Honorable MMA training buddies wanted in Twin Cities area

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This is an earnest call out for honorable MMA training buddies in the Twin Cities area.

I’m a 38 year old, lifelong martial artist who honors the core values of love, freedom, and humanity – an educator and counselor by profession, who’s obsessed with mixed martial arts.

I’m of the belief that fighting – as in unarmed fighting – is in our DNA. We come out of the womb punching, kicking, and screaming, covered in blood, shit, and goo.

Fighting with our bare hands has been present as a sport with every culture on earth, through the ages. (My own goes back to Adithada and Mustiyuddha from millennia gone by).

MMA, despite its myriad limitations and drawbacks, is the closest we’ve gotten in sporting terms to unarmed combat in this current modern epoch.

Indeed, I believe part of the reason for my own obsession with MMA is because it’s the sport that comes closest to unarmed combat today. Like many reading this, I have faced violence in my past and was drawn to martial arts as a kid for both the right and wrong reasons. I’m trying very hard now to walk the path of an honorable warrior who puts his best foot forward for his family, community of loved ones, and the earth we live in.

One of the things I do to achieve that is a daily dose of conditioning tailored for MMA. I train for a half hour every day (in addition to watching what I eat, participating in activities that feed my soul, and trying to develop a sharp mind).

My half hour of conditioning work usually consists of fairly intense shadow boxing, sprawls, squats, lunges, monkey hops, striking combos (punches, elbows, knees, kicks), constant foot movement, and core/back work, while focusing on breathing, balance, and volume. In addition, and as often as I can, I bike, walk, do pushups/squats, dance with my kid, and occasionally workout on a long bag or a ground n pound bag. I’m fit, athletic, and quite strong; 5 feet 10 inches tall, walking around at ~155 pounds. I think conditioning is the most important physical, mental, and spiritual part of being a fighter. I also believe it should should be the first step for any martial artist and conducted lifelong as a daily grind with endorphin yummies for reward.

I’ve been to gyms before and have trained/sparred, but currently cannot commit to one. I’m a working man and my first commitment is my family, thus all the money we make goes towards the mortgage and family needs. In other words, I don’t currently have the resources to join a proper MMA gym.

Instead I was hoping to find some training buddies in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area who might want to meet once or twice a week, or more, to workout together and, eventually, spar together (ensuring proper safety, rules, intensity levels, and honor bound codes of conduct, of course).

Initially, I’m imagining just doing conditioning workouts together, discussing sparring ideas, and ways to lead honorable lives as warriors (no jokes, I think that shit’s important to growing as a martial artist). My ultimate plan is to get a good conditioning workout for a half hour and then maybe a few rounds of sparring for a half hour, with protective gear and low to medium intensity…so no crazy haymakers and then gassing in a minute and a half…I’m learning from past mistakes šŸ˜‰

I’m seeking a symbiotic, supportive relationship to get better as fighters and live more honorable lives as warriors. It is thus absolutely vital that my training buddies also honor the deeper core values I’ve mentioned above of love, freedom, and humanity. The relationships we build are more important than our relative fighting skills or lack thereof. Martial arts, and MMA in particular, unfortunately attracts a lot of alpha-male-type assholes drowning in toxic masculinity. If you are sexist, racist, misogynistic, homophobic, or an intolerant bigot in any way, I do not want to hear from you as you are not a true martial artist and have strayed far from the path of the honorable warrior (no matter how awesome a fighter you might be). However, if you smiled at that last sentence, please do get in touch.

It’s easier for me to get my ass kicked in workouts and sparring by a fellow warrior whom I respect and care for and I’m hoping it’s the same for you. I also wish to emphasize that you don’t need to have prior martial arts experience – like i said, I truly believe fighting is in our DNA (and we’ve all fought or had our butts wupped in real life). All we need is a willingness to sweat, learn, and help one another get better at life. Maybe we can even document our ongoing success and failures on forums like this.

Finally, I’m also keen on exploring other warrior arts and skills apart from just combat sports – shit that might come in increasing use as our societies crumble for better or worse. You know, shit like hunting, sustainable living, bartering cooperatives, and organic permaculture. I just think doing strength and conditioning work for combat sports and sparring together is a great way to start. My ultimate (pipe) dream is to see this grow magically into a non hierarchical, anti-oppressive, warrior society based on love, freedom, and humanity.

