By the end of today (3/21/07), almost all archived articles on this website should be comfortably readable...
QUITE A BUSY WEEK...
We've been very busy this week... as if that's anything new! We had two meetings with script readers, one of whom is also a lawyer, and it looks like another round of rewrites are in order. However, there is solace in knowing that with each pass, we keep coming up with a better and better film. The script we have now is already a substantial improvement over earlier passes, and it is always exciting to get new perspectives and figure out the best way to present this new material to the 'mainstream'.
We also have an investor meeting on Friday that requires me to again get up early and be gone throughout the day -- taking a one-day flight. However, in the midst of this shifting schedule, I finally got a streamlined protocol together for how to clean up many problematic areas of this website.
THANKS TO CYBERFINA PRODUCTIONS
First I'd like to pay special thanks to Angela Greco of Cyberfina Productions, who was of invaluable assistance in preparing the articles and books on this website to transfer over to a content management system (CMS). This included a great deal of "HTML stripping" for all three CONVERGENCE volumes as well as redoing many of the graphics in the CONVERGENCE series. I highly recommend her design work for websites, Flash presentations and the like.
As you may already know, I always wanted to focus on creating new content, not necessarily on learning curves for new software... so back when I blasted my way through the learning curves of getting my own site online in February 1999, I fell into the trap of authoring my webpages in Microsoft Word, saving them as HTM files, and then uploading them to the website in that form.
This may not sound terrible, but the problem is that originally HTML was intended to be a very simple language -- and programs like Word end up putting in tons of garbage code that really shouldn't be there.
As one of many examples, it may completely redefine the style, font, text size, text color, et cetera at the beginning of every paragraph. And that's only one of many pernicious tricks it will play on your otherwise-innocent content. The original idea was to make sure it always looked the same, line for line, so nothing could rewrite or change its appearance.
CONTENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS
Nowadays, with content management systems, everything has moved back to using ultra-simple HTML codes. If every article in your database is stripped down like this, then you can instantaneously change the entire design of the website -- the look, the fonts, et cetera -- just by shifting your 'template' from one option to another. This is another aspect of website design that is destined to become the new standard, for a variety of reasons.
There certainly was a learning curve involved for me in getting into the CMS game, and in fact our website now uses four DIFFERENT systems like this that all interface with each other. Each one has a different "back end" that requires a separate learning curve to understand... and somehow the idea of "poking around in the back end" has never felt very appealing to me. Call me old-fashioned, I guess...
TRAGIC LOSS OF A GREAT SITE MAKEOVER
Angela from Cyberfina Productions came up with a marvelous design for the new launch of Divine Cosmos that I seriously regret never having been able to use. It had lots of gorgeous blues, and we spent a long time fine-tuning the gradients and getting everything to look right. This all went down back in the late summer of 2005.
The problem was that I wanted to offer MP3s of my readings so people could download them for a modest yearly subscription fee -- and also on a per-track basis in some cases (though there are still many more goodies in the archive than in the stand-alone download page).
This proved to be far more difficult to accomplish than I realized. Using a content management system seemed to ultimately be far wiser than going with a more traditional website approach, where you upload new articles and then change your index pages to reflect the new content.
Larry and I did the Science of Peace series together, then the CONVERGENCE film project came about, and I had to put the release of the series on indefinite hold. Nonetheless, I still wanted to work with him and felt bad about the project being delayed.
LARRY SAVED MY BUTT
Larry offered me what I felt was a very reasonable deal to get this whole site up to speed, fully functioning with e-commerce and all the things we needed it to do -- downloads, subscriptions, et cetera -- always with an eye towards the day we could actually release The Science of Peace and actually generate income from what we had done.
If you are looking for an integrated website solution like this, I highly recommend Larry's services, as he is affordable and highly professional, and gets the job done with great speed and efficiency.
The problem was that importing Angela's stupendous design into the site, exactly as it had been done, was time and cost-prohibitive, as it required knowledge more advanced than Larry even had -- at least at that time. Even now, such a straight-ahead design transfer would require a whole week of programming time. It is far quicker and easier to just get the header you want and then let the CMS templates do the rest.
As I said, Angela had done a mammoth job of cleaning up our HTML code for the new site... and this did allow us to have a much smoother transition. However, the sheer volume of content on this website was quite labyrinthine... and our main focus at the time was on getting the CONVERGENCE books right.
A BROKEN SITE - MIRROR OF MY OWN EMOTIONAL BODY
As a result, we let other parts of the site go unchanged -- and essentially they remained damaged once our domain name changed to Divine Cosmos and we got on the new server. This is the way it's been now for 2-3 months of 2005, all of 2006 and the first three months of 2007 -- literally a year and a half. During that time, any visitors to the site might have encountered all sorts of errors in various parts of our archive -- broken graphic links, et cetera.
