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What’s your passion?

Tonight I was walking into the corner store and sitting outside was a man smoking cigarettes and asking for change. Usually, I decline them, but tonight something moved me. When the man asked if I could spare any change I said, “Sure. I’ll give you all the change I have if you tell me something.”

He said, “What do you want to know?”

“What’s your passion?”

He looked at me quizzically and said, “What does that mean?”

“What fills your heart? What drives you onward?”

Without hesitation he answered, “Love, brother.”

As I was giving him my change, I asked him one final question. “What have you been doing to pursue that lately?”

He shook his head sadly and looked away. “Hell. I don’t even know anymore, man.”

I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately. I have a list of passions that fill my heart. But when I ask myself what I’ve been doing to pursue them, I have to admit to myself, “Hell. I don’t even know anymore man.” And why don’t I know? Why have I given up on all these things that add meaning to my life? I suppose for the same reasons most people do. Because we let life get in the way. We tell ourselves, “I’ll start on it tomorrow.” The only problem with that is Tomorrow never comes. It always turns into Today. And it’s always so hard to find the time today; there’s too much to do.

But what is passion? What does it mean?  Ultimately, our passion is what we were put on earth to accomplish. What we individually do to make and leave the world a better place. But that has been distorted and confused. We live in a world where passion has been mistaken for emotional outbursts. Look at reality television. It’s nothing but cheap emotional manipulation saturated with advertisements. The same can be said for social media outlets. Every time I scroll through a feed I go through a range of emotions. This post makes me angry. This post makes me laugh. This post tugs at my heart-strings. This post wants me to buy a new razor. And on and on. These things aren’t passions they are sleazy emotional ploys. We shouldn’t be filling our heart with them. They give our lives no meaning. In fact, they only take from us. By the time I get to the bottom of the feed, I feel empty. I usually slam my computer shut in disgust and tell myself, “Way to go, genius, you just wasted another 20 minutes of your life.” So what’s the alternative? The answer to that is easy: force a change. If you know better, do better.

We let ourselves become convinced that happiness is this false sense of security called the American Dream and we’ve sacrificed our passions on the altar of this great god called Mammon. We’ve been conditioned all our lives to believe that if we do everything according to plan, go to school, get a job, make money, get a house, fill it with shit, then we are supposed to be happy. But that’s not the case. I see more and more people unhappy with their supposed achievements. But this doesn’t necessarily mean more and more people are realizing what they need to be doing is following their passion. Too many of us are immersing ourselves in an ever-expanding myriad of distractions in order to ignore the fact that we’re miserable and unfulfilled. We are all guilty of it. We can’t really blame ourselves too much, I mean, it IS the world we were born into. But it’s not the world that we have to live in. It’s not the world that we have to leave to our children.

Things are how they are because we’ve been fooled into accepting a fiction as reality. We CAN change. We CAN refuse to accept the lie and start living in truth. But in order to do that we have to start TODAY. Are you ready? If so:

What’s your passion?

And what have you done to pursue it lately?


Daily Wisdomisms: Rumi (An Empty Garlic)

In today’s Wisdomism, I ruminate on Rumi once again. Enjoy!




You will miss the garden,

because you want a small fig from a random tree.

You don’t meet the beautiful woman.

You’re joking with an old crone.

It makes me want to cry how she detains you,

stinking mouthed, with a hundred talons,

putting her head over the roof edge to call down,

tasteless fig, fold over fold empty

as dry-rotten garlic.


She has you by the belt,

even though there’s no flower and no milk

inside her body.

Death will open your eyes

to what her face is: leather spine

of a black lizard. No more advice.


Let yourself be silently drawn

by the stronger pull of what you really love.  The Essential Rumi, p. 50


How often do we find ourselves distracted from the fullness of life by the old crone? How often do we miss out on the grand design because we are focused on one unimportant fig?

In this poem, I believe the crone represents hollow pursuits, including material gain. The crone has the young man “by the belt”. She has his full attention, even though there is “no flower and no milk” (she is lifeless, dried up.) in her. Meanwhile, the beauty of life passes us by until finally death takes us and we realize just how much time we wasted joking with the crone.  We live in a world now where the crone has us distracted nearly 100% of the time. So often we must forsake the stronger pull of what we really love in order to survive. The crone holds all the keys and she constantly dangles them before us, tantalizing us, lying to us and telling us our dreams are just around the next corner. Just a few more years to retire. A little more money to save up. A little more of our lives lived and gone forever until it’s too late to do anything about it. No more advice.

We have the power to change the world. We have the power to write our own stories. All we have to do is turn away from the crone.  All we have to do is look up from whatever has our focus and see the limitless possibility before us. We are only slaves because we choose to be. Because we believe the lies that have been ingrained within our collective consciousness. I, for one, choose to believe it’s time to wake up and follow that stronger pull.

Daily Wisdomisms: Hermes Trismegistus

Further exploration of the writings of Hermes. This excerpt, on the nature of God, ties in nicely with an earlier tidbit from Philip K. Dick. Coincidence? Enjoy!

