“My worrying, for instance, was a scene in which I looked at myself while I had the sensation of being boxed in. I call that worrying, It has happened to me a number of times after that first time.”
Carlos Castaneda

Tales of Power

David Graeber Reflects on Visiting the West Bank


“… the settlements. They were originally the project of a relatively isolated, if well-funded, collection of religious zealots. Now everything seems to be organized around them. The government pours in endless resources. Why? The answer seems to be that since at least the ‘90s, rightwing politicians in Israel have figured out that the settlements are a kind of political magic. The more money gets funneled into them, the more the Jewish electorate turns to the Right … Settlements are, in their own way, giant engines for the production of right-wing consciousness. It is very difficult for someone placed in hostile territory, given training in automatic weapons and warned to be constantly on one’s guard against a local population seething over the fact that your next-door neighbors have been killing their sheep and destroying their olive trees, not to gradually see ethno-nationalism as common sense. As a result, with every election, the old Left electorate further dissipates, and a host of religious, fascist, or semi-fascist parties win a larger and larger stake of the vote.

… What sort of Palestinians, then, are the occupation authorities trying to create? … The only answer that makes sense is that the Israel forces want the Palestinians to seethe; they want there to be resistance; but the also want to ensure that political resistance is completely ineffective. They want a population that is compliant on a day-to-day basis, but that periodically explodes,individually or collectively, in a unstrategic and uncoordinated fashion that can represented to the outside world as irrational demonic madness.

… And why would they wish to do this? Almost every Arab political analyst I talked to considered the answer self-evident. Israel’s economy has become largely dependent on the high-tech arms trade, and the supply of complex electronic “security” systems. Israel is today the world’s fourth largest arms exporter, after the US, Russia, and UK (it has recently pushed back France to #5) … This is actually quite a feat for such a tiny country. But as everyone also hastens to add: Israeli arms and security systems have an enormous advantage over their rivals, one Israeli firms never fail to emphasize in their promotional literature. They are extensively field-tested … Arab resistance has become a key economic resource for Israeli capital, and were it to completely quiet down, the export economy would take an immediate hit.”

source by David Graeber

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Glass Floor


The report, from the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission, found that children from wealthier families but with less academic ability are 35% more likely to become high earners than more talented children from poor families.”


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David Graeber on where we are and moving forward


Wonderfully rich, diverse yet integrated and cohesive talk with David Graeber (author of Debt the First 5000 Years), much of which is in response to questions from the audience with precious small nuggets of practical advice on how to stay true to a new story while still immersed in an old story:

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Yoga On the Mat Practice: Summer 2015


It’s been over a year since I wrote about my practice. It has been a period of regular practice but not of regular writing (which I guess reflects on my state of being too).

I made a conscious choice to travel less (than I did in the previous period). That made for less interruptions in the continuity of my practice. There have been short disruptions in practice like when Annelieke arrives for a visit (though that has become less disruptive as we settle into a known rhythm of being together) or when I went away to give a yoga weekend workshop.

During periods of disruption I don’t usually practice. In the past I sometimes tried to but I came to realize that I was pushing myself into a mode of struggling and overcoming myself and that neither works nor is something I want to nourish in myself. They effect of me in a subtle but noticeable way. While the practice itself has been robust, my life feels more fragile. I need to be stable and settled to get on the mat. Disruptions resonate strongly inside me.

My practice was severely disrupted when my spring allergy kicked in at the beginning of June. I was able to resume an irregular practice in July and am just now starting to settle back in to a continuous daily rhythm.

In February I visited Israel for a 4 day home retreat with Paul. I had a one-on-one session with Paul during which he offered me a vinyasa of Pranayama practices (see below or details).

Asana Practice

I have been living with the same asana practice (with slight modifications) for almost two years. I am sometimes surprised that it still engages me.


  • I feel strength and stability in practice.
  • My base breathing throughout most of the practice sequence is either and evolving towards and beyond.
  • The breathing it what engages me most. When my attention lapses my breath is the first thing to be affected. When my attention is stable my breathing is full, consistent and spacious. It is my main avenue of exploration and development in the more stimulating asana like utkatasana, adhomukha svanasana and the raised leg sequence.
  • I have settled into a bhavana of opening / expanding the chest. It is predominantly noticeable in the standing and lying twists. It is present in all the forward bends … both in preparing to go into the bend and in coming out. It is present in adhomukha svanasana and in dandasana.

I have experimented with and introduced a few modifications:

