridding itself of.

 

When you remove the gunk from your car it works better. Same deal with fasting and cleanses.

 

Think of regular meditation and fasting as the weightlifting of the Spirit. The muscles you are building are higher consciousness and with that comes peace, calm, intuitive intelligence and greater creativity and abilities.

 

There were things I could not do for years as a musician like long extended trills and rapid arpeggios over 2 or more octaves. After a few years of fasting and meditating, it was somehow easy for me now—and i could do it without practicing for hours and hours. Fasting and meditation removed a lot of junk in me which prevented my physical body’s muscles and neurons from doing it easily. So doing The Master Cleanse will allow you to learn quicker and better too.

 

Meditation and fasting are the key pillars of longevity and anti aging. The average  daily meditator is biologically 12 years younger than their calendar age counterparts. Someone who fasts regularly on top of that is biologically even more years or decades younger.

 

From my experience of fasting regularly for over 15 years, it’s clear how you gain greater mastery over your body, it’s hormones, drives, and greater mastery over emotions and thoughts. Along with meditation, it slows down your mind and widens it to the point where there is a beautiful peace and silence. And with that frame of mind, you are more open to inspiration, creativity, whole brain thinking, integration, learning and seeing the bigger picture.

 

As we evolve energetically, we will need less solid food. Its funny to me now how people think 100% of the energy they need to survive comes from solid food. Really it’s only around a third. Air, water, sunlight and other energies sustain the body in concert. When you meditate and fast over a period of years or decades, it seems to gear the body to work better and more on higher refined energies in the universe than “slow to convert to energy” solid food.

 

Look at plants—they pretty much live on sunlight and water. And some plants and trees live thousands of years. Case in point, this tree is over 3,500 years old but doesn’t look a day over 30:

 


This was taken at Lake Panasoffkee, FL. It kind of looks like Gollum Country and I was expecting to see fairies flying around here.

 

What Happens on a Fast?

The main thing is the body will eliminate tissues and cells that are not healthy. It will eliminate stored toxins in the skin since it now has the opportunity to do so. When you are eating food all the time, your body cannot go into it’s deep clean cycle like a bear hibernating. Fasting is the button for the deep clean cycle. I once smelled antibiotics in my urine after 7 days of fasting when I hadn’t taken any for several years.

 

Your tongue will turn white—this is a film of toxins being brought into circulation to be eliminated. During the first 3-4 days of the fast, the switchover in your body happens between digestive mode to cleansing mode.
It is recommended to get a tongue cleaner to remove the white film on your tongue daily.

 

Since accumulated toxins are being vacuumed out of your body, you may experience “healing crisis” effects of this increased load into your system. Symptoms of being weak, tired, light headed, dizzy, headaches or nausea are common. Remember, if you don’t eject all these toxins periodically, they WILL create health problems for you later on and cost a lot more of your money.

 

To avoid headaches, drink plenty of water since most of the toxins are exiting the body in liquid form. And because the fast brings more of them into circulation, it is paramount to drink plenty of water. You may get sick and feel off during the fast because of this cleansing process. Drinking a quart of water in the morning before you start drinking The Master Cleanse and a quart a half hour after you’re done for the day is a good ratio I’ve found works well. Try end drinking The Master Cleanse around 6 or 7pm and drink the quart of water before 8pm so you don’t have to get up in the middle of the night and pee like a firehose.

 

You’ll wander outside of beta consciousness while you are awake. Fasting slows everything down and you’ll be cranking some nice cool alpha theta or even delta waves during the day. These brain states aren’t just for daydreams and sleeping. They’re interesting and fun to be in while you’re awake. Seasoned meditators are in alpha, theta or delta states all the time.

 

When you’re in the middle of the fast, you may get spacy. Fasting puts you in a state where the normal “noise” of your body subsides leaving you with more energy. Your mind may wander and become really silent at a level it has never been before. The distance form the distracting noises of the body and the processes of digestion allow your consciousness to migrate into deeper brainwave states. You may be pleasantly surprised at the ideas and creativity that just pop into your head. The deeper level of tranquility is worth the price of admission alone.

 

Your bowel movements will generally stop after the first 3-5 days. The Master Cleanse recommends doing a saltwater enema every morning of the cleanse. This is less scary than it sounds. Simply get a 1 quart glass bottle of spring or purified water and put 2 teaspoons of sea salt (Himalayan or Celtic) into the bottle until it dilutes. It is not uncommon to have a bowel movement 7 or more days into the Master Cleanse either.

 

Burroughs says to drink this saltwater solution first thing in the morning and with good reason. This acts as a brush through your intestines and helps flush toxins out as well as aiding bowel movements since eating solid food is what causes food to move through our intestines (Peristalsis) in the first place. If you are doing the saltwater enema, plan on not leaving your house for 2-3 hours those mornings which you do it as you will need to be near a bathroom once or twice on those days. It’s best to do this when you are on vacation or do not have to be at work early in the morning. Another option is to do the saltwater enema over a weekend (of 2 or 3 days) and not continue it for the remainder of the Master Cleanse because of your work/life schedule. The saltwater solution will make bowel movements very liquid so it is understandable that this is probably not the ideal thing to do when you have to be at work unless you get up very early to drink it. Don’t be an extremist and risk turning your life into a Saturday Night Live skit.

 

There are also laxative teas like Traditional Medicinals Smooth Move that you can take on the cleanse if the saltwater enema seems a bit much. You can do a combination of saltwater for a few days and teas. Or skip the saltwater altogether. I find a nice walk or a few minutes jumping and twisting on a rebounder (mini trampoline) takes care of bowel movements without making your week into bathroom 911.

 

I’ve done the saltwater enema the entire fast, for the first 3-4 days only, or just had teas depending on what was best for my schedule. Some cleanses I didn’t do it at all. Others, I did saltwater for a few days in the beginning and a few days towards the end. Remember just drinking the lemon/maple/cayenne mixture is going to have the majority of health benefits so don’t feel you’re failing for not doing it to the letter all the time. Be flexible with yourself, your life and your schedule. These days most of the time I skip the saltwater part of The Master Cleanse.

 

Remember: Every step towards improving your health counts. You don’t need to be a radical purist about any fast or cleanse.

 

Recommended Books On Fasting & Cleanses

The Master Cleanser by Stanley Burroughs

The Complete Master Cleanse: A Step-by-Step Guide to Maximizing the Benefits of The Lemonade Diet
by Tom Woloshyn, a student of Stanley Burroughs

The Miracle Of Fasting by Paul Bragg

Fasting and Eating for Health: A Medical Doctor’s Program for Conquering Disease
Dr. Joel Fuhrman

Mucusless Diet Healing System (MDHS)
Prof. Arnold Ehret

Rational Fasting
Prof. Arnold Ehret

 

Paul Bragg’s classic book has a lot of good advice on eating a healthy diet and the benefits of fasting. I am not however an advocate of doing long water only fasts or long water fasts with distilled water as he practiced and recommended. For myself, I stick to water only fasts no longer than 1-3 days now. Also, don’t be turned off by the religious quotes and Biblical references if you are not of the same faith. Fasting itself is non-denominational and does not belong to any one particular religion or faith. It is a tool for greater health and higher consciousness that has been used for thousands of years before organized religion.