Whatever…costs nothing to smoke up and dream after a workout.

Seriously though, if what you just read spoke to you, and you live in and around the Twin Cities, I’d love to hear from you. Text or email me please and we can chat.

kind regards and much peace,

Shree Varuna

612-636-9895

forthematriarchy@gmail.com

 

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Towards a healthy engagement with monotony

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Life truly is a series of standout moments. Many of them in fact – all floating inĀ a sea of monotonous reproduction in between.

I think we live in a culture that is consumed by an unquenchable desire, and thus unquestioning laboring, for the highlightable moments in life. Our pop culture is replete with neatly packaged moments – good, bad and everything else – that we are told constitute a life we ought to lead.

But we’re not culturally attuned to figuring out the monotony in between. (For starters, it would make for really, really boring television.)

The very fact that I call it monotony – as opposed to, say, journey, which I’ve been told might be a healthier way of looking at it – is a bit of an indicator already. Monotony means repetition, and repetition is a surefire path to boredom in this world of ours, dominated as it is by pop culture soundbites.

I’m not great with monotony for this reason. It’s the reason that one of my greatest life endeavors has been to entertain myself during the monotonous tasks often required for the sustenance of life and love – the monotony of taking care of business so to speak. I do believe this somewhat unhealthy relationship with monotony has been one of the reasons I have struggled in the past with alcohol and cigarettes as coping measures.

Monotony reminds us of the moments that constitute our life across the multiverse and the myriad timelines we exist in – good and bad. It is in getting mindful during the vast spaces of monotony in one’s life that I believe I might get a healthier engagement with those unforgettable moments – timeless joy from the good and endless strength from the bad.

Thus, in an effort to understand life better I am realizing the need to engage with the monotony of life just as much as I seek glorious mile markers.Ā For it is indeed the boring and non-scintillating activities that are necessary for the sustenance and nurturing of loved ones who make those moments of true joy possible.

I believe a major factor in getting to a state of mental, emotional, and spiritualĀ flow – not delirious joy and happiness but rather a baseline state of fairly mundane satisfaction – is a healthy engagement with monotony and boring activities.

Among other things I can think of that help in this regard is understanding the hiddenĀ good side to monotonous life activities (apart from any plant-based intoxicants that serve as reward that is).

And here’s what I think that good side is:

It’s safe to say that if one is engaged in these activities then it likely means there isn’t acute stress or pain in one’s life at that very moment. This might change in the future (or you might access pain from your past), but when your life is at a state where you are regularly engaging in day-to-day boring-ass shit, it is a likely indicator that your life isn’t in any immediate danger and that a relative amount of safety is present.

It’s a good thing to remember in this dance with our demons…

 

Love is loss…beautiful, gut-wrenching loss

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Is love possible without the inevitability of loss?

Can true bliss ever be appreciated without pain?

Are we doomed (or blessed?) to forever navigate our lives suspended between joy and suffering?

These are rhetorical questions of course. We know the answers, but we often choose to be blind to vast portions of truth that throb in our hearts and minds. We want infinite love and never-ending joy while succumbing to the linearity of time. We want the happily-ever-after, but without the inevitable ending and regeneration of this earthly life.

They are the demons we fear.

He was out roaming the streets, free and happy. Roaming around the neighborhood and community we all loved, visiting his friends, knowing there was a loving home that would always wait for him.

That fateful night his body was taken away from him by a speeding car, a symbol of humanity’s callousness for the earthen life that sustains us all. That night was when we as a family faced our first (but certainly not last) devastating blow. That night, pain became our eternal companion.

And the questions started pouring in as we held each other, drenched in one another’s tears:

How can life be so cruel?

Why did he have to be taken away from us so soon?

What did we do wrong?

Hell, what’s the bloody point of it all?

The questions are a pitiful exercise in pain management I suppose. The dance with the demons we’re all invited to join, that nobody seeks.

Aye, but here’s the rub…

Deep down, we – his loved ones – don’t want that pain to go away.

