top of page

October Newsletter

GUITARWORK NEWSLETTER ______________________________________

GuitarWork News Letter October 2020 Featured Videos: By Gordon Rowland, Enjoy -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Event Details INVITATION TO DIALOG

Dear friends: This is an invitation to a dialogue so please honor me with your ideas, questions and comments. When covid restrictions began my daughter and son-in-law were in Idaho caring for my terminally ill mother. Their guest house in the East California foothills was vacant. Since I couldn't teach or perform, and none of the cats had been to China recently I became a hermit in Calaveras county. As I exited society the “covid-19 mantra” was being reiterated on all media channels. (Much like the “weapons of mass destruction mantra” after 9-11.) Since then I had not seen such coordinated effort of bipartisan government and corporate media. Epidemiologist Dr. Anthony Fauche, warned us to stay home and away from crowds, the governor closed schools, churches and all non-essential businesses. Official public guidelines echoed through radio, TV, and internet devices. With public attention riveted to the official message, few noticed the glaringly missing relevant component... no strategies to protect immune health were offered. Immune health is counterproductive to the corporate medical business model. Healthy people are not their customers, so to remain one of those un-customers I picked up probiotics, vitamins A C and D, zinc and colloidal silver at gold trail natural foods in Jackson. I also obtained a saline solution to rinse my nasal cavity because an airborne virus must enter the nasal cavity before it can progress to the lungs. These nature cures are proven friends to the people through many nonclinical trials. My friend Juliette had recently given me The Mind Body Code by Mario Martinez. His insights revealed how repetitive alarm would evoke flight or fight responses, shutting down the immune system (in order to reserve all energies to run or fight). Inflammatory products (like cortisol) are then released into the bloodstream, increasing the likelihood of succumbing to a virus. I wanted to direct my thoughts from media flight to a solution, away from the fear and on to the cure. * The Biology of Belief by Bruce Lipton is clear description of the immune system, epigenetic and placebo effects. At Mountain Ranch I began meditating, building raised beds for a garden, and clearing brush. The goal of my timber project was to open a vista view that had been cluttered by burned pine trees since the Butte (PG&E) fire. As I worked in the timber I remembered working with my ancestors who were hard working, resourceful and happy loggers from Idaho. The vibrations of the chain-saw grounded me into lumberjack memories that included my father and my uncle Vernon. When I silenced my chain saw I noticed abundant nature sounds reminiscent of the wilderness hermitage of my formative years. Hermitage, like meditation, is a chosen withdrawal from the outside world, and a corresponding connection with the inner world. The hermit turns from the clamor of society to formulate his values. Society no longer chooses his values or directs his character. Setting aside peer pressure and established traditions he becomes liberated from the guiding accolades and smiles, frowns and condemnations of his host tribe. But liberation requires new responsibilities. He must now invent and authenticate himself by choosing or rejecting traditions on their merits rather than merely peer pressure from dead people. The goal of the hermit is not to escape from community but to turn from the public discourse (and color TV) to formulate an understanding he can then contribute to a busy community that lacks time for reflection. As a hermit with a long human history I will draw on my experience. My childhood cousins enjoyed a lawn teaming with clover blooms and honey bees. We trained bees to stay in a lid-less canning jar by holding the jar upside down. Each time the bees tried to fly downward to escape from the mouth of the jar we lowered the jar onto a flat surface, blocking their escape. When the bees were fully deceived into believing there was no escape they no longer tried. Giving up their nectar gathering they became entertainers in our glass jar circus. This phenomena of training to overlook the obvious is called “premature cognitive commitment” or a “cognitive map”. It happens with bees, flies, crickets...and humans. The borders of the human cognitive map are guarded by cultural admonitions and laws. If your views range beyond the public narrative castigation warns that you are too near the margins of the container. Fly out and you get caught in the legal butterfly net of the justice system, or the bug zapper of police shootouts. Today's covid orders are redefining boundaries and closing familiar navigation routes. Charles Eisenstein in his article The Coronation lists some changes in our cognitive map: Covid-19 seems to justify so many items on the totalitarian wish list, The tracking of people’s movements at all times (because coronavirus)

  • The suspension of freedom of assembly (because coronavirus)

  • The military policing of civilians (because coronavirus)

  • Extrajudicial, indefinite detention (quarantine, because coronavirus)

  • The banning of cash (because coronavirus)

  • Censorship of the Internet (to combat disinformation, because coronavirus)

  • Compulsory vaccination and other medical treatment, establishing the state’s sovereignty over our bodies (because coronavirus)

  • The classification of all activities and destinations into the expressly permitted and the expressly forbidden (you can leave your house for this, but not that), eliminating the un-policed, non-juridical gray zone. That totality is the very essence of totalitarianism. Necessary now though, because, well, coronavirus.

