Leonard Cohen Died Tonight

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Prince, then David Bowie and now Leonard Cohen. What a terrible year this has been for those of us deeply touched and taught by these creative visionaries.

Leonard Cohen was once a wild man. Then he became a Buddhist monk. But he was still a wild man, even when he was a Buddhist monk. I love the story of him sneaking out behind the meditation hall early one morning to drink his coffee and smoke a cigarette.

A lover of women, words, good whiskey and wine. A fine poet indeed. A man with impeccable style, in so many more ways than just how he wore his clothes. The kind of youthful charm Leonard Cohen had well into old age, was proof that a man can grow old without growing old. Every time you heard him speak you listened and learned something original and new. A real philosopher and poet he was. Not many, if any, around like him anymore.

Leonard why did you have to go? I know you were almost really old, but couldn’t you hang around a few more years? I am not quite ready to make a go of this without you in the world.

His novels, poetry and songs where doorways into imaginative landscapes and lovescapes, the likes of which a person never heard before. Without even knowing it was happening he taught you how to live and how to die. This world will no longer be the same place without him in it.

I don’t know as much about Leonard Cohen’s songs, books and poetry as I probably should. I know the basics of Leonard Cohen’s life but I can’t tell you specifics from his biography. For me Leonard Cohen was an example of how to live as a man and an artist. It is strange to me that I have the deepest reverence and respect for a man I have never met. I studied his interviews and from that I learned what I needed to know. I have his album Songs Of Love And Hate hanging on my wall, in the same way that someone would hang a cross or a picture of their hero.

I suppose this is what Leonard Cohen meant to me. He was my teacher. He was a man who spoke more eloquently about how to live life and deal with the various demons he struggled with than any other man I have heard speak. He made me feel less alone with my demons and despair. He showed me the way to deal; through solitude, meditation, occasional nights filled with wine and women, books, music and filling up journals with words, wisdom and art.

How many people become icons but continue to live in very humble conditions, on the second floor of a small home (his daughter and her family live below) in a lower economic neighborhood? He didn’t care much for more ostentatious material things. Money was not his main thing. How rare to find a human being (especially a successful one in America) who puts his art and his life before preoccupations with money, status and more materialistic things.

In today’s America, it is the poets and artists who go unseen. No one talks about them. Leonard Cohen broke through the thick cloud of obscurity and showed generations of artists and poets that they do not have to live a defeated, delegitimized and conformist life. He showed artists, poets and writers that there are alternative ways of living where you can keep your edge and remain in the poetry.

I could be wrong but I think Leonard Cohen somehow knew me. I often felt like he was talking right at me, especially when talking about isolation, loneliness, women, love and art. But I know everyone who loved him felt this way. That is what made him so great and this is what makes things feel so much more hollow and empty now that he is gone.

Thank you for everything Leonard Cohen. You were such a class act. I will continue to live the things you taught. Hallelujah.

The Man Who Grew Breasts (Overnight)

Yesterday, the majority of Americans elected Donald Trump as President of the United States. I was angry. Very angry. This morning I woke up with breasts.

These are not male breasts. They are good-sized female breasts. It is as if while I was asleep, someone came and took my male breasts and replaced them with thirty-five year old female breasts. I don’t understand how something like this could happen.

The minute I got out from bed this morning I felt a heavy weight pulling my chest towards the ground. I immediately became concerned that I was having some sort of heart issue. Maybe I was too angry yesterday, I remember thinking. But then as I was walking to the bathroom I noticed feeling like I was carrying decent sized water balloons inside of my chest. I could feel something jiggling around. I stopped in the hallway, turned on the lights, lifted up my t-shirt, looked down and noticed I had decent sized female breasts.

I couldn’t make sense of this right away. I thought maybe I was still in a dream. When I realized it was not a dream, I thought that maybe I was hallucinating. I have been meditating a lot recently and have heard that sometimes walking hallucinations can be a side effect of too much time spent in meditation. I looked at my breasts in the bathroom mirror. I touched them and that is when I realized they were real.

I don’t understand how this could happen. My wife has been Googling all morning. She is trying to figure out how a man can go to sleep with perfectly normal male breasts and then wake up with a pair of decent sized, nicely shaped, female breasts.

This must be the result of feeling too much anger yesterday. I don’t normally feel such long-lasting periods of intense anger and somehow the anger must have messed around with my hormone levels. I have read about men who are really angry suddenly losing all their hair or getting a non-viagra induced erection that does not go away. It is well known that anger messes with chemical constructs in human bodies and yesterday my anger was so strong that I was sweating throughout the entire day. My anger intensified after my father told me that he voted for Donald Trump and that he thought that Donald Trump was going to “Make America Great Again.”