 

Prof. Ehret was a proponent of Natural Hygiene, which states that if you keep your body clean on the inside, it will not provoke a healing crisis (meaning getting sick) to rid itself of accumulated toxins. Fasting and cleanses are paramount to Natural Hygiene as is eating a clean natural Organic food diet so you do not accumulate toxins from pesticides, GMOs, chemicals and preservatives never seen in human history before WWII.

 

The companies which made war munitions needed a new way to sell their products after the war ended and the chemical agriculture “revolution” began at the price of everyone’s health and the planet’s. It’s important to note that Prof. Ehret wrote this book before GMOs pesticides, herbicides, synthetic chemical fertilizers, etc., even existed. He saw that just basic eating could get people sick and unhealthy in the early 1900’s. Fasting, cleanses and Natural Hygiene are even more important today for long term health.

 

Benefits of Short Term and Long Term Calorie Reduction

Fasting and cleanses are a form of calorie reduction aimed at healing and rejuvenating. They are NOT diets even though some people use them as such. When you are not on a fast, you eat normally and consume plenty of healthy fats live coconut, olive, hemp oils and monounsaturated fats like nuts and seeds (almonds and macadamia nuts are superb).

 

Reducing calories slows your metabolic rate and reduces the formation of free radicals and oxidative damage to the body which damage cells and DNA. This leads to one of the theories of aging, the Free Radical Theory which is pretty much says our bodies are rusting from the inside out.

 

And looking old could very well be all the accumulated toxins stored away from out bloodstream in our skin that have never had an opportunity to “get out of Dodge” with a cleanse or fast because we’re too busy eating like horses—so hungry you could eat a horse, or hungry like the wolf like our friends Duran Duran.

 

The less you eat, the cleaner you are. Eating and digestion produces metabolic waste and over time it accumulates inside your body unless you cleanse and/or fast. Reducing calories also lowers blood sugar and insulin levels. The 40 day guideline in several ancient texts means a person with an average body type can go 40 days without solid food before the body starts cannibalizing health tissue for food (like your muscle). It goes without say that pregnancy is not the time cleanse or fast. You need to eat for two people then.

 

Dismantle Your Unexamined Belief Systems…

When you’re clean on the inside, you won’t age at the same rate on the outside
When you’re clean on the inside, your mental and physical capacities won’t deteriorate like your “age group”
The “Over the hill” mentality is throwing in the towel without even entering the ring so knock that douchebag off your shoulder!

 

What are the Ingredients of The Master Cleanse?

Fresh squeezed lemons, Grade B Maple Syrup and Cayenne pepper (powdered spice), all preferably Organic.

For The Master Cleanse, I use 1 quart (32 oz) glass bottles. Santa Cruz, Lakewood or R.W. Knudsen juice bottles are great to reuse for this. DO NOT use plastic since acidic foods like lemon can leach plastic into the drink and all plastic is a hormone disruptor. I also measure out the maple syrup and fresh squeezed lemon juice separately in a glass measuring cup (1 cup/8oz, Anchor Hocking or Pyrex brands), which have a handle and fit nicely under my Waring citrus juicers spout.

 

From the instructions in the original book of The Master Cleanse, I scaled the measurements up for a 1 quart glass bottle:

3 oz lemon juice
3 oz Organic Grade B maple syrup/coconut nectar or blend
1/4-1/2 tsp of Organic cayenne pepper 30,000 Heat Units (HU) which is the kind found in most Whole Foods and natural food stores (in bulk section usually by the Frontier herb company)
All in 1 quart (32oz or a bit less) spring or purified water

 

The Suja company also makes a raw Master Cleanse drink if you are lazy on your first cleanse, but it appears not the same concentration as the original recipe when I’ve compared it to making the Master Cleanse fresh with a juicer. Their other juice blends are excellent raw combinations of vegetables and fruits that you can do short juice fasts of a few days with.

 

As far as maple syrup, Grade B is darker and thicker and supposedly has more nutrient value. In any case, don’t let it trip you up if you can only get Grade A maple syrup. And by all means do not use Aunt Jemima or Mrs. Butterworth’s as they are not 100% maple syrup—worse it’s corn syrup with maple syrup flavor and GMO corn syrup at that. Also don’t use lemonade bought in a store. It’s diluted in water and pasteurized already negating the health benefits of fresh squeezed lemons.

 

I’ve used the recommended Organic Grade B maple syrup. I’ve also tried dark agave syrup as well, even mixtures of the two. When coconut nectar came out, I tried that since it is raw and has more nutrition than either maple syrup and agave syrup. Coconut nectar also has a lower glycemic index than agave or maple syrup. All these can be found in natural foods stores, Whole Foods, and even most chain grocery stores natural foods sections.

 

For juicing lemons, I have a Waring Pro Citrus Juicer model PCJ201. It’s quick, easy to use and portable. I also have a higher end juicer, the Green Star GS-3000. The Waring Juicer costs a few hundred dollars less.

 

Most Cayenne Pepper will be 30-35,000 Heat Units (HU). You can get 90,000 heat units, but unless you grew up eating jalapenos or want to live dangerously at your colon’s expense, stick with the usual grade. I tried 90K HU Cayenne once on this fast. Once. It was a bit too hot and I’m used to hot jalapenos on pizza and in gluten free pancakes.

 

Cayenne is really good to have with meals even outside of doing The Master Cleanse. It aids digestion and open blood vessels. It’s even something that when eaten regularly may prevent a heart attack. I sprinkle cayenne in any nut butter. Ginger is another herb to eat for digestion and Curry (which contains Turmeric) is a staple of Indian cuisine which has numerous health benefits (anti–inflammatory) that you should incorporate into your diet as frequently as possible.

 

You can make the Master Cleanse mixer ahead of time and put it into several bottles. Just include the fresh lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper without adding the water yet and put it in the refrigerator or freezer. Add the water ONLY when you are going to start drinking it since water will start to break down the formulation before you want it to.

 

When can I do The Master Cleanse?

Spring and Fall are excellent times to do cleanses and fasts. The 5,000 year old science of Ayurveda agrees. The when will depend on your schedule and the climate where you live. Fasting in early Spring and Fall allows you to enjoy all the seasonal summer fruits and veggies in most locations.

 

I’ve done The Master Cleanse in different states, seasons and climates. In climates with a REAL Winter with snow and below freezing temperatures, I fasted Spring through Fall. I did fast several times during the Winters but it can stress the body since cold temperatures without eating solid food makes it feel 5 degrees colder or more colder than it already is.

 

When I lived in the tropics, it was comfortable to do all year round. Actually it was better to do in the Summers there since fasting lowers your body temperature since you are not burning any solid fuel in food. And besides, fruits and veggies are always in season there.

 

I’ve fasted hiking the Grand Canyon (AZ) and Joshua Tree National Park (CA) which lowered my body temperature in relation to the desert climates. You still need to drink PLENTY of water in those places but fasting from solid food slows you from dehydrating.

 

I try to clear my schedule when I plan my fasts/cleanses and tell friends that I won’t be available to have lunch but can still visit and take road trips. Often when I travel long distance by car or plane, I’ll fast for the day and just drink liquids. I don’t think our bodies work well at over 30,000 feet so I try to only eat on the ground.

 

How Long Should I do the Master Cleanse?

Aim for a duration of 10 days or more if you’ve done it for a few years already. If it’s your first one, 7-10 days may be better to get yourself used to it.