Of course, I'm the first to realize, with the benefit of hindsight, how this was a mirror of my own "broken" nature inside. In this world, as a public figure, your website IS your appearance... how others see you... and I was definitely not putting my best foot forward. It was as if my foot had stepped in something but I was running too fast to notice. (That actually DID happen to me on my whirlwind lecture tour of Japan in 2002, curiously enough.)
The Iweb server plan cost us 350 a month -- and we never made a profit with it, only enough to possibly pay for the monthly fees, and sometimes it didn't even clear that. Undoubtedly this was due to the fact that I paid very little attention to the site. I didn't update it regularly (sometimes two or more months at a time with no changes), didn't want to get my hands dirty in learning all this new software, and therefore allowed all the damaged pages to sit there and remain unhealed.
APARTMENT WOES AS THE FILM MOVES INTO HIGH GEAR
The whole process of working on this film was thrown into high gear once I moved from Kentucky to Los Angeles, beginning in January of last year for my initial ventures. On the first week of February I gave away most of my furniture to charity, shipped everything via UPS, shipped my car by an auto-mover service who told me it was OK to put stuff in the car (and that was a total nightmare, not to mention a lie) and flew out here.
I had to take an apartment on very short notice after friends talked sense into me about a deal I was getting involved in that would not be good... possibly causing me to have to move again in just one month. The new apartment had brand-new carpets, linoleum and paint. The fumes were quite strong, but I figured I could air the place out and we'd be fine.
I ended up living with film staff for six weeks, left the windows wide open the entire time, paid for a complete steam-cleaning of the carpet and also did another round on my own, but those fumes were SO toxic that there was literally no way to breathe healthy air in that apartment. Ever.
I was also directly next door to the laundry room, which was wide open and had no ventilation. It was a very crowded building, so laundry was running constantly -- and the fumes were highly toxic, meaning that I could not open the windows in the rear of the apartment, which is also where the carpet fumes were the strongest. All those respiratory toxins kept me perpetually ill, and therefore perpetually unhappy as well.
These problems were never really solved, only managed -- and I often left my front door wide open, on the ground floor, with a Japanese folding door in front of it for privacy. It was the only way I could breathe. People walked by all the time and invariably wanted to look in the window, so I would hear them and see them -- it was like being a museum exhibit. I could close the blinds, but then the apartment was so dark it was like living in a dungeon.
The noise was also intolerable. You had barking dogs, crying babies, screaming children, blaring stereos and TV sportscasts, reeling alcoholic and drug-soaked bashes (two VERY social apartments in the same complex), and a dishwasher right over my head that ran every morning, blocking out all attempts to sleep even with earplugs. Combine this with the choking, gagging fumes, which became all-consuming if the space was not ventilated at least once every 24 hours, and you had a very miserable situation.
In the midst of all this I was having to be more focused than ever in working on the film. Plus, there was a lot of distraction, as I was directly adjacent to Montana Avenue and thus had the inevitable temptation of walking out my front door and having easy access to the Wild Oats health food store and any number of different killer restaurants, most of which were chic enough to have healthy things I could eat.
I also had subscribed to the newspaper after being unable to say no to young teenagers coming around and trying to raise money for school. I ended up doing it three times, gifting the second one to one of my neighbors and making the third one just a donation. Reading the paper every day REALLY got me ensconced in the collective consciousness field of LA -- which is not exactly a healthy frequency, overall. Lots to think about, but the thoughts are definitely confused... like Tourette's syndrome of the heart.
It was only through dreams, AFTER I escaped, that I really learned how things had become so distressing, so frenetic, so disruptive that my main goal was just to get a little peace and quiet each day -- and that also necessitated staying up later than the partiers did, every night. Only then would I get a brief oasis of silence.
A GREAT DEAL OF WRITING WAS DONE
Believe me when I say that I was just as prolific of a writer during this entire time as I have been here on site since the inaugural post to David's Blog entitled "Cosmic Perspective on Daily Events." The difference was that it was all personal material -- trying to sort out my issues, why I was so miserable, what I should have learned from three different romantic relationships that all devolved into absolute codependent hell in a reasonably short time.
I really did want to know why every time I lived with someone, it ended in disaster and disappointment. Living 'alone' gave me a lot of time to think about it, and I eventually realized that I had far less 'privacy' than at any other point in my entire life while in that apartment.