I suppose it would be fair to say that my anger reached levels that if documented by a medical device could be safely called rage. But I did not yell. I did not express my rage in any way. I just let it be there as I kept myself present and aware of my breathing. I know that all emotions are just waves and because of my meditation practice I do not really identify with waves. I just notice them. But I wonder if the meditative suppression of my rage with regards to the election of Donald Trump as President is what has caused me to grow these breasts.

My sweet wife leant me one of her black bras, which I am now wearing as I write this. The bra has helped ease the weighted discomfort in my chest. But now I feel this tight constriction across my entire chest and back. Is this what women have to deal with everyday? Is this what bras feel like for them? If so, just like Donald Trump and all his male counterparts, I have yet again underestimated what women have to deal with everyday. No man, no matter how rich and studly, could tolerate this feeling of being hugged tightly around their chest all day long. No way.

 
I don’t feel as angry today. Anger is just a wave, I keep telling myself. The shock seems to be wearing off and I am accepting that as a result of the election of Donald Trump as President, nothing has changed and everything has changed. The sun has still come up. There are birds eating from my backyard bird feeder. I can hear cars racing by outside my home. But the far right has seized power in America. Every advancement America has made with regards to equality for all people over the past eight years has been undone. White patriarchy is now back in power. And I have a pair of decent sized female breasts hanging from my chest.

My wife told me that hopefully as my anger subsides, the breasts will decrease. What does this mean? I have to go to work today so I am not sure how long this will take. If I really try to let go of my anger now, will the breasts go quickly away? But anger is not really something I can get rid of. All I can do is step back, breathe and not identify with it. When it completely goes away is not really up to me. What if it doesn’t go away for as long as Donald Trump is in power?

A great deal of Americans are still celebrating today. They are thrilled that a multi-billionaire, far right extremist has seized control of the highest office in the world. Some people are not happy about this but are trying to make peace with what has happened. I am really upset about it and will not pretend like everything will be ok. I will not take my mother’s advice and just try to see the positives. What is positive about this? I am the one who has ended up with a pair of good-sized, female breasts hanging from my chest.

Everyone else seems to be getting on just fine.

I’m Mad.

My wife just asked me, “Are you mad at me?” I said, “No, I’m just mad.”

I am mad about everything right now. What is wrong with controlled anger when it is a logical response to a terrible situation? I am mad that a man like Donald Trump has been elected President of the United States. I am mad that I live in a country where the majority of people voted for a man with OBVIOUS and SEVERE Narcissistic Personality Disorder. I am mad that all the white, male, power hungry men have won. I am mad about what this will mean for the values of freedom, intellectualism, peace, non-violence, creativity, equality, social justice, integrity, honesty, sharing, environmental consciousness, non-authoritarianism, independence and autonomy that I believe in. I am mad that police officers and the military will get more praise, power and prestige. I am mad that there will be more conformity and worship of money and business. I am mad that people who are not cool at all will now be in power. I could go on and on, but I am just mad.

I realize that anger is an emotion that arises and then gradually dissolves. This too shall pass. I am mad about this because I want this anger to remain. How else will I be able to continue to oppose and not give into this catastrophe? The society in which I live will be forever changed. I am mad that American nationalism has now taken over. I am mad that people think that a multi-billionaire is the fit leader of a working class revolution. I am mad at the degree of stupidity and arrogance that has become confused as the way to “Make America Great Again.” America has never not been great but I am mad that it just got a lot worse. I am mad that America is only going to become dumber and even less tolerant than it was before. I am mad that racism and sexism has just been normalized. How does a man who said all the awful things Trump has publicly said get elected to be President? How does a woman who seems like her husband’s puppet get to be first lady? I just do not get it and I am mad about this.

I have a long day at work ahead of me. How am I going to go to work feeling so mad? I was supposed to exercise this morning but I was too mad. I can hear ringing in my ears. I don’t want to leave my house. I feel afraid of anyone who thinks that it is a good idea that Trump has been elected as President. I hope I will be able to control myself if I am confronted by someone like this. I am mad that after having one of the better, cooler and more intelligent Presidents in American history (Obama) we end up with far right, extremist, Republican, uncool, opportunists seizing control. People who actually think building a wall and shooting dissenters are great ideas are now in power. I am mad about this. I am mad that uncool people are now seen by the mass of Americans as being cool. I mean look at Trump’s Vice President. He is a robot. As uncool as a person can get. I could go on and on but I won’t. I know I already said I would stop but when I am mad sometimes I keep going on and on even when I know I should stop. But even my dogs are mad. They have been barking all morning.

*Sorry for any grammar errors. I am too mad to care.