 

Drink 1-3 quarts of the lemon/maple/cayenne mixture daily as needed. You’ll need more in the first 3-4 days as your body has not yet switched over from digestive mode to cleansing mode. The middle part of the fast you may find you consume less. As the fast is nearing its end, you may notice you are drinking more. The hunger feelings are usually at the beginning and endings of fasts.

 

I have comfortably done The Master Cleanse for over 2 weeks, my longest being 23 days which I cut short because it was during Winter. Bad timing on my part.

 

Years prior, I did a longer water fast on a vacation lasting 8 days without having anything else but water. I did this however, after building up to it becoming comfortable going 2-4 days with only water. Some years later, I discovered The Master Cleanse. Comparing the two, the water only fast didn’t cleanse as deeply as The Master Cleanse and I had low energy during it. I slept for a few hours each afternoon and meditated. I did have a very altered state of consciousness towards the end where I heard poetic lyrical verse just coming to me instantly almost faster that I could write. One of my Yoga teachers did 47 days on a fast but I wouldn’t put him in the “normal human” category to begin with. He’s in his 70’s now and has been meditating for more years than I’ve been breathing.

 

Can I Have Anything Else on The Master Cleanse?

Skip the pizza of course but the answer is yes. Teas are recommend especially Tulsi (Holy Basil) and Detox tea formulas. Burroughs wrote the book before coconut water and kombucha became all the rage in health foodie circles. On occasion I’ve had these on The Master Cleanse, but wait 30 minutes to an hour before and after drinking The Master Cleanse—you want this to be your main source of calories for the cleansing effect it will have on your entire body.

 

Can I Work and Exercise on The Master Cleanse?

Yes. Walking and rebounding (jumping on a mini trampoline) as well as Yoga/stretching are great during fasts. Don’t hit the weight racks at the gym or go running. Low impact exercise only. Don’t worry about losing progress at the gym either. You’ll gain it back, and with better muscular structure. I’ve even actually gone up on the weight racks after 10 days of not weightlifting after The Master Cleanse. I know this makes no sense, but cleanses and fasts work on multiple levels. More than that, this has happened multiple times so it’s not a fluke—it’s the synergistic benefits of regular fasting.

 

It bears mentioning to avoid sexual activity during fasts and cleanses. The reduction in calories will naturally decrease your libido so your body can conserve energy and get on with the business of removing accumulated stored toxins. Don’t counteract this normal safeguard inhibition as sex requires a lot of energy from the body like digestion.

 

During fasts and cleanses, I do basic Yoga stretches, take walks during the day, meditate for several hours a day. Also, read books, practice music, do art and listen to inspirational music (instrumental/ambient music is great) and try to avoid the negativity on TV and newspapers.

 

On The Master Cleanse I could do physical labor though try to avoid it if you can. Once I even helped my parents move to a new house 14 days into a Master Cleanse—and we’re talking lifting couches and chairs.

 

How Often Should I do The Master Cleanse?

This will depend on how much you normally eat and how clean you are. If you’re eating 3 or more times a day, a good guideline is to do The Master Cleanse 2-4 times a year. This number may decrease as you become cleaner on the inside and do not require it as frequently. Also be flexible with the number of days per fast. Try to do 10, but if one only lasts 7 days, that’s still plenty of cleansing. You can go longer than 10 days on some of your other fasts.

 

If you eat 1 or 2 times a day, 1-2 times a year does the job splendidly. Spring and Fall are ideal times for this since you’re preparing for Winter (to prevent sickness) and cleaning yourself after Winter when most people are more sedentary and tend to overeat.

 

These are the ratios I’ve experienced work well for me when I’ve eaten at the frequencies mentioned. Yours may vary. Also you can cut down the number of times you do this every year if you are doing other fasts or cleanses. For example I do the Ayurvedic Kitchari Cleanse twice a year (4 days) and The Apple Juice fast twice a year (3 days).  The Kitchari Cleanse is a 4 day mono food diet that’s great for cleansing & fasting rookies. These will be discussed in other articles.

 

Changing Your Diet

Fasting and cleanses such as The Master Cleanse not only remove accumulated toxins but actually change your tastes and craving in food—towards more natural, healthier, less salted, less sugar laden food. Yes boring ‘ol real food made by God/Nature actually becomes really desirable and tasty over food made in factories. That in itself is a Miracle of Fasting to borrow Paul Bragg’s book title.

 

I’m not here to preach you should completely become a vegetarian, vegan, paleo or raw. You’ll find your diet will change over the course of your life even after you eat cleaner and healthier. It’s always an ongoing journey. I’ve done all these diets and take what I like from each.

 

I have Organic free range eggs as my meat—“Meat on the other side of life” as I like to call it. I get Organic Grass Fed Pastured when I can find them. They are the highest quality and more expensive than just cage free. I only have eggs when I sense my body craving them which happens to be in Winters and after fasts which is my body telling me to replenish it’s fat reserves.

 

As far as dairy, I’ve switched to coconut ice cream and vegan cheese. Heidi Ho veggie and cashew cheese (without soy) are what I put on homemade pizza these days.

 

But to cut down on mucus, and you still want dairy, switch to goat or sheep milk products like I have now and then. The protein molecule in these animal’s milk is much smaller and more similar to human breast milk protein than cow’s milk protein which is large and more difficult to digest. Goat and sheep milk products are also slightly alkaline and not as mucus producing as cows dairy which for singers is crucial. Opera tenor Luciano Parvarotti once said he avoids dairy. Contemporary singers often have to avoid cigarettes and other substance abuse first before concerning themselves with more “Prima Donna” sounding healthier dietary items that reduce mucus.

 

Another great thing to add to your diet to clean plaque from arteries (as well as a myriad of other health benefits) is drinking a tablespoon of raw Organic apple cider vinegar at meals.

 

What if it’s My First Master Cleanse?

No problem. You can build up to it. Try 5-7 days if 10 seems too much at first. I had been fasting a day a week (one 24-36 hour period) like Paul Bragg recommended in the Miracle Of Fasting for quite some time before I did my first Master Cleanse. My weekly fast day was usually on a day off so I could relax. On weekends sometimes I would fast 2 or 3 days straight. This made The Master Cleanse easier for me and I still did my regular 1 day a week fast all year round. It wasn’t until just a year ago that I began eating only once or twice a day (as that’s all I seemed to need recently), which is known as Intermittent Fasting as Dr. Joseph Mercola recommends in several articles on his website www.mercola.com

 

Dr. Mercola’s site has a lot of articles on fasting and the medical benefits of it. He himself is a practitioner of Intermittent Fasting as well (1 meal a day). The standard advice is it is best to consult your Physician before fasting and/or cleanses. If you have low blood sugar or Diabetes, fasting probably isn’t the best thing to attempt.

 

If your Doctor actually knows about cleanses and fasts, great. The problem many people will run into with consulting their physician is that few will have one who has any direct knowledge and experience with doing these themselves and may spread fears about them. People have been fasting for thousands of years. Bears have been fasting (during hibernation) for even longer than that. Nature built this mechanism into animals. You may have to see another health practitioner such as a Naturopath (as is Dr. Mercola) or an Ayurvedic physician or specialist.The good news is most Doctors from India and China know about Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine respectively as part of their cultural heritage and won’t treat you like you’ve been deluded by a quack and just bought a case of snake oil. How many pharmaceutical drugs does the rest of the animal kingdom need? Who’s really living against nature?