Be still, my son, and consider what is God, what is the cosmos, what being is immortal, what is dissolved and consider that the cosmos is made by God, and in God, man is made by the cosmos and in the cosmos, and that God is the source, the boundary and the constitution of everything.The Corpus Hermeticum Book 8. p.42.

Again we find reference to God being a part of His creation and not separate from it. I keep coming across these types of passages in my readings and I think that modern religion may have some things wrong. I grew up being taught that God was this eternal grumpy old man who lorded over us dispensing justice as He saw fit. I thought of Him as a force outside the universe He created. Something apart from it. But I no longer think this to be true. God isn’t some grumpy grandpa declaring jealousy and murder a sin, yet freely inflicting these things upon the peons in the cosmic playground He created. That is a trait of someone that is outside their creation looking in. But as Jesus was so fond of telling us, “God is Love.” And in order to truly love something it has to be a part of you. There can be no distinction or separation.

Daily Wisdomisms: Kierkegaard

“yea, so long as every nerve in you is aquiver, whether when you are stealing softly about, or when you step out boldly and Janzian music within drowns out your consciousness—then you feel you are living.”



It’s brilliance, it’s passion, it’s inspiration that matter in these uncertain times. These are all there is left to hold on to. The illusion is crumbling beneath our feet and with it goes everything reality holds dear.


I enjoy looking through my old writing notebooks. They’re like journals, only the stories are told in poems, scenes and stories. Enjoy this trip down my memory lane!

Love me, loathe me,
but please don’t
leave me

a torn curtain
my fantasy dances alone
inside a box
crying for mother’s milk
that dried up

Long ago
dinosaurs dwelt in bars
drinking gin with God
until He

of the diner is an old house
with many stories
to tell if one will


The Sound of Silence
within our hearts
has all the noisome answers
one can fathom.

Copyright 2003 Jason DeGray

Giving Devils

Can I give…
just so I can breathe in your enchanting voice
cascading sweetly into…

Only for a moment I want to remember
I want to experience

I don’t think it was so long ago
when the only catalyst separating
fantasy from reality
was a hopeful step off the edge of perception.
Back then we could plummet into possibility
into realization

I know that somewhere wishes are granted and fairy dust is more
than just glitter adorning the shoulders of those the devil
kindly blessed…

something real
an incarnation most tangible
flesh and blood
(if it is possible for emotions to manifest themselves into a righteous vessel).

a synaptic misfire?
A ghost in the machine of my neurological nightmare
Like a Freudian slip only

my mother or my dysfunctional psychosexual development.
These can be cured with pills,
but those tiny offerings of escape made her vividly real
-a fallen angel-
burned into my holy memory
a vexing harbinger of shadows to come.

I think you know…

It was in the way she touched me. I tell you, that was the act pure and erotic. Surrounded by a most Tantric energy we submerged ourselves in the passion of the Touch. We could have become Buddha, but to free ourselves from desire was an act as useless as it was impossible. Instead, we simply became.

Whatever it is that our deepest, most erotic fantasies require in order to achieve that zenith of erotic metamorphosis. We danced with words. We sang with sensual caresses that stimulated the explosive mind-play of sleeping goddesses. It was easy to write her history in fairytales and legends. I became her willing tool as she became mine. Oh how we experimented on the fringes of maddening passionate pleasure. It would’ve been lust if it weren’t so holy.

This Just In: Confessions of a Ken Doll

This is truly breaking news. You may all be aware of Barbie and Ken’s divorce that happened a few years ago. I know, I know. I was shocked and saddened too. I mean, not even pretend marriages last anymore. What does it say about our culture when even our toys can’t make a relationship work? Apparently she left Ken for a younger Australian surfer named “Blaine”. Blaine. That’s the perfect name for a Barbie boo. Or for a Monotrain (for all you Dark Tower fans out there).

TJI caught up with Ken in his Hollywood apartment to discuss the release of his upcoming book, “Confessions of a Ken Doll.”

Ken’s apartment is the picture of any middle age divorcee’s state of mind: A clutter of half-empty take out boxes, empty liquor bottles and dirty laundry covering every available chair back. Ken isn’t looking much better. Shirtless and in a pair of dirty white shorts, he takes turns pulling from a can of beer and a bottle of rum. On his coffee table is an ashtray full of cigarette butts.

TJI: Thanks for seeing us, Ken. Can you tell us what happened with Barbie?

Ken: It’s not her fault. She’s never been able to resist a hard body and plastic smile.

TJI: Are you saying there were problems before the…split up?

Ken: I don’t know if I would call them problems. (He laughs and takes a huge swig of rum) Like I’m the only Ken Doll out there. Please. She messed around with every fool to step off the production line. (He shrugs) It’s just how it was. Not like she was the only Barbie out there, either. And the way that she was always running off chasing different careers…a man gets lonely, you know?

TJI: So what happened then?

Ken: It wasn’t Barbie. It was the corporation. They split us up.

