Cult Life – Ron Cox – Buddha Brunch

Sitting down with my friend Ron as he shares tales from his involvement in The Unification Church aka The Moonies. Fascinating traits of Cult-ish movements, mainstream or not…

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No Thank You


Memorial Day gets me stirred up with revolutionary thoughts. Makes me want to turn the tables on current paradigms, and question all the popular patriotic norms. Time and time again you will hear, “Thank you for your service.” – But not from me. No, no thank you. And in this short video I illustrate why…

Some follow up thoughts to this video…

By no means am I suggesting we need to disparage or disrespect veterans. And without doubt they are due any financial, scholastic, and medical benefits promised them. I simply want to let go of the nationalistic glorification of any and all military involvement. The unquestioning military-worship which is pressed into us from birth through schooling, movies, music, TV, and video games.

So rather than the automatic, “Thank you” what CAN you say when you meet a veteran? Perhaps simply, “Hello” or, “Nice to meet you.” If the mood feels right it may be an opportunity to start a dialogue. Ask, “What was your experience in the military like?” or, “Why did you join?” It may lead to an exchange of viewpoints, finding out what you have in common, or where you disagree. In the right setting you may get to ask, “How do you feel about being thanked for your service?”

In any event, it never hurts to do a self inventory on habits and auto-actions. Check your premises. Question motivations. Live free.

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Libertarian Buddhist


Two schools of thought I follow. Two philosophies which guide me and also inform and inspire each other. You may agree with what I have to say or have quite differing beliefs. Either way I hope it provides a window into my own heart, and perhaps brings a smile or two along the way.


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Escape Room Tips and Wisdom from Your Gamemaster

For those of you who don’t know, I work at the Escape Room KC as manager and Game-Master. It is a super fun gig where I get paid to “People watch” much of the day. One can learn a lot about humans from watching them in these intense situations. Watch these suggestions to get the most out of your Escape game and more.

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Building Bridges – Cooks in the Kitchen

A few weeks ago I was asked to join a team of people working on a project toward political diversity and understanding. The project will entail creating and facilitating a workshop(s) fostering listening, compassion, and communication between people of opposing political beliefs. It is quite an honor to be invited into this leadership team. And while the development of that workshop is fascinating, that is not the subject of this blog. There will be more to come about that project down the road.

Too many Cooks (2)

Today’s topic is the process of working with the leadership group as we are planning the workshop to come. The team consists of 8 (at least) people. Yes, that is quite a lot of leaders and I do worry too many cooks could spoil the broth. But since we are working on a seminar with the goal of communication and harmony, it is a good test for us to see if we can effectively communicate and create together. So far we have passed that test well. No fights have broken out in our efforts to create peace in our world!

Of course there are a variety of work methods and creativity types in the group. Surprisingly I find myself to be the most structure-oriented creator among us. I am the one writing outlines, seeking meeting minutes, and asking for clarification on the purpose of each activity as we go. I say this is surprising, at least at first glance, because I am the “Improv guy” of the bunch. I am the only one with a background in training and performing improv comedy. There are no scripts and no planning in the art of Make-em-up on stage! Shouldn’t I be the one wanting to just go with the flow. All we need is the crux of an idea. Then we can get out of the way and let the magic happen. Nope. I want details! I want all the roles assigned in advance. And I want lists of materials and tasks to come.

The more I think about this though, the less surprising it is. Of course the Improv guy wants more structure. Improv is scary as hell. To perform it you need a solid basis of agreement to stand upon. There are rules and expectations we all understand. This is even true when  players are improvising together for the first time. There is (hopefully) an immediate level of trust established. If I throw you the ball I know you will pick it up, though I have no idea what you will do with it. If you create something in our universe you know I will see it there. The trust agreement is even stronger among players who have a history of working together. There are rules and boundaries, spoken and unspoken, about how we will play together. One of my favorites is to perform with my long-form team, The Other. (For those in Improv, we do what is known as a Harold.) We have a precise format laid out with an opening, three rounds of scenes starting along three storylines, palate cleansers between rounds, and some-sorta-somehow closing. We stumble and make mistakes. Occasionally it all comes together and gets tied up in a bow. Often it looks like some contorted neo-abstract impressionism. My teammate Patrick lovingly said, “It feels like we’re making fun of a Harold.” In other words we don’t care about what the end results are. Yet we DO care about each other and the agreements we have. We CAN get out of the way and allow the magic to happen because there is a strong platform for it to dance on.

So now I find myself on a new team striving to build bridges across the political spectrum. Naturally I desire to find some firm footing to play on. I must remember why it feels scary not having an established set of rules. We are figuring out the rules. I must trust in the process and trust each of them as we build our foundation. Undeniably I already have a solid respect for each of my fellow cooks in the kitchen. I look forward to tasting what we cook up.