 

Breaking Your Master Cleanse Juice Fast

The thing you’ll notice after doing The Master Cleanse regularly is that you’ll consume more of it during the first 3-4 days until your body “switches over” from digestion mode to cleansing mode. When this happens, you’ll notice you don’t need as much of the drink during the middle part of the fast. This is The “Eye Of The Fast” similar to how a hurricane is rough in the beginning and end but peaceful in the middle. There’s a deep calm and peace accompanied with an altered expanded state of consciousness and slower deeper brainwaves like alpha and theta.

 

The hamster wheel of “normal” fight or flight beta consciousness people wind up in due to the crazy pace of modern society is stressful, ultra thin, and not conducive to greater creativity or long term health. Just look at all the problems people have with high blood pressure. My blood pressure is generally the same when I am not eating solid food for 10 or more days as it is when I’m eating normally. That’s a result of long term meditation and fasting.

 

Fasting cleans the physical body on the deepest levels. Meditation cleans the thoughts and emotions.

 

Towards the tail end of the fast, your body will cue you in that it’s nearing the time to slowly and gently resume eating soon. You’ll notice you’ll start drinking more of The Master Cleanse again like in the beginning of it. Your mind will start thinking of food again and the white film (toxins brought into circulation by the fast) on your tongue will get lighter or be gone. Needless to say, it’s best to avoid going to grocery stores near the end of your fast unless you want to overspend like senior citizens in New England before a “Big Storm” forecast on TV.

 

The most important thing about breaking a fast is starting to integrate easy to digest foods FIRST. And not large quantities of them either. It will be several days before you build up to your normal portion sizes of anything. Think of yourself as a baby learning to eat again.

 

You are restarting your digestive system after it has been on vacation. So it’s Monday back at work when your stomach just got back from Aruba.

 

Start with high water content fruit to break The Master Cleanse. I’ve broken fasts with the recommended 2 days of orange juice as The Master Cleanse recommends. I’ve broken it with tomato sauce like Paul Bragg recommends (a tomato is a high water content fruit).

Good Choices To Break The Master Cleanse (High Water Content Fruit):
Grapefruit
Orange
Pineapple
Melons
Watermelon (take the seeds out)
Tomato Sauce/Tomatoes/Salsa (acidic and cleansing for digestive system post fast)

 

I generally prefer to have fresh oranges, grapefruits, tomato sauce/salsa, and pineapple for the first 2 days of eating again. And SMALL portions. DO NOT OVEREAT. Your hunger will return and tell you when to eat more but not for a few days. So this means a meal in those first few days is a half an orange, half a grapefruit, a cup (8oz) of tomato sauce or pineapple.

 

Coming off a fast may be a bit rough so don’t stress out your stomach the first few days after it’s vacation because you won’t digest larger quantities of food at this stage properly or worse, you could get sick. This is the mistake of many shipwreck survivors when they are rescued days or weeks later without having any food. Their bodies were in a fasting state and due to their hunger and fear, they overeat and get sick when food is available again.

 

Proper hydration is paramount. Drink plenty of water after your fast to flush remaining toxins out of your body. Have 22oz to a quart (32oz) of water first thing in morning upon waking. This keeps billions of cells hydrated and your bowels running smoothly. Our bodies are 70% or more water and it is slow suicide to not drink water alone all by itself like the rest of the animal kingdom. Don’t let yourself get dehydrated. When you are thirsty, your body is already in the dehydration zone. Sip water throughout the day and up until 20 minutes before a meal. Start drinking water 40-45 minutes after each meal. Hydration in this manner negates needing to drink water or liquids during meals which dilutes stomach acids and leads to less than optimal incomplete digestion.

 

Remember it takes 3-4 days for your body to switchover from digestion to cleansing mode to start a fast and it takes as much or longer to switch back to digestive mode completely.  Have 1 tablespoon of Raw Organic Apple Cider Vinegar diluted in a bit (1-2oz) of water with meals (other than fruit) and at any other time post fast. This will further cleanse and aid in your digestion.

 

One of the main principles of Food Combining is having fruit ALONE because it digests the quickest of any food. Eat fruit alone and wait 30 minutes before having anything else and at least 2 hours afterwards. Doing so helps prevent digestive issues where the fruit sugars when combined with other kinds of food have to wait to be digested and putrefy in your digestive tract. Eww! This is just what harmful bacteria love as a food source, and since around 70% of your immune system is actually in your gut, they’re attacking at your front door.

 

Stick to meal portions of a half cup (4oz) to 1 cup (8oz) the first 3-4 days resuming solid food

Eat Slow and Savor your food—be mindful of the tastes you missed noticing before

 

Pineapple is great to break a fast because of its digestive enzymes. I’ve broken The Master Cleanse with 2-4 days of just a cup of pineapple several times a day.

 

Kombucha and Kevita beverages are excellent to replenish probiotics and further detoxify post fast. Drink these alone or 20-30 minutes before a meal that is not fruit to help with digestion. Probiotics and Apple Cider Vinegar will help buffer post fast symptoms of feeling under the weather.

 

Apples are good after the second day of resuming eating since the Malic acid in them is very cleansing for the entire digestive tract. This is why the Apple Juice Fast of 2-3 days is very effective for improving digestion and keeping your digestive tract functioning optimally throughout your life. And one small or medium sized apple is a meal at this point.

 

After the first few days of fruit and/or juice, break in simple high water content vegetables next. Onions and cucumbers are great. Carrots are high water content too and one medium size carrot is a meal here. Carrots are also cleansing to the digestive tract. Broccoli, cauliflower, sauerkraut and vegetable soup (without grains or beans) are excellent as well. Sauerkraut replenishes needed probiotics post fast. I also recommend Amazing Grass Raw Reserve powder (original or berry flavored) for it’s density and medley of nutrition in addition to healthy digestive bacteria.

 

Keep refraining from eating the same amount you are used to eating—this will take some discipline and experience. Continue to have have small portions the first several days post fast so your digestion can come back online. It’s still yawning at this point. Remember, it has been on vacation and is simple like a baby’s the first week of resuming eating.

 

In the first 3-4 days after your fast, it’s common to have a runny nose and become stuffed up with excess mucus. This is produced when you resume eating solid food, which is why the most important part of coming off a fast is easing your way back into your regular pattern of eating. Pretty much everyone experiences some degree of coughing and a scratchy throat as well (why having Raw OG Apple Cider Vinegar is helpful as a buffer post fast). You may also notice you are more emotional than usual when resuming eating again. It’s wise to break your first fast over a weekend until you can identify the specific symptoms and reactions particular to your fasts.
Another fantastic post fast buffering food is having fresh Organic garlic or garlic powder on your vegetables and first meals. Sprinkle liberally. Garlic is an incredibly potent anti-biotic and will pick up any slack and sluggishness your immune and digestive systems got bogged down in the foxhole of the fast.

 

Green peas are an excellent first plant protein as they are high water content. Then break in seeds and nuts—almonds, macadamias, pistachios, walnuts, pecans, Brazil nuts, etc.  Pumpkin seeds are wonderful as are hemp seeds or hemp protein. Raw cacao (chocolate) and shredded coconut are also terrific sources of healthy fats. Ground flax seed is amazingly cleansing post fast as well as a great source of plant based Omega 3 fatty acids. Chia seed is even better for Omega 3. And good news if you’re craving carbs: Quinoa isn’t a grain! Unlike grains, it’s actually a complete protein–a seed and member of the rhubarb family. Soak in water 6 or more hours before cooking to make it more nutritious and digestible.