I do feel that I made great strides in this process of journaling for self-healing -- but what I wasn't seeing was that the continuing experience of living in such a densely packed urban area was actually causing me to be perpetually re-traumatized.
I did also dwell on these new trigger issues in my journal, but I mainly used the whole experience as catalyst to bring all these painful memories up for review and sort through them. I kid you not when I say I was often writing 200 or more pages of material every 15 days!
I RESCUED MYSELF
I am glad for that time, as when I finally 'rescued' myself by moving up into the mountains -- about as remote as you can get while still having convenient access to the needed spots of LA -- I was able to let go of the past and get back into the present.
People talk about the Law of Attraction... well, in my case I didn't even VISUALIZE something as cool as what I ended up with. Everything shifted when I turned within, and stopped looking for what my ego wanted (as close to Montana or the Promenade as possible) and asked my Higher Self, "What is the best choice I can make to better serve humanity and do the Work?"
The answer came back loud and clear. I needed to get myself as remote as possible, with trees and mountains, while still having access to LA for the film meetings. A series of miraculous synchronicities (the subject of another pending blog entry) guided me into a lovely situation... where I was paying only slightly more than in Santa Monica, but was now renting an entire house with one other person -- a house with soaring spaces and gorgeous ocean and mountain views.
Richard Hoagland came by to visit and stay a few nights for some important meetings he had after a conference, and he was totally blown away by this place. In fact, he said "This is proof positive that karma really works -- and not just for bad." "You must have done something really good for someone in another lifetime," he gently fun-poked at me, using the New-Ageisms that he usually avoids at all costs. He also pointed out many amazing examples of "rectilinear geometry" in the house and used the word "hyperdimensional" a lot.
In order for this manifestation to flow, part of what I had to let go of was Santa Monica. In fact, the reason why this property is lower in rent is because it is closer to Woodland Hills and Calabasas -- i.e. "the valley" -- than it is to Santa Monica, which is a 25 to 30 minute drive in off-peak traffic. Nonetheless, it is still quite doable to travel, and it feels amazing to 'descend' into these old hangouts and know where I'm returning to when I get home.
I discovered that when I wasn't constantly being triggered by NEW outrages -- even things as simple as noise, overhearing snippets of cell-phone conversations, et cetera -- things started to settle into a Zen space that allowed me to actually embrace the silence for more than a few fleeting moments late at night. I was soon able to sleep again without wearing silicone sleeping earplugs.
It really didn't take very long for me to adjust. Almost as soon as I had finished painting my room and moving in enough that I could work and not be constantly looking for things, I put my mind back into The Work.
WRITING 'THE JOURNEY' AS A PIECE OF MUSIC
As I've said before, the first major step I took was to compose a marvelous four-part composition in Gigastudio, entitled "The Journey". Some of it DOES take the listener through "hell," if you will -- particularly in the extended version. It took an entire week of almost round-the-clock work to generate this piece. I started it right after I was unpacked enough to work.
I took all the things I'd gone through -- right from the initial positive stages (part 1) to the massive sorrows (part 2), then through the path of initiation and mastery (part 3) and on into the re-membering of the Great Mystery and integration of all the previous learnings (part 4) before it then has a reprise of Part 1 at the end -- also making it a recursive loop for those who want to keep listening to it.
Writing The Journey was very therapeutic for me -- but one person thought the extended version was too repetitive (which is the nature of meditation music) and suggested I substantially shorten it. This was the only reason why I had the stomach to take the whole thing and pare it down from 14 and a half minutes to less than 8 minutes.
EXTENDED VERSION - BY POPULAR DEMAND
However, when I put it on the site, and people started downloading it, they loved it so much that they practically BEGGED me to put out the extended version. That was very healing, especially after the initial negative criticism. So, I went back into the studio, did a few finishing touches and got the extended version to a level where I was happy with it.
PART OF A GREAT COMPILATION
My original idea for composing The Journey was to blend in with the styles of music we'd written for The Science of Peace, so that it could go in the music-only version. I felt that since the Science of Peace music was so light and airy, it was a good idea to bring in some melodic contour, using some darker, edgier-sounding material -- and I do think the balance works quite well.
We now have a deal where you can order both CD-sized downloads of music for 29.99. The first one is subtitled 'Cornucopia' and has all the material we composed for the project, as well as both versions of The Journey. The second one is subtitled 'Ambient' and is, in fact, Larry's earlier release entitled "Elixirs for the Human Heart."
The Elixirs material gave us all the ambient material we needed for the most psychedelic and meditative parts of the series -- and again, in The Journey I attempted to incorporate elements from ALL different sound textures we had in the series. I also wrote my own solos -- something I'd never done before due to how time-consuming and difficult it can be -- so that Larry wouldn't have to take the time to put his own solos on the piece.