My hermitage ended June 1st when my son Ben joined me from Idaho. He began a permaculture garden just a few yards from my vegetable garden. We two monks at our separate tasks said few words. When we left our monastery for supplies we saw panic in the town's people. Fear, having eclipsed civility, had caused toilet paper wars complete with fights and injuries. Raw fight or flight was the natural response to an unnatural environment. We received word that my uncle Vernon (champion in my logging fantasy) was locked down in a care facility and allowed no visitors. It was a glaring violation to lock the most vulnerable into facilities that were the most contagious. Covid deaths ended insurance companies responsibilities and canceled social security payments. A win win for corporate government and the insurance lobby. For Vernon and multitudes of others covid replaced meaning with suffering. This was a national plague caused by top down authority. When a family member brings an elder to a convalescent home the institution suggests they sign over the entire estate of the elder. The convalescent home then draws on this account. The children of the elder don't have to deal with medical billings. The cost of this convenience is the entire estate of the deceased. If the children don't agree to sign over the estate the care center can rob the estate by exorbitant billings against the estate (like a $200.00 toe nail trim each week). Estate transfers must be a cash cow for the institution. Elderly humans are like whales. Worth more dead than alive. On my next trip to town I used my stimulus check for my last car payment, insurance renewal and registration, leaving three months of rent and utilities unpaid at my Novato studio. Lance's music store in Jackson closed shop so we lost instrument repair and local supplies while Amazon assumed Lance's future sales. Corporations didn't have to invest or act to absorb the profits of small shops. According to Mint Press News earnings of Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates exceeded 24 billion during the first three weeks of the pandemic. They increased their wealth by a third so far and “Jeff Bezos could give every Amazon employee $105,000 from covid gains alone. My cousins and I gave nothing to the bees, perhaps this human trait numbers us all among the transgressors. My Novato studio is intertwined with my community. When I teach younger students I'm part of their village, surrounded by responsible parents. These relationships make keeping business open essential. Many of my students returned in June. Creative solutions allow me to recover, though I will assume the debt for an undeclared war on small business. Each time the governor pumps the brakes on the lockdown a new set of debt and uncertainty arises for every business in my mall. In mid June my mother passed on to greater life, so my daughter and son-in-law, Mandy and Chris, returned in time to host the annual 4th of July reunion for their closest friends. It was a weekend of guitar playing, swimming and barbecue. This completed the components for my presently charmed life. I enjoy a mix of privacy; family outings and dinners, teaching and playing music at small venues. I can't remember being happier. We are preparing for an uncertain future by riding the crest of a high wave of change. Like the trance of a Saturday matinee movie, we will leave the darkness of the covid theater, walking into the day on rubber legs. When the light of reality banishes our fantasies we will be off balance and searching for a place in the emerging order. I have left off BLM, SRA, and other surfacing topics because I want my newsletters to reflect and represent my personal community rather than my personal bias. Today please join my community think tank by choosing one (or more) of the following:

  1. Suggest a topic for future discussion for this group mind project.

  2. Suggest a rule that if followed by the entire community, would improve our lives. Assume all would comply. How would it look? Click to leave your suggestion (or you can email me directly).

  3. Recommend a candidate for Snowden awards at

Snowden awards: Yearly honoring others for courageous, selfless and sacrificial action on behalf of others. Please don't hesitate to email, call or text for any reason 415 297 3542 *consider hosting a house concert or refer students “Have guitar will travel” “Have zoom will teach”.

192 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

I want to hear from you. We are doing a group mind think tank. Please say briefly: 1/ What traditions result in a thriving happy culture, and/or which result in a stagnant or dangerous cultu

bottom of page