For that’s the point of love. It is in pain and loss that love achieves its ultimate realization. It is the gut-wrenching beauty of love. We need those demons. They look fearsome but in reality they are our truest and dearest confidantes.

So all we ask now is that he stay free and happy.

Cos the demons tell me he’ll always be with us…

***

[Rumi poozy, I love you more than life itself and I always will. My brother and best friend – you’ve given me more joy than I could ever repay. I got some things to take care of in this life – you know love needs nurturing – but I can’t wait to roam this universe with you and Vaddu. Stay awesome.]

 

 

Engaging in a relationship with death and suffering

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I’ve been publishing and running this blog since March 2014. I think I’m beginning to understand why. Partly it’s because I have this compulsion, ever so often, to write and be read – doesn’t really matter by how many. And like many others, I want a platform that is singularly in my control, where people can bear witness to as much of me as I care to reveal. Barring my partner, our daughter, and our two cats, I don’t really reveal much of myself to anyone, mostly because I prefer building community with others at arms length distance.

(I’m a family man and misanthropic humanist rolled into one. This blog is sounding board, friend, and counsel.)

I realize I also want to leave a written legacy for my daughter for her to skim through in her own time.

This makes me fear death a lot less because there’s an authentic part of me, with these random streams of consciousness, that will always be left behind in this universe. If all goes well, I will die while Sus and Daya are both alive and well, but not before having helped establish a nurturing, secure foundation of love and community for them to continue thriving in. That is all I dream off and desire from this life. (Beyond, you know, the whole nirvana ideal of freedom from attachment and desire etc…for now, I’m just taking it step by step.)

It’s funny. I used to care a lot less about death in my teens and twenties.

But ever since the blooming of our amazing family, reflections on death (as well as more morbid, fearful thoughts around suffering, grief, trauma, and more…) have been an ever-present hum in my brain.

Try as I might I am unable to get rid of them.

On the surface it’s easy to see why. I lost my younger brother nearly fourteen years ago – three weeks before his 18th birthday – to a swimming accident. Our relationship has continued to grow and thrive in other realms, but I sure do miss him in this one. Issues with loss, and fear of the same, are likely to be lifelong companions. I have also seen a lot of suffering and trauma as a result of past work and activism. I know shit can get really, really bad, really, really fast, pretty much anywhere on earth.

Furthermore, I have never experienced as deep and spiritual a love as I have for Sus and Daya. Being a nurturer and parent is unlike anything I have ever experienced. Never have I feared losing two human beings more than these two. It is a fear so deep, so raw, that I can barely put it into words.

But I think another reason for those ever-present mental segues into death and suffering is because the universe is telling me to engage with those thoughts.

Instead of avoiding them, or rationalizing them, or getting tied down by them, I need to have a judgment-free, fearless relationship with them.

I don’t know what that might look like. Like any relationship, I suppose it will go through its ebbs and flows.

But I do know it’s a relationship that can get healthier only when I let go of my need to control it. I can’t really control when or how any of us is going to die. Nor am I, try as I might, going to be able to protect my loved ones from all the ills of the world. I know they are stronger than me and certainly strong enough to handle whatever life throws at them.

The only thing I do, in fact, know with certainty is that we are all going to die and we are all likely going to encounter some suffering in our lives.

Why not have a healthier relationship with that which is the only true certainty in this life of ours?

(You know, until we figure out the whole non-linearity of time thingy…a whole other mindfuck I can’t comprehend.)

The end of privileged white society (and how an amateur blogger beat the pundits and pollsters)

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Back in May 2016, over 5 months and what seems like a lifetime ago, I published a blog post entitled “9 scary reasons Donald Trump can become president in November

In case you’re wondering how to access it, a shameless, self-aggrandizing link is provided below:

https://loveliberationstruggle.wordpress.com/2016/05/27/9-scary-reasons-donald-trump-can-become-president-in-november/)

I started that post with the following preamble:

Ok, Iā€™m going to come right out and stake my claim on this prediction ā€“ itā€™s one with a very small chance of actually coming true (but I think that ā€œsmall chanceā€ is getting bigger by the day):

Donald Trump will become the next President of the United States.