 

Your body will be craving fats after a fast to replenish its reserves. A great first fat to start eating after your first 2 or more days of just eating fruit is coconut oil. The reason being, coconut oil is rapidly digested like a carbohydrate unlike other fats which require your gallbladder to secrete bile to break them down. Get Organic Extra Virgin (sometimes labeled as simply Virgin) cold pressed UNREFINED for maximum benefits. Have a tablespoon with your first vegetable meals post fast. Coconut oil is a fantastic food for long term health afterwards too since it is anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti parasitic as well as protective for the brain against degenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s Disease.

 

Wait a week before you have any hard to digest things like animal protein (meat, fish, dairy) if you eat these. Also, I usually wait a week before having any grain products like bread or granola as well. After a week, most people are back to eating their normal diet and normal volume of food per meal.

 

Putting a leash on the returning tiger of your hunger for the first 4-7 days post fast and having buffering foods like Raw Apple Cider Vinegar, coconut oil, garlic/garlic powder, and onions will ensure you do not get sick as you transition back to your normal eating habits. Vitamin D3 supplementation either in liquid form or softgel will ramp up your immune system during the transition time. Kombucha, sauerkraut, or probiotic supplementation will bolster the growth healthy flora in your digestive tract.

 

Chlorella is another superfood I recommend consuming on a daily basis for it’s unrivaled nutrient breadth and density, detoxifying properties and overall long term health maintenance. All these players form an All Star team for your cakehole to get it’s groove back without having a slump. They can also keep you in the game of life much longer, and with greater physical vigor and mental acuity than if you we’re playing for the “home team” of the Standard American Diet. So batter up or batter up with deep fried death. Your choice.

 

Final Thoughts

I grew up eating Pop Tarts, Chips Ahoy!, Little Debbie, Keebler, Lucky Charms and Captain Crunch too. These days my treats are all much healthier—homemade pizza, coconut ice cream, Mary’s Gone Cookies, and the occasional Nature’s Path Toaster Pastry. Take that Pop Tarts. The best part of it was the fasting itself reset my taste buds and recalibrated my body where I naturally started craving healthier food like sauerkraut after coming off fasts and cleanses. It surprised me how I was eating things my mother wouldn’t dare put on my plate as a kid. I no longer fear brussel sprouts. It can happen to you too.

 

Fasting uses the body’s innate intelligence. Willpower alone only goes so far—if you feed your body junk food, it will crave junk food. It’s a negative cycle that perpetuates itself and sugar is addictive but legal. You can break free without deprivation or torturing yourself with willpower which just sets you up for failure and self-criticism.

 

Remember, you didn’t get stuck in a poor diet overnight so be patient with yourself as you turn that sugar laden ship around. There’s no Fairy Godmother to grant you an instant transformation nuked in a microwave for 30 seconds. As your body becomes cleaner on the inside, you won’t crave junk food and overly sweet, salty (used as a preservative in processed foods to extend shelf life) food anymore.

 

A few other tips: Stop cooking in a microwave—it alters food where the body cannot utilize the nutrients and creates excess free radicals inside your body. You are throwing money away microwaving food and decreasing the amount of nutrient value the food has. Better alternatives are using your stove or toaster oven. For healthy cooking with quickness, get a Far Infrared oven from NuWave which fits on any table or countertop.

 

Use Himalayan sea salt—it’s the purest, most nutrient dense salt in the world as it was formed in the prehistoric oceans long before humans ever polluted the land, rivers and oceans and cheered for the stock markets. This is another reason to fast and cleanse regularly—because these industries have polluted you as well. The average infant born in the world today has over 250 foreign chemicals already inside it’s body. You have to take a stand and fight for your long term heath and stay ahead of the curve. Don’t expect your Big Mac eating Congress and Senate to have the health and safety of your food on their legislative plates anytime soon.

 

Remember:

Flexibility over fanaticism. Dietary fundamentalists and fanatics are no different than religious fundamentalists and fanatics. No one diet is ever 100% accurate or complete for everybody, nor will it remain the same over a persons entire life. You will change and grow and have the right to do so.

 

Taste Food Again For The First Time

Best wishes on your Master Cleanse, rejuvenation, and long term investment in your health. Enjoy discovering all the subtle nuances and flavors of food made by Nature as you are soon descending back into the realm of regular scheduled gastronomy like I am about to once again in a few days.

 

And with that, you’ll also find an unexpected sacred reverence for food and the simple act of eating you probably have long forgotten since you believed in Santa, who probably could use a Master Cleanse as well—and a trip to Aruba to do it in.

 

Disclaimer: This article is for informational/educational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. Consult your physician or healthcare professional before beginning any diet or exercise program.

© Composer Yoga

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Pizza Snowman: Crusty The Snowman

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Get some Extra Points this Super Bowl or make your Holiday Parties Gastronomical with Crusty The Snowman!!

 

Recipe to keep them running back for more:

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Crusty The Snowman…Organic goat cheese

You can use cow’s milk cheese if you don’t have digestive issues with it. If not goat, sheep or buffalo cheese are easier to digest. For vegans, there are better and healthier plant based substitutes than soy now like cashew, vegetable or coconut based cheese. I’ve taken a liking to Heidi Ho brand vegan cheese which you can find at Whole Foods and other natural food stores.

 

Top hat…Kalamata olives (sliced, you can also use one to make him throwing a football)
Nose/buttons…Capers
Eyes…Cacao nibs (raw chocolate)
Smile…Bee pollen
Shrubs…Broccoli
Snow on ground…Coconut chips (Medium shred dried coconut can be used as well)

All on an Organic sourdough Spelt crust with tomato sauce. You can use the traditional pizza ingredient of tomato paste, your favorite pasta sauce or salsa for a spicier kick off!

Spelt is a cousin of wheat that’s easier to digest. There are gluten free pizza crusts as well made out of millet, quinoa, tapioca, chickpea, etc. There are also vegetable based crusts like cauliflower.

 

No corn cob pipe here! Crusty quit smoking for his New Year’s Resolution. His cousin Frosty on the other hand, fell on a nicotine patch and won’t be running here and there all around the square saying, “Catch me if you can” anytime soon.

© Composer Yoga




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What follows is a grocery list of things I’ve learned from life and various approaches to living exploring Creativity & Spirituality—being an artist, student of meditation, regular fasting & yoga, internal yearning towards higher consciousness and becoming a more creative being for positive transformation. These are general principles and observations I try to live by and navigate the wilderness of Maya with. Some are Confucius sounding hence the jest with the title if the long bearded Chinese sage wanted to narcissistically self–aggrandize himself.

Here’s the twenty–sixth batch of Zen BrowniesTasty, mouth–watering morsels to reduce consumption of bad karma and sweeten the recipe of your life:

 

1. If government fails to work in theory and practice, you can continue to vote with your dollar every day not every few years. Voting with your dollar speaks louder and longer over time.

2. Ask yourself if this world is good enough for you. If you can imagine better worlds, what makes you think The Creator cannot top your wildest fantasy utopias?

3. Theory is not reality. What’s perfect in your head will often fall apart outside of it.

4. When you focus on health, looking good is a by–product. Eat clean organic food, drink clean water, get necessary rest, walk and exercise regularly.

5. There’s chump change pleasures and then there’s the forces that rotate galaxies.

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6. People want to be right over solving problems which contributes to and often creates the problem to begin with.

