Oscar Ichazo

Oscar with text

My first spiritual teacher, Oscar Ichazo, died this past week. He started the school of Arica, and taught a body of knowlege about what it is to be human: mystical traditions he learned from his far flung travels, both inside and out. He provided a family as I took my first steps on the Fool’s Journey out of Santa Cruz in 1976. I bought a one-way ticket to Hawaii and stepped into the void.

I got word of Oscar’s passing from Chuck. He’s a Christian cowboy, lives in Texas with a Christian wife, a fine ranch and a lot of dogs. He has grace and a lion’s heart, and can flat spin a yarn. He can carry a city on his back and never say more than, “if I get tired, we can always take the truck.”

I called Kent, whom I adore, his PhDness and his erudite humor. I talked with Shannon, our lady, who called me back and left a message that she loved me.

I texted Laurel who said she’d say a prayer. I called Annie, and started to leave the message that Oscar had died, but thought she’d already know. She picked up and said, “How the hell would I know?” and we gabbed for nearly an hour.

Of all the Arica work, the Rainbow Light is still my favorite. Three months of ritual life: food, exercise, precise meditations, no sex or drugs. It was sparse. And for the most part, I loved it. The last night, before I began the meditation, Lynn,  came into my room and offered me cannabis. I hesitated for a moment then smoked it and started the work. 

I took a deep breath in, and exhaled the mantra. After a few chants, the universe said “I got this,” and for the next hour she breathed me and listened to the my voice repeat Aham Brahmasmi with every exhale. I’ve rarely experienced anything like it. 

The literal translation, from my internet pokings, is I am Brahman, the absolute reality, the supreme existence.

I miss the Holy Work: rituals with candles and chanting. When we had a room full of people and everyone chanted OM, I was home. It filled me inside, from top to bottom and made my space a better place.

Since becoming Covid19 sequestered with my wife, a truely magnificent woman, I found a recording on Spotify, that has brought me great joy. Tibetan monks chant OM and AHH in unison. It’s accompanied by a strong cast of synth, and when I sit and sing along, leave all the news behind, I am in the company of strangers, feeling bigger than this body.

I feel the OMs up and down my body, and the Ahhh into the greater space where it seems to collect other sounds, as a harmonic appears, that wasn’t there before.

If you’ve never done this stuff, it might seem weird or down right wrong, so it may not be for you. But if you want to trade in the news for a bit of inside time, close your eyes, and with ear buds in, listen to the monks start the song. If you’re inclined, sing along. I’ve even done it in the living room with my wife, our son, his lady, and our four year old grand daughter.

Spotify: OM Chanting – Meditative Sacred Sound Tibetan Monks OM

When I’m done, I transition back to my life here and now, with a song that brings Chuck to mind, called Lonesome Rider, by Alex Cortiz; a twangy tune that moves my dogs.

It’s sunset. Hold my hand

Spring Equinox Sunset
From our deck. For the next six months we see sunsets on the water.

While doing my daily Calm, Tamara Levitt talked about how poetry is healthy to heal wounds, relieve stress.

If you’re curious grab your writing instrument of choice and write as fast as you can for half a page, let the words fall from your fingers, let them plop on the page. Throw up, throw a tantrum, Ramble and jumble your way to the middle of the page. It’s ok to write a full page, and if you can’t stop, continue until you do.

Now go through what you wrote and find bits and pieces that you like. Highlight or under line them. Could be a word, could be a phrase. Gather them up, arrange them on the page. The poem that follows was done just that way, and it may not resonate with you, it may bore you to tears, it might tell you why you’ve always hated poetry, but for me, it’s a note from myself, a hint or a clue on what to do, where to look.

Tonight I have a date with my wife, to sit on the deck and watch the sun set. It’s the first time since the Autumnal Equinox that the sun sets on the ocean, just past Pedro Point. She’s headed north, where she’ll reach the end of her travels on summer solstice. She’ll pause to enjoy the long artic days before racing back for the Autumnal Equinox when she’ll set behind Pedro point for the next six months. My wife and I will hold hands, watch the sun set and bask in the glow of our 34th wedding anniversary.

It’s sunset. Hold my hand

relief from trimmings of panic, 

shelves gone empty let the 

train stop at your door 

for a long cup of tea

get that fun back in your step

There there, there’s time

stage lit for progress

believe the words

tell our story, would you like to guess

sun sets on the ocean tonight

so we’re talking angels, 

yes, white winged,

Facet, filled to the brim

homeward bound, 

safe and sound 

in the wake



a big one of those,

query unkept promises, 

tossed to winds, let them spread. 

Listen to the 

sound of smoke, 

whispers so soft you 

feel the right time of light.

Settle into flow

what tickles our floor, 

waterfall, stream, or a dam, 

closer to who knows, father of us. 

Now, a breath 

we stand before

patterns in the sand

for a view of what’s ahead.


by decree you and me 

in our home until every 

last cup is cleaned,  every last 

weed pulled, protected by mulch, 

observe it all from behind our fence. 

Months, sequestered, exercise, books, sleep

late, good talk, we won’t walk out the door, to surf, 

we will watch from a distance, keep hospitals 

from two solid seniors taking up space 

where there is none. We’re game

giving it our all, food for 

days to weeks

DIY Sanitizer Spray

We found 99% alcohol at ACE hardware, picked up aloe vera gel from Oceana Market, and we had both Ancient Robbers and Theives from our essential oil stash. I watched a short you tube video and I was off and running.

Mix 2/3 cup alcohol with 1/3 cup aloe vera gel, add essential oil to the tune of 6-9 drops, and wisk it away with a wisk or a fork, but I’ll tell you that my aloe vera didn’t mix so well. Might have been the xanthan gum or the irish moss, but I ended up using a strainer, and filled up three little spray bottles, salvaged from the ruins of spray bottles living in bins, scattered around the hose, like precious jewels.

The robbers and theives made this concoction to mediate coming in contact with bodies who’d died of the plague.

The stuff smells of lemon, cloves, eucalyptus and more. It’s great in a mister, and it’ll remind you not to touch your face.

Stay safe. Wash your hands. Spray this hand sanitizer onto your hands and when the alcohol dries, smell you hands, get the Theives and Robbers into your system.

Mist it into your home.

Making ripples in puddles

one armed catch
fearful of crashing
overthrown, I reach
kingdom of heaven on earth

a growing edge
freedom, wild spaces
barely touching the ground
words of wisdom make it whole

virus the forefront
my goodness what a mess
recognize error, repair with
strength of a thousand horses pounding

lay down a bed of rose petals
chances we took to belong and sustain
free me a space for a nice walk in the woods
Show me your hand, let me feel your worry lines

Turn to the Sea

Last year I took a class called Flash Memoir, from Osher Life Long Learning in San Francisco. We were taught, by author Diane Frank, how to shine a bright light on a precious moment from our life. I wrote several short passages and one of them was published this month in Worm Wood Press Media.

The piece I submitted was Turn to the Sea and it was paired with a lovely coastal image by an artist I have yet to meet, Wendy Setzer.

You can see read the poem and gaze at Wendy’s art right here.