One thing I DID get fairly consistent about in Santa Monica was practicing keyboards, so the solo was a lot easier to do than in earlier years, when my keyboard chops were fairly nonexistent. Nonetheless, it was still a supreme effort, but one that paid off quite handsomely. In its own way it is the best piece I've ever written totally on my own -- and matched the level of quality that Larry and I were able to hit when we worked together. That was no easy challenge!
MUSIC FREED THE EMOTIONS SO I COULD GET BACK TO WORK
Somehow, releasing all those emotions into a fine piece of music -- which I listened to over and over again as I was writing it, and even more once it was finished -- really allowed me to step away from all the toxicity of my past and get back into the Now. It is an adult piece, for sure... dealing with adult spiritual issues and the real difficulties we go through... but if you've already been doing "the work", it can be a valuable tool -- along with the rest of the music we did.
I'm glad that others are benefitting from the music as much as we did in writing it... the comments have been very positive. Things smoothed out enough that I was ready to start cranking out articles on a consistent basis -- so the site changes almost every day, and you can keep coming back and finding new things.
I certainly don't HAVE to do this, and I have realized that giving myself weekends off on the blog entries makes it much less of a treadmill -- so on the weekends you can read through what you might have missed during the week -- but I am CHOOSING to do this. Things are changing very rapidly in the world now... many surprises are still ahead and if I keep waiting for the stories to resolve, many things will be missed along the way.
THE ARTICLES WERE STILL DAMAGED... TIME TO FINISH THE HEALING
It was a blessing in disguise that as we moved from the expensive Iweb account to a much less expensive contract with Ipower, all of the already-damaged website content became much, much worse. Strange character strings started to show up in the articles, and they also became oddly spaced so it looked like little newspaper columns -- and the spacing also wasn't even. In short, it was absolutely intolerable.
Since I'm working up to a return to the public eye on Coast, and more articles with Richard Hoagland, who is a popular guest on the show, I wanted to make sure that newbies coming to the site would be able to experience the cumulative wisdom that is here in the way it was intended -- smooth, easy and enjoyable to read.
So, yesterday and today I'm making sure everything is readable... and it is a great deal of work but once it's done it will ALWAYS be done, and will never have to be done again. The vast majority of it was already finished last night, before I expired around midnight. We are also very happy with how the new design template looks -- and that also took a lot of work to transition to, but your feedback has been very positive... so we thank you.
I really do see this as a reflection of my own internal healing. I've been making really great strides, and I actually HAVE gotten to a point where the emotional body is clear enough that it doesn't require constant attention.
ABOUT "DOING THE WORK"
If you're going to get through life without damaging addictive behaviors, you have to face the issues when they come up and not throw a smokescreen around them. It's not easy but ultimately it is a far saner and healthier path -- and one that vastly opens the door to your Higher Self. I am very glad that I put the time in to muck through the issues, face the "dark night of the soul" and come out yet again renewed and re-vivified, at a whole new level.
For years I was lazy, unmotivated and addicted... if not to drugs in the first 4 years, then to crippling codependency in the ensuing decade of sobriety. It is still something that has to be managed, as my tendency is to give all my power away to others... but my life has moved into a position where I know there is too much at stake to allow these shadow emotions to predominate. If I mess up this time, I've really blown it... so I'm not going to let that happen.
Well, I guess I'll get back to it... hope you enjoy the site. Check out the Articles and Books section, as all this material has just become readable again. Broken graphic links may still occur as we get it all sorted out, but the text is all looking great!
The Early First Draft of Part One of "The Reincarnation of Edgar Cayce?" is actually quite good, (even though there is a LOT more content I installed after this early plateau), and I am considering making that more prominently featured, since it's a great overview of the story behind my work.
If you've been waiting to order the Science of Peace until we get our shopping cart situation sorted out, we're still waiting on Authorize.net to send us the final package. It is extraordinarily frustrating... we were told two business days or less... but all will be forgiven once we're up and running.
In the meantime, the existing system works fine for PayPal transactions, and if you DID try to pay in the way it doesn't let you, all that happens is you get stuck in a loop and you never even get to the point where you could enter in your credit card numbers. There's nothing dangerous about it.
Nonetheless, perhaps because of superstitious fears, the orders have sharply dropped off, almost to a standstill, since I announced the problem -- even though nothing is wrong with the downloading or the processing of PayPal transactions. Yikes. We will let you know as soon as the new gateway is up and running, as we certainly don't want you to live in fear....
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