7. Honor the Soul over the country. Souls are Eternal, countries aren’t.

8. You can pretend to be on this planet simply for cultural and social purposes or choose to interact with reality at a deeper level.

9. The Creator is both older and younger than you at the same time. Eternally ancient and eternally new.

10. No attention span=no Meditation=no Higher Consciousness. Which means you’ll be stuck at this level of existence for a long time.

© Composer Yoga

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Supreme Court, Fairy Godmother Agency Give Two Thumbs Up To GMOs And Brand Name Drugs




WASHINGMACHINE, D.C.>>In a 2013 ruling, the US Supreme Court decided that if you take generic drugs and experience negative effects or negative consequences, you then have no legal recourse for a lawsuit. You have to pay through the nose (and perhaps other body cavities) and buy the brand name of the same chemical substance to gain these legal rights now. But lawsuits won't be necessary according to lawmakers because the FGA, The Fairy Godmother Agency turned brand name drugs into super helpful harmless potions.

"Once your stomach sees the brand name logo, it knows it's ingesting a way better substance than a cheap generic version of the same thing." says Biochemist Rowland Blowfitz of Twerck Pharmaceuticals.

This works much the same way shoes with Nike printed on them help you run faster or clothing with Hollister written on it help you gain status in your peer group, attract your dream boyfriend and make it more likely to be voted Prom Queen. As to why places in California that even Californians don't care to live become brand names still remains a mystery but that's besides the point.

But hold on to your GMO Tricorn hats as the magic wand gets waved yet again---SHAZAAM!!

Genetically Modified Food (GMOs) and milk treated with the rBGH (bovine growth hormone) have been found not significantly different than Organic or non--chemically grown food. There is the inconvenient fact that they have been deemed significantly different to be granted patents by another government agency, the US Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) but this is easily explained:

"When you eat GMO foods, the patents magically wear off and it turns into safe normal harmless food kinda like Cinderella thanks to our lovely Fairy Godmother Agency" says Missouri Senator Barry Pinkham and former VP of Biotech behemoth, Monster Santo. "Ignorance may indeed be bliss---but as an added bonus, it's also way more profitable for the economy."

"We're moving forward with double blind science that's gone through cutting edge studies or something like that" says Monster Santo CEO Kip Wingnut.

"This company was founded on concerns for public safety, just not those of Vietnamese origin. Our Agent Orange was like an FBI GMO Man of his time" added Wingnut.




Both Democrats and Republicans agree on keeping the American public safe and worry free and that means keeping foods with GMOs and GMO ingredients unlabeled thus "hidden" so they won't fall into the hands of our enemies.

"California Proposition 37 was obviously a Communist plot. Good thing we stopped than Commie bastard granny using the sob story she's concerned about what her grandchildren are eating---we're all heard that one before" says Missouri Governor Tyke Coon. "Better dead than red, like those fictional lab rats in those long term studies done outside the United States by French scientists. French scientists---Now there's an oxymoron [laughs]. Everyone knows the short term industry funded clinical studies submitted to the FGA were the real deal. The integrity of our corporate science assures the world that Genetically Modified Food will never become an oxymoron like Pop Culture or Reality TV."

Governor Coon also sported a fashionable apron printed with the newly unveiled 'industry derision of French cuisine' slogan "Biotech is the New Iron Chef" courtesy of one of the finest overpriced Public Relations firms on Madison Avenue. "They're just peeved they never thought of splicing Bt toxin in potatoes. It's like they invented the French Fry sure, but our country made it ooh là là gourmet with some biotech ketchup" chided Coon.

Proud American Harry Palmer says he's honored and fortunate to live in a country that's honest and never jerks him around. "Gosh, there's so much magic here in America, I bet the rest of the world is jealous they don't have as many Wizards in government as we do" he proclaims.

These corporate fairy tales with happy endings are truly heartwarmingly amazing: the right stuff like the legendary massage parlors of Thailand. Who needs Lord of the Rings when America is so chock full of Gandalfs in government? Judicial Jedis guarding the Republic for which it scams. The official music the Supreme Court Marshall plays for America's storybook marriage of industry and government is a regal Paytriotic rendition of "Here Comes The Bribe."

© Composer Yoga

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Magic Of Oil Painting’s Bob Ross Becomes Spiritual Leader

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SANTA ROSA, CA—Artist Bob Ross underwent a recent metamorphosis and is now painting souls. The painter founded the “Happy Little Trees” Ashram in the Redwood Forests of Northern California. Bob’s goal he says is “to bring out the happy little tree in everyone” through painting, meditating and sniffing copious amounts of oil paint.

 

It’s a kind of Neo–Hippie commune for the new century nestled in the picturesque hills and valleys of the Redwoods near the coastline.

 

“There’s never been a Spiritual Guru with a ‘fro as beautiful as Bob’s” says Religious Scholar Professor Heinrick Jordan.

 

“What we’re seeing here is the birth of a new archetype” says Jungian Analyst Dr. Walter Hanson. “Previously in human history, afros were only first seen represented culturally in 70’s funk bands and professional NBA players such as Julius ‘Dr. J’ Erving. Also in TV heroes like John Shaft and Linc Hayes of the Mod Squad.”

 

“Maybe the Mothership has landed. Perhaps George Clinton was predicting the coming of a new spiritual leader—a gentle soul with a ‘fro, a gentle soul who paints, taught children of all ages love for nature, love for happy little trees, lakes, rivers, mountains, flowers…sorry I’m starting to cry” added Dr. Hanson.

 

“God always slips under the radar” says Reverend Waylon Jensen. “Mr. Rogers—whoo wee, that brother was a mean jazz pianist fo’ sho [sic]. We all grew up watching Bob paint right in front of our eyes for years—saw the beauty, the ‘magic’ he created in just a half hour show. Now I look back and see every episode as a Miracle, every episode a different sermon on beauty. Only now is the world realizing the Spiritual Giant he is. He’s an easel Jesus!! Amen.”

 

“Bob always spoke of happy little trees. Now he’s among the tall trees—the Redwoods because he became a big tree” says follower Sunshine MoonFlower.

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Happy Little Trees (HLT) Ashram is meant to be an “open canvas” welcoming people from all faiths and walks of life and contains orchards and organic gardens of fruits, vegetables and flowers. Residents and attendees attend Bob’s popular “The Yoga of Painting Your Life” Workshops & Seminars and “Paint by Numbers” lectures.

 

“If you water the little trees you become a big tree—this is one of the principles we learn from Bob’s teachings” says Seymour Heston, a retired engineer from Fort Worth, Texas. “It’s one of the Spiritual Laws of Thermodynamics. Some politicians say God loves guns, but Bob has shown me that God loves paintbrushes.”

 

“Saints and Angels with afros is a new paradigm for humanity” says Theologian Byron Watkins of Atlanta, Georgia. “I bet all the Renaissance painters would want a time machine right now! Too bad DeLorean went out of business.”

 

“The vital questions before us now are ‘Why were Old School Angels partial to particular hairdos? Straight or curly, straight or curly. What’s God got against afros?’ This may signal the coming of a new Messiah—the coming of the AfroChrist—and Bob is like the messenger, the ‘John the Baptist'” explained Watkins.

 

“Bob taught me how to paint my life with the colors it was missing” said Stockbroker Chad Arnold of Long Island. “I made millions by the time I was 30 but my only color was green.”

