tom trago

transmission

Posted on Updated on

“Your purpose in life is to find your purpose and give your whole heart and soul to it” ― Gautama Buddha
“Your purpose in life is to find your purpose and give your whole heart and soul to it”
― Gautama Buddha

Slide2

 

i have posted some efforts i have engaged in during my recovery before. i founded an hiv newsletter for Denver and helped kickstart a peer advocacy organization for hiv+ which created a platform for educational forums, dinners for newly diagnosed, and the continuation of 2 weekend retreats in majestic  grand lake colorado.

i haven’t ever really hesitated with beginning things until i started working at the public hospital. that somehow put the fear of judgement and failure in me. prior to this however, i had already lost everything, so losing didn’t hold any weight or influence my decisions.

about a year into the not-for-profit business a friend named carl frazier was murdered on the outskirts of downtown. there was much gossip and innuendo about his death. people were saying the coldest and most unkind things. it was very disappointing. carl’s sister came to denver to speak with detectives about the details they had on the case. i met with her and she showed me the murder site, and gave me a rundown of their paltry case. she was frustrated and being the good co-dependent i am, my heart went out to her.

so simultaneously i encountered disappointment with my hiv community and their seemingly nasty habit of back biting their comrades and the visible and palpable heartbreak of a siblings sense of frustration and loss. i decided to create an award to thank a member of our community for their volunteerism and advocacy. since 2009, treatment education network (ten) has recognized a member of our small community to say “thank you” for their hard work and efforts.

carl’s murderer has since been discovered. he was killed during a robbery in 2012 and discovered through dna samples. i have resigned from ten and am no longer involved in the game. and the current members have decided that i should be recognized this year to receive the carl frazier commemorative award. i don’t feel the same way but i have learned that visibilty can be as supportive as a good ear and a strong shoulder.

so i will suit up and show up. better than shooting up and throwing up.

 

open air

Posted on

According to Buddhism, we cannot only be born as human beings the next time, but also as animal, "god", "half-god", "hungry ghost" or even in "hell". Obviously, these words have specific connotations in most religions, and the expressions in Buddhism refer to somewhat different experiences than e.g. in Christianity. The main difference is that in Buddhism, a stay in none of the realms is permanent. After a life in "god-realm" we could be reborn in the "hell-realm"; it all just depends on our karma ripening. A very brief description of the six desire realms: 1. Deva (god) realm: Life is experienced as happiness virtually without any problems whatsoever. The largest problem of this realm comes when the time is near to die, one begins to experience suffering as one can see the next rebirth coming up, which is usually much less pleasant. So a life as a deva or god definitely does not refer to anything like "God" in the Judeo-Christian-Moslim traditions; maybe they can be compared better to the gods in Greek mythology. These god-realms or heavens can be divided in many specific worlds. 2. Half-deva (demi god) realm: Quite a happy life is experienced, the main problems are caused by jealousy. The demi-gods can see the perfect life the gods are experiencing and become jealous, as the gods have somewhat better lives. They then want to fight the gods, but are always defeated.  3. Human realm: Life shifts between happiness and suffering. The biggest advantage of being born as a human is that one has the possibilities to change one's karma and do practices to become liberated from cyclic existence or even achieve Buddhahood; see below in Precious Human Rebirth, and at the same time one experiences enough problems to be motivated into action.  4. Animal realm: Life is ruled by ignorance. Happiness and suffering happen, but understanding it, or even controlling it, is barely possible in the darkened awareness of an animal.  5. Hungry ghost or Preta (Tib.) realm: Life is marked by suffering, especially from attachment and craving, without being able to satisfy one's needs. Life here is often described as a continuous suffering from hunger and thirst, but one cannot eat or drink.  6. Hell realm: Life is defined as suffering virtually without any happiness whatsoever. The only positive thing about the Buddhist hell realm is the fact that it is not eternal. After consuming up much of the negative karmic potential, one will die and has the chance to be reborn in a different (more pleasant) realm. Similar to the heavens, many different hells are also described (like hot and cold hells etc.).
According to Buddhism, we cannot only be born as human beings the next time, but also as animal, “god”, “half-god”, “hungry ghost” or even in “hell”. Obviously, these words have specific connotations in most religions, and the expressions in Buddhism refer to somewhat different experiences than e.g. in Christianity. The main difference is that in Buddhism, a stay in none of the realms is permanent. After a life in “god-realm” we could be reborn in the “hell-realm”; it all just depends on our karma ripening.
A very brief description of the six desire realms:
1. Deva (god) realm: Life is experienced as happiness virtually without any problems whatsoever. The largest problem of this realm comes when the time is near to die, one begins to experience suffering as one can see the next rebirth coming up, which is usually much less pleasant. So a life as a deva or god definitely does not refer to anything like “God” in the Judeo-Christian-Moslim traditions; maybe they can be compared better to the gods in Greek mythology. These god-realms or heavens can be divided in many specific worlds.
2. Half-deva (demi god) realm: Quite a happy life is experienced, the main problems are caused by jealousy. The demi-gods can see the perfect life the gods are experiencing and become jealous, as the gods have somewhat better lives. They then want to fight the gods, but are always defeated.
3. Human realm: Life shifts between happiness and suffering. The biggest advantage of being born as a human is that one has the possibilities to change one’s karma and do practices to become liberated from cyclic existence or even achieve Buddhahood; see below in Precious Human Rebirth, and at the same time one experiences enough problems to be motivated into action.
4. Animal realm: Life is ruled by ignorance. Happiness and suffering happen, but understanding it, or even controlling it, is barely possible in the darkened awareness of an animal.
5. Hungry ghost or Preta (Tib.) realm: Life is marked by suffering, especially from attachment and craving, without being able to satisfy one’s needs. Life here is often described as a continuous suffering from hunger and thirst, but one cannot eat or drink.
6. Hell realm: Life is defined as suffering virtually without any happiness whatsoever. The only positive thing about the Buddhist hell realm is the fact that it is not eternal. After consuming up much of the negative karmic potential, one will die and has the chance to be reborn in a different (more pleasant) realm. Similar to the heavens, many different hells are also described (like hot and cold hells etc.).

