Order of the Good Write

That Magic Feeling When the Words Flow. A Blog by Debi Rotmil


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The Wisdom of Tom Petty

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“The waiting is the hardest part
Every day you see one more card
You take it on faith, you take it to the heart
The waiting is the hardest part
Oh, don’t let it kill you baby, don’t let it get to you
Don’t let ’em kill you baby, don’t let ’em get to you
I’ll be your breathin’ heart, I’ll be your cryin’ fool
Don’t let this go to far, don’t let it get to you.”

Words and Lyrics by Tom Petty

Since Tom Petty passed away early last month, I’ve been listening to him and his words like never before. He had a spirit connected to a level of source that was wrapped up in leather, coddled in guitars and flowed through a weary, snarling voice that personified 20th century music.

Petty was my high school days. He was my early Los Angeles world (“Free Fallin'”). His music was always rollicking and rolling. Although his music with the Heartbreakers and the Traveling Wilburys was the soundtrack of my 80’s and 90’s,  I never really HEARD his lyrics until the day he died.

Petty died on day one of a transitional period in my life. It was, and continues to be, an expansive, scary and amazing time of discovery, meetings with new people and some hard to ignore frustrations. With Petty’s untimely death making his music part of the zeitgeist, the words floated and landed with me at the most important time to hear them.

Especially the song, “The Waiting”. These past few weeks have been a test of patience. Waiting is hard, but part of applying one’s will toward the greater goal – the brass ring you know is coming if you just put in the work and let the powers that be take the wheel.

He was a sage. Just like Dylan or the Beatles – those touched by something that was beyond their comprehension. They opened the conduit to something other worldly. He translated the flow of a deep seed of knowledge we all find in the base of our soul. There were messages of survival and strength in the face of a cruel world. He opened the path and rendered words that would be understood by the human ear.

Songs like “Learning to Fly” and “I Won’t Back Down” have become anthems in my life at this particular time.

I take solace in “Learning to Fly” – how I’m starting out all alone on some dusty road, as the sun comes up day after day with new ways to find my wings.

And “I Won’t Back Down” is my mantra. This world will make you quake in your shoes, but I’m not gonna let it. I won’t give into fear. I will not give up my focus on success, and failure or rejection will not shake me for long.

I don’t mean to overstate this or make him out to be a god. He was only human, a man with a painful past that molded him into understanding the human condition so intensively, he could passively bring down some goodly wisdom from somewhere. Where that place is – we’ll never know until we’re no longer here.

We just have to wait.

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Happy Hari Birthday

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If George Harrison were still alive today, he would have been an age never imagined by the youth of his day. The Beatles and the sixties were all about youth culture and revolution. A shaggy haired rocking youth bug turning an age above 70?  Ha!

It doesn’t matter how old George’s earth age would have been. Like Bowie and Lennon and many artistic chameleons, he really wasn’t of this earth. His soul borrowed an impish body with an ear for Carl Perkins and rockabilly music to take this earthly  journey, touching down to add to the creative pile and leave something behind before getting the call back home.

As a child, it’s been reported that he hated convention and bullshit. He got into fights at school, flipped off his teachers – but he loved guitar and practiced and practiced and practiced.

Then, he met a doe eyed boy named Paul who introduced him to a tough boy named John and thus he played a bit of “Raunchy” on the top of a bus. And the rest is history. A history that was a magic ride nothing short of miraculous.

In 1966, he and his Beatle buddies and wives went to dinner at their dentist’s house, where droplets of LSD were mixed into their coffee. Their world changed.

The illusion of this world was pulled back for George in ways differently interpreted by the other three. The others punched holes in the musical ozone layer that took the form of endless experimentation.

For George, he saw a universe beyond the veil.

George embraced a spiritual path that lead the way for a new age of enlightenment. We may see it as New Age, but what’s so new about this aspect of God Consciousness if it was always there?

He was known to be a lovely man – giving, sweet, naughty. He was also known to be a cranky bugger on a bad day.

Yet, George brought so much to the table.

He helped bring world music to ears used to hearing Top 40. Western and eastern music melded together as a new force in sound thanks to his work and friendship with Ravi Shankar.