 

Can you say “Happy Little Sea cliffs?” Well if you can, you’ll enjoy seeing these there too—as impressive as the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California and you’ll also get to see Bob paint them too. HLT Ashram is as idyllic as the Kripalu Center (Stockbridge, MA) and Canyon Ranch (Lenox, MA) both of which are nestled in the beautiful Berkshire Mountains of Western Massachusetts. All of Bob’s retreats promise clean air, clean food and water and of course clean paintbrushes. For those interested in going to a retreat to empty your mind’s canvas at Happy Little Trees Ashram, call 555 HAPPYLT or go online at www.paintyoursoul.bob

© Composer Yoga

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Closet Singles: Alan Parsons Project “Can’t Take It With You”

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When I was a kid my mother always played the radio in the kitchen when she was baking things. One of my favorite desserts was her recipe for “Peanut Butter Swirl Bars”—think Reeses Peanut Butter Cups with an increased decadence factor: LOTS of chocolate and peanut butter mixed in a wheat flour base then topped off with what else but chocolate chips. The batch was baked in a Pyrex glassware oblong baking dish then cut into brownie squares hot from the oven. With these squares, I didn’t stop at just one. I definitely was that dude who DID eat just one Lay’s potato chip (my kid civil disobedience to their advertising slogan “No One Can Eat Just One”) as my sister can verify. With the sugar/carb content of this favorite homemade treat, nowadays it would be a recipe for ADD—but for me it became a recipe for APP—the Alan Parsons Project.

 

The Alan Parsons Project was a “studio band” like Steely Dan with writers/composers Alan Parsons and Eric Woolfson at the helm. They met in the cafeteria of Abbey Road Studios as both worked there; Woolfson as a session pianist, Parsons as an Engineer/Assistant Engineer. Although Alan Parsons worked with notable acts like Ambrosia, The Hollies, and Al Stewart, he firmly secured his place in recording history as Assistant Engineer (AE) on The Beatles albums Abbey Road and Let It Be. And if that isn’t good enough for Archangel Tapereel, Alan Parsons WAS the Engineer on the classic Pink Floyd concept album Dark Side Of The Moon, which became one of the best selling albums worldwide and consistently ranks as one of the greatest albums of all time regardless of any self–congratulatory vainglorious revisionist history on the part of Kanye West. Another thing worth noting is how the iconic over art on Dark Side Of The Moon had to factor into the Alan Parsons Project album title Pyramid that the subject of this Closet Singles is about.

 

When I think back to being a kid, it was kind of strange how I loved listening to music but didn’t start buying it until later. Reruns of Looney Tunes and Tom & Jerry cartoons gave me my love for classical music (It’s not like my father was known to whip out the Stradivarius after dinner). I wasn’t even aware what genre of music Bugs Bunny and Tom & Jerry were grooving along to was called. I also used to draw all the Peanuts characters—Snoopy, Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy, Woodstock and others. I loved the Charlie Brown TV specials and had no idea what I was hearing was called “jazz” piano (outside of Schroeder’s Beethoven worship). Call it what you want, it was all just music to me. *Insert Tesla song here*

 

It was in this orange kitchen (unknowingly an optimal color to encourage appetite) where my ears were being fed without being relegated to “sloppy seconds” or “leftovers from the eyes” from watching TV in the living room. To this day, I’m still a radio junkie—I’ve since graduated to internet & international radio but still play local stations all the time at home and wherever I visit and travel. Maybe someday we’ll be able to get some extra–terrestrial stations and hear the “Proud Marys” of other civilizations which would be sent through space more powerfully than their more melodically dense & complex classical music thanks to the profit motive of commercial radio. Their entire solar system is probably tired of hearing their periodic NPR fundraisers as well.

 

Like one of my friends says, “We’re Ear People” meaning musicians tend to have hearing as their dominant sense (or one of their main dominant senses) and learning style. With me, it’s to the point I can hear higher pitches than most people’s range of hearing. My ear brother has the Rain Man savant skill of being able to approximate the dimensions of a room from hearing a clap in it over a phone. Too bad there’s no game shows or carnival openings for that.

 

In a sense we’re all “ear people.” That is, at least in utero. The French ENT (Ear, Nose & Throat) Doctor and researcher Alfred Tomatis was known for the theory “The ear grows the brain” and that incorrect hearing is a primary factor in many conditions related to speech, learning and emotional health. His theories of hearing and listening are known as the Tomatis Method or Audio–Psycho–Phonology (yet another APP). Some notable musicians who’ve received treatment and benefitted from the Tomatis Method include Sting and Opera legend Maria Callas.

 

Hearing is the first sense that comes online in utero—the auditory input actually grows the brain. Sound is energy, sound is food. Music builds neural connections and enhances intelligence with exposure to increasingly more complex sound patterns. The brain on music is like “let’s arc weld some new neurons and have a conference call with the right and left hemisphere.” Listening to music is like that Pink Floyd laser light show going on inside our heads and leads to more whole brain oriented functioning. Musicians develop interstates as a Corpus Callusom (the band of nerves connecting the hemispheres of the brain) not the “Country Roads” biology gave us anymore. Guess what I’m doing now? Listening to music while I write—it’s perhaps the best compliment and springboard to any creative endeavor. The interesting thing is how other people seem to lose this auditory dominance once their sense of touch and sight become the “new toys” biology leaves for us under the Christmas tree of life.

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Back to that orange kitchen. My mother was far from a punk rocker—her name is nowhere even close to Sheena. Then again Sheena Easton wasn’t a punk singer so maybe that Ramones song should be taken with a grain of salty tasting Doc Martens. The station she liked was a local independent AM/FM station that played soft rock and adult contemporary radio favorites until the next ice age. Mom didn’t ride a Harley (my music teacher on the other hand yes) nor was she rocking out to AC/DC like my siblings and I—and making up our own lyrics because we couldn’t understand anything beyond Dirty Deeds…

 

From that kitchen radio, my ear developed a fondness for the Alan Parsons Project, Toto, The Doobie Brothers, Steely Dan among numerous other bands and songs. I wasn’t aware at the time that this was some very well crafted popular music. I didn’t even find out what most of these songs were called until years later. Some of the songs I remember hearing during these kitchen table top ten sessions were “Hey Nineteen”, “Eye In The Sky”, “Africa”, “Minute By Minute”, “Rikki Don’t Loose That Number”, “Games People Play”, “What A Fool Believes”, “Rosanna”, “Don’t Answer Me”, and of course “Peg.” I wasn’t aware Steely Dan was considered jazz pop or the Alan Parsons Project was called Prog or Progressive music. Nor was I aware many of the same musicians played on these songs via the incestuous family of A list session musicians.

 

I just soaked up all these songs sitting at the kitchen table while drawing, making things out of modeling clay, building models, sorting baseball cards, or playing with my chameleon. My brother did like the Culture Club hit “Karma Chameleon” but neither of ours was named Boy George. We also thought the lyrics were Come–a come–a chameleon… Flash forward to adolescence. It was here I started getting deeper into all these bands that I’d only heard a few songs from on the radio and doing “musical archeology” to catalog all these songs and bands I’d heard as a youth. Being a piano student, it’s cool how you can appreciate music on deeper levels with more musical knowledge—like how the main opening melody line in “Eye In The Sky” is in the locrian mode—rarely used in pop music (The song itself is in B minor). Alan & Eric snuck that in like 11th hour Congressional legislation.