 

back to basics here in colorado. i have a 2nd interview with an organization that i am hopeful about. i have not been so glad to be home in quite awhile. the last travel escapade with murphy’s law really wore me out a bit. i have survived however.

it turns out that the medical director for the methadone clinic i worked for has given her resignation also. it seems i might have started a trend. and a counselor/social worker i was supervising has taken a position there now. and change is happening as it always is and always shall be.

i don’t really remember being as hopeful as i feel right now. i have enough in my life right now and i am open to what will come.

my belief is that heaven and hell are the things we experience right now as a direct result of our decisions and our actions right now. i believe in reincarnation and i believe we transcend. my hope is to understand and “get” as much as i can now so that if i return i don’t have to start at square one.

“Sacrificing anonymity may be the next generation’s price for keeping precious liberty, as prior generations paid in blood.” 
― Hal Norby

dive right in… the water’s fine

Posted on Updated on

Mosh pits aAnnotatend bare chest Stage diving sky diver Spray the crowd with cold water Now it's mosh pits and wet tits I think I need a cold shower Cool waters African girl speaks in English accent Likes to fuck boys in bands Likes to watch Westerns And ride me without the hands Show me her passport She’s on her own tour But you're beautiful to me Wave em high girl to the sky But you’re beautiful to me Live in the clouds Wave em high girl, to the sky But you’re beautiful to me Life in the clouds Keep em high ya’ll Beautiful stars In the sky... Frank Ocean
Mosh pits Annotated bare chest
Stage diving sky diver
Spray the crowd with cold water
Now it’s mosh pits and wet tits
I think I need a cold shower
Cool waters
African girl speaks in English accent
Likes to fuck boys in bands
Likes to watch Westerns
And ride me without the hands
Show me her passport
She’s on her own tour
But you’re beautiful to me
Wave em high girl to the sky
But you’re beautiful to me
Live in the clouds
Wave em high girl, to the sky
But you’re beautiful to me
Life in the clouds
Keep em high ya’ll
Beautiful stars
In the sky… Frank Ocean

 

 

i am fairly certain that the unknowing i am experiencing is very much what my favorite buddhist authors describe. it is the space between leaving the ground after deciding to dive and before i hit the water. there is a tentative quality and a sense of fear and not knowing. it is completely disconnected and yet it is described as the true way to adventure.

i can’t go back-and really wouldn’t even if. where i was had been toxic for some time and i was too sheepish to admit. but i was slowly disengaging from my work and my days and watching in slow motion as a deadly collision came into view.

so i find myself here- on the verge of i know not what. i am trusting my life and second guessing that trust. and trusting again and re second guessing. it’s a bit kooky. but it’s my process.

i have made a choice and taken a direction. it is not the beginning, nor is it even close to the end of the journey. i can’t say just where i am going, nor can i precisely relay where i have just been. that will take some time.

but i have jumped. and i am flying. i notice fear. i feel uninformed. i feel restless. i do not know. but i am flying anyway.

and i am more than grateful for this experience. this is all borrowed time. i never planned it. yet it’s mine. for now.

i have dived right in. they say the water is fine. i guess i’ll let you know.