Please note that it is Friday, May 27, 2016 ā€“ over five months away from us actually finding out whether or not this prediction comes true.

Iā€™m not saying that this is a good thing, if it comes true that is. Not by any stretch of imagination. Iā€™m just saying that itā€™s going to happen. And Iā€™ve been feeling like this for quite a few months now. (Bless the intrepid soul of my long-suffering soulmate and life partner who has to hear my incessant geopolitical monologues.)

Following that introduction, I listed 9 scary and very true reasons for making such a prediction. You can check out the link for more details.

Now I won’t lie, I do feel a little vindicated. But I am anything but happy. Indeed, the day after that most catastrophic of nightmares panned out in surreal fashion before our eyes, I had a near mental and emotional breakdown and had to take a sick day off.

And yet, despite the return of past traumas and pain, I still feel the power of vindication.

An angry, rage-filled, and thoroughly depressing vindication.

Finally!

Finally, all the privileged, white shits of America can see what those of us who are racialized and come from colonized backgrounds have been seeing for fucking centuries.

Finally all the privileged, male shits of America can see what women and trans people across the globe have been seeing for fucking millennia.

Finally, the brutally patriarchal, white supremacist core of America is there for everyone to see.

For this is white misogyny’s last hurrah – and it was easy to spot. Hence the brazen prediction made about America electing Trump as president.

Now, let’s face it. That prediction was just pure dumb luck.Ā I will be the first to admit that I didn’t use any scientific or statistical analysis, nor did I think it actually had much of a chance of coming true. It was nothing more than a gut feeling based on having lived in the settler-colonial societies of America and Canada for the vast majority of my adult life. Indeed, I even shamelessly back pedaled on that prediction a bit in a more recent essay I wrote about rape culture in our societies.

The reason I hark back to that time (apart from flagrant self-promotion) is because exactly a year prior, in May 2015, I wrote a much lengthier piece entitled “The end of privileged white society” – a tirade calling itself an essay and proud to be doing so.

I didn’t publish it. I merely wrote it, edited it, saved it, and told myself that I would publish it on my blog when the time felt right.

I believe that time is now, a year and a half later, because theĀ dawn of this white-supremacist, misogynistic neo-fascism in the US signals the beginning of the end for privileged white society.

As promised to myself, the essay is published below.

***

The end of privileged white society

May 2015, Toronto, Canada

Recently I had a particularly liberatory spiritual experience, a stream of slightly higher-than-normal consciousness.

I have tentatively entitled it: The end of privileged white society.

Mostly it has to do with my own liberation as a colonized person of color, which is at the heart of the story. White folk who fail to truly understand their privilege are and always have been a side story.Ā I’ll explain in due course.

Now, when I say the endĀ of privileged white society in this quasi-threatening tone, please note thatĀ I disdain masculine, misogynistic violence, or really violence of any kind barring that which is used in choiceless self defense. What I’m really envisioning with the end of privileged white society is equality, and the liberation of all. I’m just doing so a tad angrily, but that’s ok, I’m in control of my feelings. I know how scary an angry person of color is to privileged whiteness (you can see it in the eyes of the particularly insecure among them).

I really do envision the end of privileged white society. The end of white settler-colonial society in that imperialist, genocidal overlord known as the United States of America, in its parasitic client states in Canada and Israel or, hell, maybe even in that drunken joke known as Australia. The end of white Eurocentric society, in that sociopathic dump of a nation-state known as the UK with a vampirish monarchy for an overlord, or that sanctimonious pile of loser puss known as France, or even that technocratic, soulless beast known as Germany, and their various client states in Europe. I see the end of the kind of nightmarish and violent white nationalism in Eastern Europe, which seems to worryingly resort to it for any and all traumas that it might go through. Indeed, I see the end of privileged white society to such an extent that I truly do foresee itĀ soon being referred to in generations to come as the primaryĀ source of oppression for the overwhelming majority of humanity for over six centuries.

As a colonized person of color, it’s an extraordinary feeling of liberation to have coursing through my veins.

And course through it does.

I can taste that feeling of liberation. I can smell it. I can sense it in my mind, my heart, indeed, in my soul. The earthen-skinned goddess of liberation is trembling with ferocious indignation.