 

Later on with bands I played “My Old School”, “Kid Charelemagne” & “Reelin’ In The Years” and in private would tear into “Peg”, “What A Fool Believes”, “Do It Again” and “Minute By Minute” as often as possible. As a teenager I started working as backstage/technical crew for an area dance company. Here I was exposed to even more kinds of unique pieces of music and compositions. When I heard something I liked, I’d ask what the song was and who wrote it. One show the dance theatre did choreography to the Alan Parsons Project instrumental “In The Lap Of The Gods” off the 1978 Pyramid album. I bought that album and it became my new favorite for quite some time. Even today it’s like visiting an old friend whenever I give it some ear time.




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Pyramid is a concept album based on the Pyramids on the Giza Plateau in Egypt. It was nominated for a Grammy in the category “Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical” in 1978, the same category Alan Parsons was nominated for years earlier with Dark Side Of The Moon. Deja Vu all over again—both albums having Pyramids in common.

 

Alan Parsons Project used several vocalists depending on the particular facet the song required. Their vocal stable read like a who’s who of United Kingdom pop singers. Among the Alan Parsons Project speed dial vocalists were Colin Blunstone of The Zombies (famous for the 1964 hit “She’s Not There”) and Scottish solo artist Chris Rainbow. Blunstone did lead on “Old And Wise” (Eye In The Sky) and “Dancing On A Highwire” (Amonia Avenue); Rainbow did lead vocals for “Snake Eyes” and “Gemini” (The Turn Of A Friendly Card) and “Since the Last Goodbye” (Amonia Avenue). Also of note, Gary Brooker from Procol Harum (known for the 1967 hit “A Whiter Shade Of Pale”) sang lead on “Limelight” off the 1985 album Stereotomy.

 

However, the two most well known Alan Parsons Project lead vocalists are the following:

Eric Woolfson—the “Jon Anderson” and “Sade” of Alan Parsons Project. Eric has the breathier more spiritually cosmic inclination and nuance as a vocalist. He sung on several of the APP’s most popular singles: “Time”, “Don’t Answer Me”, “Prime Time” and “Eye In The Sky”, the band’s most successful single ever. Another feather in the cap for Eric was “Closer To Heaven” (Gaudi) was used in an episode of Miami Vice.

 

Lenny Zakatek—the “Jon Bon Jovi” of Alan Parsons Project. Lenny sang the more uptempo rocking tunes like “One More River” on Pyramid and a few years later on another of their flagship tunes “Games People Play” off their 1980 album The Turn Of A Friendly Card. Lenny started out as a R&B funk blues singer with the British band Gonzalez who are best known for their 1977 disco hit “Haven’t Stopped Dancing Yet.”

 

Alan Parsons & Eric Woolfson worked with a diverse group of singers and touched on so many different styles & genres they could’ve brought Gollum in for a session and made something precious. The lead vocalist on “Can’t Take It With You” was Dean Ford. Dean’s street pop creds originate with a band called Marmalade, which he co–wrote and sang lead on their 1969 hit “Reflections Of My Life.” Dean Ford is like a blended combo of Eric & Lenny for singing this more uptempo ethereal oriented prog rock tune:

Why “Can’t Take It With You” was never released as a single is beyond me. It could possibly have put the Alan Parsons Project on the mainstream map sooner than “Games People Play” and “Time” did. Another connection to Dark side Of The Moon here being both Pink Floyd and Alan Parsons Project had singles called “Time.” The Jukebox Hero in my head tells me the track “One More River” could have been released as a single as well. “Can’t Take It With You” has elements of new wave but in a much more orchestrated manner, the signature of APP style prog. And there’s just a great positive vibe throughout this tune like you’re on a karmic train ride through time.

 

The opening high pitch keyboard solo in “Can’t Take It With You” reminds me of Gerry Rafferty’s “Baker Street” off his album City To City which also came out in 1978 like APP’s Pyramid. “Baker Street” is where Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes lived at 221B and also where one of Gerry’s mates lived. Rafferty’s “Baker Street” is perhaps best known by it’s signature haunting sax riff in A minor which structure wise, becomes a chorus—a chorus theme placement without accompanying lyrics. This hook even made The Simpsons in the episode called “Lisa’s Sax.”

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The song’s subject matter pertains to non–attachment so even Buddha could rock out to a tune like “Can’t Take It With You.” I always liked the nicely metaphoric verse lyrics right before it transitions in tempo and the chorus musically and visually “opens the sky up” in the song:

 

But the boatman won’t be waiting
And he’s leaving here with you.

And the boatman’s getting restless
As he stands upon the shore…

 

The “after” chorus (or secondary chorus) part creates a deep introspective mood with a motion. Although a bit hard to discern at first, the high range “chanting” vocals after Dean’s “Can’t Take It With You” chorus are One more mile, one more road, one last bridge, one less load.” These are the same lyrics contained in another song on Pyramid, “One More River” sung by Lenny Zakatek. Such repetition of a theme is a hallmark of a concept album. Contrary to pop music teachings, you actually DO need an education to perceive this so pay no attention to that mantra on other Pink Floyd concept album The Wall.

 

“Can’t Take It With You” is an amazing song—great guitar riff, great groove, cool oozing bass line, nice counterpoint, hauntingly evocative vocal melody and arrangement, great chorus breakdown, well placed tempo changes that elevate and intensify tension and resolution, tasty thematic opening & outro solos, plus it’s 15 minutes less than most prog tunes. Why wasn’t this track a match made in Radio Heaven? I do my nightime meditation to “Can’t Take It With You” often. It’s in my iPod meditation mix of songs that are conducive to slower brain waves like alpha, theta and delta. And played on replay, it often gets me into a deep state of relaxation like a bubble bath for the brain. Actually, Pyramid is an ideal album for this in it’s entirety. The overall vibe of it is so relaxing I’ll often fall alseep listening to it with headphones. The other instrumentals “Hyper–Gamma Spaces” and the opening track “Voyager” are far from Pyramid filler as well—they’re solid tracks which create interesting vivid aural imagery.

 

So all those years ago as a kid I discovered how peanut butter and chocolate went great together. I also accidentally discovered how modeling glue and the Alan Parsons Project went well together too. Maybe that’s why I have boxes of model kits I never actually finished. Blame it on Testor’s model cement. As an adult, the Games People Play I plead guilty to would be taking a jolly good stroll on “Baker Street” in London, crossing the Holy sidewalk of Abbey Road and visiting Santa Barbara half hoping to bump into Alan Parsons as he lives there. Okay, so Santa Barbara, AKA the American Riviera, was also home to health pioneer Paul Bragg who was a big influence on my diet, health and lifestyle in terms of fasting and eating clean (pesticide, chemical & GMO free) Organic food. These days I don’t go near junk food, processed food, nor succumb to any of those dietary sins committed in my youth and college years (flashbacks of cheap instant Ramen noodles in styrofoam containers with a week’s worth of sodium in every cup). I’ve redeemed myself from Pop Tart purgatory, became a renunciant of the Reeses, and layed the Lay’s to rest. Good practice with the art of detachment because You “Can’t Take It With You.” The thing that hasn’t changed is I’m still a music lover and still love the Alan Parsons Project…and may never get out of rehab for mixing peanut butter and chocolate. Oh and one last connection to Dark Side Of The Moon: Same Bat Time Same Bat Channel, or adjusted for the recording arts, Same Track Time Same Track Channel—Both albums were recorded by the same engineer and in the same recording studio—Musical Archeological proof that Pyramid builders originated from Abbey Road.

© Composer Yoga




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