He was the first to raise money by bringing his friends together at ‘The Concert for Bangladesh’, which inspired other rock stars to band together for charity.

He was the first to publicly establish a charitable organization “The Material World Foundation” so proceeds of “Bangladesh” and various other work would be donated to the poor.

He rocked the slide guitar, producing a sound so unique, it’s been emulated many times over by other artists.

He created a production company called “Hand Made Productions” for the sole purpose of raising money to help his Monty Python friends to film “Life of Brian”, which went on to produce ground breaking films like “Withnail and I”, “The Long Good Friday”,  and “Time Bandits”.

He founded a super group comprised of Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynn and Rob Orbison named “The Traveling Wilburys” which produced insanely well known songs.

He was a gardener who wanted to plant more trees and beautiful living things on this planet.

He wasn’t a perfect husband, but he had the lovely Olivia to stand by his side.

He was a terrific father to a talented and giving son.

He was also damn sexy.

I could go on.

The man was beyond the Beatle we all knew. He was the so-called “quiet Beatle” likely due to the fact he used his words only when he had something substantial to say.

And yes, sometimes he’d put his foot in his mouth. But he didn’t care because this all doesn’t matter.

Happy Birthday to George Harrison, who’s earth age is meaningless. May your continuing journey be as bold and as magical as the jewels you’ve left behind.


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Keep A Fire For the Open Sky

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It’s a fascinating thing, to  look back into one’s psyche and try to remember the first moments of life on earth. Some people remember coming out of the womb, or being in it, swimming in the warm, embryonic fluid. Others remember their moments before creation when some other worldly spirit guide gave them a choice on how they want to live their lives, and with whom they wish to be born.

Me – I don’t remember anything before that time of birth. But if I think very hard, I may remember being in my mothers belly, warm and safe. I don’t remember any spirit guides showing me a picture of where I want to be born. I can’t believe that even exists. If it does, then why is there such horror in this world? What spirit would offering a palate of a life suffering in bombed out Afghanistan or Syria seeing their loved ones die from chemical warfare, or be physically and mentally ravished by rape, oppression, torture and murder – and say – okay – I’ll take that life?

What souls would actually feel they could endure such suffering? Is there a true club of martyrdom in heaven? Do these people have one more phase of earthly hell to go through before they’re promised a seat beyond the true pearly gates and never have to come back earth to live it all over again?

Is Bob Barker up there giving them some eternal prize behind a door?

Bob Barker:

Okay, soul about to be born – do you chose what’s behind door one (a life of wealth and glory) or the living freaking putrid hell of what’s behind door two!

New Soul:

Oh dear… oh…I can’t decide (Audience screams, Door two!! Door two!)  Oh, well, I guess I’ll have to go with door 2 Bob!!

Door two opens and the bats of hell swoop the confused contestant within their sharp talons and thrust him through the vagina of a woman giving birth in a bombed out building in Somalia during a mass human extermination.

Yeah – don’t think so. I don’t believe there is a panel of big spirits above doing that sort of thing to newbie babies about to be born. I doubt the little indentation above everyone’s lip is an angel’s finger tip placed there as a reminder to hush up about what you remember before birth.

I believe life is random. I believe life is energy. We are all energy forces with physical movement intent and potential – just like a ball being rolled up a hill, or a silver sphere being pulled and released as an example of scientific potential learned on the counter tops of your science classroom.

What we feel, what we think and desire as we work toward a goal – will stir energy in the universe – energy we are all tapped into – energy we can create and manifest various events that will lead us on paths linear or unconventional.

Some people have the manifestations sooner because they were born into a family or life where the energy was already created and prepared for their own advancement.

Others have to work at it, and work at it we do! And with happiness in knowing that we are in control of our destiny, and God’s fate really rests in our own hands. Yes, I do believe in God. I believe God is the energy inside us that propels our downfalls if we let it get there – and allows us to ascend to great heights if we so wish.

That’s my little sermon for this Sunday.  Take it from here, Jackson.