(And she’s a little scary, let me tell you.)

For I do believe we are on the cuspĀ of a glorious evolution towards a new epoch where we are closer to equality, real equality, towards the true liberation of all, where we share and share alike, where we all live in communion with each other and our non-human family.

Now, I desperately hope this evolution will be non-violent.

The problem is that there is one inviolable truth to this evolution in humanity happening.

White privilege must end.

Just as patriarchy and misogyny must end. Just as capitalism and imperialism must end. Just as religious fundamentalism and nationalism must end.

Privileged white society has to come crumbling down.

I know all the defensive tropes that can and will be raised to counter the sentiments and sensibilities of this piece. I actually couldnā€™t care less about them because of one undeniable fact:

One section of humanity cannot consume many times more than the overwhelming majority of the rest, having actively brutalized and exploited from the rest of the world without also realizing that for true equality, for the real liberation of all of humanity, that very same society that consumes so much at the expense of so many must end. The consumption must end. The privilege must end.

The party is over people.

Yes, even for white liberals and lefties who voted for Obama but still wallow in white privilege like its divine right.

The resources need to be shared and shared alike – with the rest of the fucking world, with all of humanity in harmony with the earth.

This is not a wish.

It is a natural fact.

Make no mistake, there are going to be sections of that privileged white society who, deep down will admit, are not going to want to share and share alike. Large sections. The Fox News crowd is large, and they will soon be joined by the CNN crowd, eventually maybe even the MSNBC crowd and the indy media crowd. The right wing, the liberals, the slightly whinier liberals, even those who call themselves leftists ā€“ how many, white or otherwise, across the Western world will actually give up their privilege to share and share alike with the rest of the world?

The answer could be quite sobering.

Because the vast majority, a right royal hefty chunk of privileged white society will organize themselves into protecting their privilege. They will likely do this by reverting back to the insecure rationalizations of their power, by further upholding their unholy belief in oppressiveĀ nation-states and corporations, and by retreating into sterile comfort zones of privileged fear (picture hordes of insecure, ageing hipsters huddled behind suburban walls, festooned with the flags and bouquets of vapid white pop culture, while being guarded by brutal state mercenaries itching to kill brown people – with everyone involved knowing that there are only so many you can kill before the natural harmony of equality and liberation is restored.)

If they slip back to that soulless garbage, that’s going to be a problem. Because eventually privileged white folk will have to realize (as must we all, cis men, the elites of the colonized lands and more – we must all realizeā€¦) that there’s a choice in life:

Choice # 1: liberate ourselves together, share and share alike, and understand that our liberation is inconceivable without the liberation of all.

Or

Choice # 2: fall into insularity, oppression, bigotry, whining insecurity, and vain attempts at hoarding oneā€™s privilege when we all know that, sooner or later, nature takes its course.

Nature is all about true freedom, true liberation, and true equality.

Indeed, nature is all about true balance.

And humanity is a force of nature too.

You see, there is a fear within privileged white society that has been fostered by racism and exploitation over many centuries. It is a fear that was ingrained, nay, interred into privileged white society from the day it was born. It is a fear in them that makes me think that a large section of privileged white society will end up inciting even greater violence around the world than it already has, along with its running dogs of religious fundamentalism and patriarchy.

For there is one thing that all those who benefit from privileged white society, whether theyā€™re white or not, fear about the world that makes me realize that white privilege, imperialism, settler-colonialism, Eurocentrism, and racism will either crumble (or be smashed) into the ground.

There are more of the colonized than there are of the colonizer.

Way more.

Way, way more.

By the very definition that privileged white society consumes so much more than the rest of the world combined, over many centuries of colonialism and imperialism, has resulted in one inviolable fact.

Those who consume little be many. The overwhelming majority of those folk are colonized people of color.

Those who consume lots be few. The overwhelming majority of those folk are privileged white people.

Check the numbers if you don’t believe me. Check how much the West consumes compared to the rest of the world, even when the rest of the world includes big, brutal, sub-imperialist powers like China and India. Put it in actual per-capita numbers (you know, if you believe that all human lives are of equal worth and all.)

Indeed, that duality can be rephrased:

Those who need privileged white society to end be many.