  • The trikonasana sequence has been elaborated. Initially by my teacher who suggested I do 2x regular + 2x twisted + 2x regular. I have also added a stay of 1 breath on each side of the last couple of (regular) movements.
  • When I felt steady and established in utkatasana I experimented with a krama going down stopping for a short pause (with BK) in ardha utkatasana. Though it felt like a good modification it was demanding and I was only able to contain it during stable and continuous and undisturbed periods of at least 2 or 3 weeks of practice. Because of disruptions I decided to set it aside. Instead I have returned to a tried-and-true focus of refining and extending the exhale which, with stable attention, can go to 10 or even 12 seconds (without collapsing at the end of the 6x repeat).
  • I have introduced a breathing ratio in adhomukha svanasana of 2× + 2× This has been a remarkable evolution. When I started this sequence I was struggling with The evolution of this asana has been all breath. Whenever I tried to focus on physicality I felt effort and tension building up. Whenever I focus on breath I find it leads to physical development (including spaciousness in torso allowing for elaborate directional breathing, hips loosening and lowering of ankles).
  • In urdhva prasrta padasna I raise my legs to 90deg and then with each movement gradually increase the angle to which I lower my legs: ~80, 45, 10 and back down.
  • In jathara parivrtti there are two modifications. I have gone back to the S1/2/3 variation and I have settled into a breathing vinyasa resulting in: S1/_, S2/_, S3/_
  • I explored for a few days with introducing a mild back-bend sequence. My physical body welcomed it. However it did seem to have a slight but noticeable agitating effect (at the time) which effected my pranayama and my sleep. I’m looking forward to reintroducing this … maybe later this summer when I re-settle into stability.
  • I have changed the dandasana sequence from repeat 4 times to repeat 2 times with stay 1 breath. This brings into focus for me opening of the chest, sustained extension of the spine and spaciousness in my shoulder and shoulder-blades.
  • In janusirsasana I have been gradually able to open up my hip joint more and more. Coming out of the allergy I have been gradually resolving a tension in my lower back and hips (which I believe is also related to the knee-pains I experienced while coming out of the allergy).

There has also been a subtle shift in my relationship with savasana. It is no longer a trap I prefer to avoid, fearing it my capture me and send me into heaviness. It serves me well. Many times a short stay is all that is needed. Sometimes I will stay longer. On rare ocassions, usually in or near illness, it may become the end of a practice session (meaning that I do not complete the practice) but that is not because of a feeling a heaviness but because of a good stay in savasana itself.


My teacher gave me the following practice sequence:

  1. x8br anuloma ujjayi x12br pratiloma ujjayi x8br anuloma ujjayi x4br ujjayi
  2. x8br pratiloma ujjayi x12br pratiloma ujjayi x8br pratiloma ujjayi x4br ujjayi
  3. x8br anuloma ujjayi x12br pratiloma ujjayi x8br anuloma ujjayi x4br ujjayi
  4. x4br pratiloma ujjayi x4br pratiloma ujjayi x12br pratiloma ujjayi x4br pratiloma ujjayi x4br ujjayi

I stayed with the first sequence for almost 2 months – until ~mid-April. It took time for a stability and quality to manifest in the practice. Then things seemed to move fast. I moved into the 2nd sequence in mid April and then into the 3rd in Mid May. I was thinking of moving into the 4th sequence but then allergy crashed into my practice.

To my surprise (given how compromised my breathing was during the allergy period) to find that I could resume the 3rd sequence which is where I am. I have still not come back to a finesse I experienced before the allergy crash. I am still experiencing some blockage in my nasal passages and some irritation in my chest which are effecting my overall practice and especially the quality of my pranayama practice.

Also, I don’t know for how long this has been going on (it could be from when I recent got back to practice, but I really can’t say): I misread the practice sequence and I have been doing all pratiloma ujjayi instead of combined anuloma ujjayi (in the 3rd sequence that I am currently practicing).

On the Mat and Off the Mat

During the last couple of months I’ve been keeping busy by taking in a bulding project (building a wooden deck with a roof over it to create an outside space for me to be in and a summer kitchen). It filled my days.

Just this year I realized that the recurring allergy comes at exactly the time when gardening peaks and is having an accumulative effect. The allergy not only prevents me from being there at the right time. It also prevents me from going there because by the time I do weeds have taken over. Over the years this has inhibited me from forming a nourishing relationship with gardening. It has also created an avoidance since I do not enjoy “battling” weeds and I am interested in transforming the story of weeds from something I need to battle to something that nourishes and support me. So once, again the garden is mostly out of control … though there is some nice yield from plants that managed to get along without my intervention.

Many days my on-the-mat practice feels like the only substantial thing I do. Many days I feel that I live a purposeless life. I am also practicing living a life of rest and spaciousness. However there is also a part of me that is still looking to engage. If I let that part of me expand I end up hurting emotionally … and I don’t want to shut-off that part of me. Living with feels like a precarious balancing act. When I lose balance, my on-the-mat practice suffers and a negative feedback loop begins. Getting that balance is key to me arriving well at the mat and staying in an neutral loop and an overall feeling of equanimity and balance (=not falling into emotional pain).

In a way, the question of “why practice? what for?” is lurking in the background looking to make an appearance. I don’t feel it is a constructive question that has real substance to it. But I can’t really avoid it … it seems I can only try not falling into it.

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Greece: Firesale Phase


… and so it begins … and though it may seem like I don’t think this the end game … it is the beginning of the end game … a systemically destructive chess game:

“But the German finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, dismissed that view, supported by a number of northern and eastern European states. “These proposals cannot build the basis for a completely new, three-year [bailout] programme, as requested by Greece,” said a German finance ministry paper. It called for Greece to be expelled from the eurozone for a minimum of five years and demanded that the Greek government transfer €50bn of state assets to an outside agency for sell-off.”


For me the greatest irony is that everyone is probably right … the Greek measures are not enough … and any bailout money is going to disappear together with the previous bailouts … there aren’t measures that are enough.

The computer I am typing this on (and the desk it is sitting on) I got second hand from a company in Cluj that closed its doors. They liquidated what they could. This is what the Eurogroup is trying to do with Greece … but Greece isn’t a company, its a country … and whats left behind isn’t an empty space but an empty people.

… and what does “demanded” mean?

Posted in AltEco, Greece, Intake, Intellect Run Amok, Money, outside | Tagged | You are welcome to add your comment