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Life Arts    H2'ed 3/12/09

Feed your Head

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Life can be pretty tasty. Grace Slick said it all in a song nearly four decades ago, "Feed your head!" Of course, she was talking about a different diet then I am right now but it's close. You remember, don't you? Late sixties, just out of high school, I wore beads, you wore fringe. We told the barber to get a real job and followed Doc Acid's directions "Turn on, tune in, drop out!" We were all tripping and I don't mean by Greyhound.

When the Ice Queen sang about it, she was talking about drugs, any and all kinds and being obliging young rebels; we ingested this and smoked that. We fed our heads with everything that was available. We convinced ourselves that we were adventurous travelers, exploring the limits of our inner selves but hey man, we were mostly just getting high. We liked to think we were searching for the meaning of life but we ended up just spinning our wheels in psychedelia.

Even though we eventually found out that drugs could not provide the answers they did pose quite a few questions. It was those questions that were the real benefit of the drug culture of the late 60's and early 70's. They didn't provide enlightenment but they sure peaked our interest (pardon my pun) and increased our awareness. The music; that was in part fueled by the drugs, had a more crystallizing effect.

Psychedelic acid rock, both powerful and political, reached into our ears and shook us by the brainstems. It made us aware of things our parents had no time to think about, the human condition and the fragility of our planet. It also forced us to question the authority of our government. Civil rights violence, Vietnam, the world was in a state of flux and we had the audacity to think we could change it all.

The sixties became the seventies and somewhere around Altamont things began to spin out of control and when Disco hit, man the scene skipped a beat. The we generation became the me generation and the drug menu changed right along with it. It went from weekend psychedelic trips to party down pharmaceutical lifestyles. Quaalude ruled the day, uppers and downers and, good old cocaine, the 'all around towner'.

We got older (and wiser?) and as we climbed the ladder of success we were forced to confine our tripping to the weekends . We occasionally needed a 'pick me upper' or a 'slow me downer' but caffeine and alcohol came back out of the dugout to pinch hit. Making money was the new high and as always, we did it to excess.

Even today, we never have the time to realize that the high we've been chasing all this time has been chillin'. Just hanging out, waiting for us to slow down to catch up. Our senses are the real drug. We carry them around all the time but we're to busy to really use them.

Most of our adult lives we try to close the doors of our perceptions. We shut down from life. Worries cloud our perceptions; the bills, the kids, our careers. We become "comfortably numb". We begin to be afraid to experience life and that fear dulls the senses. We tend to catch the real experiences of Life as a blur in our peripheral vision.

There is no drug quite like the experience of life. If you want to expand your consciousness just open your senses wide because it is all around you. Life is the drug. Close your eyes and smell that newly mown lawn. What do you flash on? Riding your Schwinn on a warm spring morning or sweating over the lawn mower in the middle of a hot humid August day? It is all in the way you interpret it. It is all in where your head is at. The great thing is you have control. You can make it be, what you want it to be.

I'm saying you've got to feed your head everything, continuously. It is meant to absorb all of our experiences and I don't mean just the drug induced ones. That blood red sunset at the beach, that ice cold pale ale sliding over your tongue and down your parched throat, Garcia noodling in your ear on that Sunday drive in the country, the warm spray of the Gulf in your face as your Hobie cat is flying a hull. When any of these sensorial experiences hits that sweet spot in your gray matter, you're off and running. You're higher than a kid on Christmas. Your brain wants more and the good thing is that you can give it more. The more you perceive the more you receive.

Don't get me wrong, we still love our drugs. It's just that, with the help of our primary care physician, we have made them legal if not mind expanding. Now we're more concerned with reduction not expansion. We use our drugs today to lower our blood pressure, reduce our cholesterol and shrink our waistline or our prostates. But hey, don't be bummed out. If you are still seeking expansion, at least you have Viagra.
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David Spangenburg is a Freelance Wordsmith currently working in both the print world and cyberspace. His short fiction, essays, articles, blogs and OpEds can be found in various magazines, newspapers and on numerous websites. He is the master of his (more...)
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