Those who need privileged white society to continue be few.

I don’t say this in a threatening way. This evolution in humanity is going to have moments of violence and trauma that we must always do our best to avoid. This is not, nor can it ever be, about violence or retribution.

It’s just fact.

There are always going to be more of the colonized than there are of the colonizer.

And the barriers, the borders, the nationalism, the military might, the state mercenaries, the criminalization, the prison systems, the imperialist wars, the comprador scum, all the privilege that is derived from consuming ten times more than the rest of the world, all of that cannot hold back the long march of time.

And time is on the side of the colonized.

The oil will end. Economies will crash. Ever-increasing numbers of clownish demagogues will come to the fore. You cannot keep consuming and not expect something to come back to bite you in the ass.

And while I don’t believe that white privilege, racism, colonialism, or Eurocentrism will end in my lifetime in terms of a major shift towards greater equality and liberation for all of humanity; I do know it will happen. Indeed, I don’t have to see this liberation in my lifetime, or in this material world, for me to believe in it and be happy about it.

Because I see its beginning.

And I go to bed at night thanking all the goddesses of the universe for not being born white.

The damage done to the souls of men and white people

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One of the reasons I am a fan of Fanon, is because he dared us to examine the heart of the colonial beast from the brilliantly liberating vantage point of it’s diseased center.

His writings breathed fire. They were powerfully anti-colonial and anti-Eurocentric. No doubt, like any other man, they were also mired in his gender oppressiveness. But heĀ neverthelessĀ helped me understand oppression in a veryĀ liberating way. I realized that understanding the damage done to the souls of oppressors was a far more empowering way to engage with the myriad forms of oppression in and around me.

Now, we can further complicate this shit, but I don’t think I have the literary skill or temperament to hold your attention for that long. So for now, I’m going to limit myself to two particularly well-known global demographics – men and white people – both groups of whom, it can safely be said, benefit from the overwhelming majority of oppression on our good green earth. Yes, yes, in varying degrees when we complicate it with class and nationality and yadda, yadda. But wherever you go on this earth, men have it better than other genders – at least in their own local communities and societies – and white people have it better than damn near everyone else on the fucking planet. (Holy crapola did that European settler colonialism work wonders for the melanin-deficient.)

Now, I say that we gain spiritual strength over our oppressors (inside and out) by understanding the damage done to the souls of those oppressors. And in the global north, i.e. the privileged-ass Western world, this means understanding the damage done to the souls of men and white people.

(And I daresay that would be the case in any other part of the earth as well.)

The reason I think it is empowering for me to think of oppression in this way is because it both humbles and strengthens meĀ at the same time.

It humbles me because I realize that even beyond what oppression does to our bodies, our minds, and our social environments – it is at our deepest, most soulful level that oppression is fought.

It strengthens me because I realize that no matter how violently and/or silently oppression might manifest in our daily lives, those who reap the benefits of it cannot hide from the damage it does to their souls.

And that’s a comforting mixture of truth, justice, and that little bit of whacky to help you sleep at night.

Friendships forged in awkwardness

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I often ruminate on some of the various sociocultural differences in societies I have lived in across the world – which is a fancy of saying that I spend a lot of time daydreaming.

But among the many I have noticed or am on the verge of noticing thus far is how awkwardness is treated in different societies.

In most places in the world, awkwardness can more often than not be effectively dealt with by various forms of self and community medication usually involving a variety of spirits and/or herbal supplements.

There are often times however when such easy measures are not always available and thus friendships and relationshipsĀ might actually have to be cultivated out of said awkwardness.

During those times, I have often found that settler-colonial societies treat awkwardness like some blight to be feared and avoided at all costs.

More earth-minded societies tend to see awkwardness as just another form of the human condition – neither to be feared nor made a big deal of. (These societies, I assure you, also know the good of value of aforementioned healing medications.)

I am realizing that as I wrestle with my own dual identity of part colonizer-Aryan, part earth-minded Dravidian – I much prefer the idea of awkwardness as, indeed, another part of the human condition that makes us human, maybe even a space where friendships can grow and solidarities can be nurtured.

No matter how feet-shuffling it gets.