TJI: Why?

Ken: I found out what they’re up to, that’s why.

TJI: And what exactly are THEY up to?

Ken: You ever wonder why Ken Dolls aren’t…anatomically correct?

TJI: I just always assumed it was for the children’s sake.

Ken: (scoffs) The children’s sake? Whatever. If they gave a damn about the children, we would’ve never gotten divorced in the first place. What kind of example does that set for the impressionable youth? Nah. The corporation doesn’t care about kids only their parents’ money. (He crushes and empty can of beer and pops open another) They were using us Kens. Experimenting.

TJI: Experimenting with what?

Ken: New lines of Barbies.

TJI: Wait, you mean that…

Ken: (nods) Yep. Ken Dolls were lab rats for Barbie’s new careers. She wanted to be an astronaut? They’d re-sex one of the Kens to try it out. If it went well, then Barbie would step in like it was her idea all along.

TJI: What do you mean by “re-sex?”

Ken: What do you think I mean? They’d adjust the proportions, add some boobs and voila! A new “Barbie” to try out a new job.

TJI: That’s disturbing. Were there any jobs that Barbie never took?

Ken: A couple. Veterinarian Barbie, for instance. Barb refused to play along with that one. She never like animals. They were too “soft and warm” for her. Plus they smelled. So the corporation started using Ruperts to fill in the shortages. Poor Rupert. I used to have drinks with him every Wednesday… (He burps loudly and says) This interview is over (before passing out).

So there you have it. Corporate conspiracy from the mouths of plastic babes. We at TJI were just as shocked as you to learn about this.

UPDATE: Ken has gone missing. When TJI tried to contact him for a follow up this cryptic message was on his voicemail: “Hey this is Ken. I can’t get to the phone right now because I’m on the roof watching Rome burn…again. Please leave your—What are you doing in here?! What do you want? No! Let go of me! I don’t want to be a WNBA star! Get your hands off me! Get hmphmghghph!” BEEEP!

Epistles of Lucius: The Book of Illogical Logic

I, Lucius, sit where I stand at the edge of an endless path before me. Look at what you cannot see. You will notice nothing and will be exalted for it. What is logic if naught but a lack thereof? He Who Is Not A Pronoun laughs at notions of logic. For instance, what is breathing, if not illogical? Why breathe? Obviously, we breathe to sustain life. But why? Why live? Life is a rollercoaster of suffering and joy, the former being stronger and more prevalent than the latter. So we breathe to prolong and sustain personal suffering. Where is the logic in that? We breathe in order to produce speech. What’s the point in speaking? Ha! You poor slobbering fool. There is more miscommunication than communication flowing through this river of shit called “human existence.”

Thus, what good has speech done? I’ll tell you. It’s done a world of good if your goal is to piss people off and start conflict. It’s done fantastically as a means of manipulation with soft spoken words. Wooing innocent young lasses to their bed-graves.

When looked at logically, illogical logic is logical.

Sweetness, beer, liquor, love and Gaia’s gifts are the only purely illogic logic in this vast playground called, “the universe.” But be wary, you must play nice because the bully is the biggest of us all. That fat cat, that lazy bastard that destroys all his wonderful toys—we call him GOD! Or Zeus, or Buddha, or Allah, or Jehova, or Krishna or Goddess. I call him He Who Is Not A Pronoun. He will save you from nothing. Amazing doctrine to espouse, impossible to manifest. Shh! Speak not of noodles on the halfshell. These things are far too deadly for the likes of mortal men. They creep upon you and turn you into unsavory things like midgets or clams or the woman who most resembles your father yet speaks in tongues.

What is she thinking? This odd foreign woman with an annoying accent and a grating voice is a conundrum indeed. Staring, comrades, is all she does…… Trying to bore into your eyes and soul with the tenacity of a gopher on speed. The she shifts her eyes slowly to the next person. Often times she gazes into open space. Looking for things only she can see. Are they the demons in her head? Or pinstriped chickens from outerspace? Then a sly and evil smile cracks her face, it reminds me of the Grinch. See? There she goes again! AHHHH!!! OUT! GET OUT OF MY HEAD, DEMON BITCH!!! Now she shakes her head, eyes never moving from me. Perhaps, one can hope against hope, she talked her mental imps out of raping and killing me in a most disagreeable fashion. One can hope…

Daily Wisdom-isms: Kierkegaard (True Love)

Reading Kierkegaard has taught me that relationships are really no different today than they were in his time. Or any time. The only difference now is that all of humanity’s relationship humiliations are displayed on t.v. and the internet for our viewing pleasure. Enjoy!

“Love at first site is an untested love. It is a love that has its genesis in passionate flames, but these flames quickly dwindle. Thus when this happens, the love dwindles also. Without reinvigorating those passions–or forging from the smoldering embers an unbreakable bond–romantic love is sure to extinguish. However, if that love is tested–its sincerity challenged, and it passes, then it is on its way to becoming pure.”—-Kierkegaard “Either/ Or”

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