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Buddha Brunch – Heather Wilson – Mustang Prosperity

A couple of weeks ago some postings by my friend Heather caught my eye. Heather is a local artist and prayer associate. She was driving around in a new hotrod (’17 Ford Mustang) and sharing about her renewed zest. In this interview she goes more in depth about how she slipped away from that mind state of prosperity and also how she has and is making the journey back of confidence and abundance!


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Oroville Dam and Optimism on the Titanic

Some Valentine’s Day morning coffee thoughts. Questions really. How can we stay positive and optimistic, while acknowledging big problems and preparing for bigger ones?


Also be sure to check out the Chris Martenson (Peak Prosperity) interview with Scott Cahill about the Oroville, CA dam.

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Before You Speak (or tweet)

A very old adage prescribes that before you speak something consider whether it passes the following: Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? These have also been called the three gates or three sieves. I offer my own three questions as an alternative or at least an addition to those above…

Does it assume your listener feels and believes the same way you do?

Can you allow someone to disagree with you without turning them into a monster?

Will it piss people off simply for the sake of pissing people off?

I hope you find these questions and the accompanying video of value. Peace, Ned

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Let it Be Vs Let it Go – Life After Silent Unity


“Forgiveness is giving up all hope of a better past.” “Holding a grudge is like gripping a hot coal.” And as the song says, “Let it go!” These are profound words of wisdom. But it is never that simple. Even when you want to let it go. When you know you should let it go. After reciting mantras about forgiveness, dropping it into the burning bowl, and seeing the Christ light in all others… Sometimes it still comes back. The anger, the pain, the injustice! Even after declaring that you are no longer holding on to some painful incident from the past, IT still has a hold of YOU. If there was a switch you could flick and have it all be gone I am sure we would gladly flick it away! But there is no such switch. And if you are like me (human) the act of forgiveness is not so easy as simply saying, “I choose to let it go.”  Rather than trying to let it go I believe we need to let it be. I will tell you why in a moment, but first let me share a very personal example.

For seven years I worked at the prayer center known as Silent Unity. Those were some of the most rewarding and yet frustrating times of my life. Rewarding because of my amazing fellow Prayer Associates and because of the opportunity to pray (via phone or internet) with people all over the world! Frustrating because instead of a ministry it is managed as a call center. It has such a beautiful legacy and yet it is wasting away.

I am not a complainer. I am a solution seeker. I suggested ways to create team-building and spiritual support for the associates. Officially, meetings were in place for such a purpose. In reality, we met about once every two to three months to cover announcements and policy updates. My other “radical” suggestion was to have ongoing training and skills development. Again, officially, we had monthly meetings with a supervisor to review our prayer. In reality, we met perhaps five or six times throughout the year to get feedback about format or technicalities. There IS an initial training program. The majority of the training hours are spent on how to choose an appropriate prayer category from the book and how to complete the records in the computer system after each call.

I encouraged ways to restore the ministry and shift from HEAD to HEART. I offered detailed opportunities to anyone who would listen. Perhaps I was naïve. I did not realize how threatened people would feel by any call for change. Management can perceive suggestions as a message that they are not doing a good enough job. It became clear that not only were my ideas not welcome in this corporation, neither was I. “You’ve got a big target on your back,” one coworker told me. I left before it got too bad. And it was one of the saddest things I’ve ever done.

It has been 13 months now. I would say each day gets a little easier, but it does not progress continually. Some days, weeks, or months are great! I don’t even think about missing the ministry I so cherished. And then I get triggered. It all comes rushing back and I am fully hurt again – for myself as well as dear members still there. Helpless to what is being done and what has been taken.

I try to let it all go. I remind myself I am a spiritual being. The anger, the hurt, and resentment serve no purpose so I should just be done with them. I know I SHOULD, but that does not change what IS.

Now instead of trying to let it all go, I let it all be. I feel the feels. I notice and acknowledge the thoughts in my head. Thoughts of fear, betrayal, and judgments – so many judgments… Judgment of others, judgment of the system, and judgment of myself for having such judgments! And I let it be. I give myself permission to think the thoughts and feel the feelings. This is not to dwell in the past nor to focus on the negative. This is to fully live in reality. I gently offer my own heart a touch of compassion.

It is not a matter of getting rid of the aspects of myself I do not want. It is a matter of loving them. And that is when the shift occurs. If I am honest with myself I could have handled things differently. Could I have been more tactful? More patient? Yes, of course I could. Yet I cannot change the past. I cannot erase it from memory. I can let it be. I can find some peace in the present moment.

And only from there can I approach the actions of others with compassion. From that place of equanimity, swimming in and out of fear/love, I can offer empathy. I can try to imagine what they may have been going through. Empathy and compassion lead to  liberation from the bonds of right vs. wrong, good vs. evil. Only from a place of acceptance of self can one offer acceptance of others, acceptance of the past, and hence forgiveness.

I have let go of “letting go.” And now I embrace letting it be.


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