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The Day the Hare Krishna Disciple Came to School

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When I entered the world of college academia many a decade ago, I found myself taking a class called “Pop Culture and the World Around Us” to round out my credit requirements. Maybe it wasn’t EXACTLY called that – but it was indeed a class about popular culture and various world views. A studious, young professor taught the course, and the curriculum was a fun mix of art films, news reels, and books. We’d read essays on how popular culture effects the way we live, what we buy, and how it motivates us through the course of our lives. The films of John Waters and Andy Warhol were dissected. We field tripped it to museums and various galleries, discussing the role that art played in various cultures throughout the world.

Spirituality was also touched upon in this class. One afternoon our professor invited a member of the Hare Krishna temple in town to speak to our group about his life as a devotee. He was about twenty five years old. His head was shaven, leaving a plume of hair atop his head to sweep into a singular ponytail that trounced around whenever he moved. He was swathed in a robe and wore sandals. The third eye mark was flecked on his forehead – the point where meditation is focused  – and henna markings surrounded his eyes.

Although I remember the visuals, little details escape me, like his name and specific stories he may have shared. I do recall a bit of his discussion about his life before Krishna. He wasn’t a lost soul. He was never involved with drugs. His life was good. He came from a happy, stable family. The course of his spiritual life unfolded when he sensed a deeper purpose in his life.  The emptiness that the secular world provided was not enough to fill a hole within. He read books on religion and spirituality, and came upon – Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda. It moved him, inspired him to envelope his life with teachings of Krishna.

I remember this man being intensely gentle. His skin seemed soft. The faint aroma of incense floated around him. A glow of spiritual peace and joy radiated from his being. There was something so delicate about him, like soft powdered sugar or light fluffy bread dough – as if he was above human flesh having immersed himself in clean living and daily meditation. It was humbling.

As I sat there, taking in as much as I could, I remembered back to my pre-teen days when I’d listen to the sitar strings and eastern tonal beauty of the Beatles songs George Harrison had inspired from his studies in India and with the Maestro, Pandit Ravi Shankar.   As a child discovering Harrison and his other Beatle colleagues, I looked over photos of him with crowds of Krishna devotees, looking happy and calm. His later songs were always about God in some way or another. His work with a prominent Krishna temple in London was intense, having produced one album called “Chant and Be Happy”, which I’m sure made some Beatle fans think he was hanging with a very strange crowd. Not me.  Gazing upon these photos taken so long before I found them, it was lovely to see George find this life. Plus, I thought these lovely bald, laughing, singing people were lovely. And a little amusing.

Yet, as this young man answered questions about his daily routine, his connection with family (he was still very connected to his family) and his future, I remember doing a very naughty thing. I was seated next to a friend during this lecture, and my professor took a seat behind me. Curious about stupid stuff, and filled with the effects of being a comedy nerd, I turned to my friend and very quiet, very discretely (or so I thought), whispered to my friend the following words:

“Do you think he’s wearing underwear under that robe?”

My friend chuckled. I leaned back in my seat and continued to listen to our guest. A few moments of his answer died down until it was clear he was ready for another question.

I heard my professor’s voice behind me.

“I have a question. The young lady in front of me wanted to know if you are wearing any BVDs”, he said with a smile on his face.

The whole class roared with laughter. Some classmates around me knew he was referring to me because they heard me whisper this question to my friend. I was delightfully embarrassed. It was a riot to hear my teacher bring this truth – the truth that I had this odd question – to his friend in the front of the class.

It also delighted our Krishna devotee, whose face lit up as he stepped back to give out a great, big, amazing laugh. It was like he was crossing over to Buddha, laughing hard with his head thrown back. The joy was contagious. God was in the room.

Then, when the laughter died down, there was a brief pause of silence where we all looked at him as he relished the moment.

“Well?” asked our professor.

Another pause, as if the ticking hand on the clock stopped for a few seconds.

“No…no, I’m not wearing anything under here, ” he said with a beauteous smile before another wave of laughter crashed through the room.

It was a gorgeous moment, a moment in time I do remember as details of that afternoon fade. The innocence of the question posed by an air headed student like me – that turned into a wonderful moment of laughter and honesty.

I think George Harrison would have been pleased.

Hare Krishna!