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June 2007

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Change Your Mind -
Change the World

Those who argue and discuss without understanding the truth are lost amid all the forms of relative knowledge, running about here and there and trying to justify their view of substance of ego.

Pure in it's own nature and free from the categories of finite and infinite, Universal Mind is the undefined wonder, which is wrongly apprehended by many.


Kathryn On The Bus
You grew up in the suburbs of New York City in the ‘60s, what was that like?


No, seriously, what was it like?

Even in the ‘60s, New Jersey was congested with people of every religion, race, nationality, occupation, income and political persuasion. The environment bred the type of in-your-face person that outsiders don’t understand and can rarely tolerate. The settlers who populated Jersey were nonconformists who sailed to Ellis Island, couldn’t afford to live in Connecticut or Manhattan and didn’t know where else to go. My ancestors were part of that crowd. Maybe that’s why they called us ‘sub’ urban.

How did growing up as a New Jersey “Hippie Chick” affect your life?

The railroad tracks that ran through the middle of my hometown originally delineated whether a house was on the right or wrong side.  But when I was four, in typical New Jersey fashion, they started building fancy brick colonials on the wrong side and split-level tract houses on the right side.  By the time I went to school everyone was confused as to which side was which and so we all pretty much grew up in a town with no class.

Are all Jersey girls from the ’60s SHEMANDOS?

That depends on whether you’re from North Jersey, the Jersey “shaw” or you’re part of the overflow from Philadelphia. Then there are the girls from the Pine Barrens – home of the Jersey Devil…not even a SHEMANDO would mess with them.  Most of us from the Jersey side of the Lincoln and Holland tunnel were at least part SHEMANDO--except for the ones we stuffed in lockers or trapped in the boys’ room – and they left the state a long time ago.

Was growing up with no class part of what made you a SHEMANDO?

I don't know whether this was the root cause, or if there was something in the drinking water-and for the record, we ooze class.

You seem to have done OK for yourself.  What about other SHEMANDOS of the ’60s?

Looking back, I don’t see them as ending up worse off than other women in America.  In fact, many of them did a whole lot better.  I wouldn’t change a thing about growing up a high-spirited Jersey Girl.

Was there a down side?

Other than the bad-trips, overdoses, suicides, abortions, car wrecks, drug busts and bouts of delirium? None that I can think of.

Let me rephrase:  Besides the obvious, was there a down side?

Of course there was a down side.  I think about the pain and denial our parents’ generation experienced and I break out in hives.

You obviously drew considerably from your own adolescent experience in developing the characters and story for Hippie Chick REUNION. Have any lawsuits been filed?

The characters, story and events are a work of fiction.  A memoir of my actual childhood would be something anyone who really went through couldn’t possibly remember.

When did you begin writing and what else have you written besides Hippie Chick REUNION?

I started writing bad poetry in 1963 and practiced continuously until I finished the first draft of “Reunion” in 2003. The book is the first in the trilogy and will be followed by “Heaven” and conclude with a story entitled, “Forever.”

How old are you in these photos?

All I’ll say is that the shots of me in the abandoned bus were taken when I was still trustworthy - under thirty.

You were a real babe as a brunette. Why the dye job?

I'm married to an otherwise perfect guy who has this thing about blondes. It's cheaper than Cialis and easier on the bones.

Is it true that all Jersey Girls can crack their chewing gum?

It’s an urban myth.  Like the beehive hairdo and airbrushed nails.  I tried the thing with the gum, but never could make that snapping sound. And I think the mantel has been passed to the girls from the Bronx.

In Hippie Chick REUNION, Kaye uses spiritual activities and ceremonies in an attempt to reconnect with Lydia, Suzanne, Garth, Deb and Abbey.  Is there a specific spiritual message that you’d like for people to take away from the book?

Yes, I imagine that people will connect with it in relation to their current stage of consciousness or point on their own spiritual path.

Can you share yours?

Nope, it’s my big ‘secret’!

Seriously, how did you get the idea for integrating spiritual elements into a novel in this way?

Combining my two passions - writing and consciousness studies was natural. I was less than thrilled with most of the "inside the box" fiction that was available for women because I felt it didn't offer alternative persepectives or challenge us to think outside of our comfort zone. So my intention was to create an entertaining story that could be appreciated on multiple levels and would challenge conventional thinking.

How So? Can you give an example?

Let's look at the 'acting out' that we associate with negative adolescent behavior. These stereotypes play over and over in today's media precisely because our conditioned minds condemn them. The what we resist persists theory of collective shadow rules the airwaves.

Conventional, drive by, sound bite "wisdom" is always horrifed by this behavior; but the wisdom traditions such as Buddhism might suggest that this behavior is a natural expression of a society that has successfully supressed the ability of its people to experience higher states of consciousness.

Hollywood's young women are our 'Hippie Chicks' of today. The more the TV talking heads condemn their behavior and the more appalled we are by it, the more these booze-guzzling, coke snorting starlets do to assure that we are suitably entertained. When I look at a girl like Lindsay Lohan, or young women such as Paris Hilton or Brittany Spears, I see very important indicators of not only what we value most but what we are fearful of being – free, wild and emotionally (not to mention financially!) untouchable. The hippie movement was like that too – and without a means or ability for a great number of people to become reacquainted, deeply connected with our authentic selves, we will continue to manifest these icons one after another in our culture. They will keep popping up before our eyes until we ‘get it’ and then a cartoon icon of our new shadow selves will pop up for us to condemn and entertain ourselves with. And there seems to always be more work to do and nothing to do as there has always been.  I think someone is supposed to insert a guitar lick here…

What else do you want people to take away?

The theme of the REUNION is TRUTH. The book itself is a back-story or foundation for the next two books in the Triology. I 'crammed' in quite a few messages - some of them what people them as "spiritual'.

But the social message is actually more relevant because it is in that context – on that stage – that our inner development manifests and makes a difference in the world. Many people are discovering transformational techniques and technologies that were largely ignored or judged negatively by mainstream leadership and institutions in the past. Meditation, yoga, powers of intention, brain re-patterning and psychic phenomenon are going mainstream at a time when we are experiencing significant pain and suffering in the world. How people choose to apply these technologies, the intentions they create and choices they make, are a theme of “Reunion” and future books in the Hippie Chick series.

Kathryn on the bus

How do Kaye and the SHEMANDOS illustrate this evolution?

The interplay between the six women serves as an entertaining and exaggerated reminder that today’s polarized political, religious and social values are as confused as they were in the sixties. That regardless of our well-honed beliefs and opinions, many of us are operating from a fear-based, isolationist and tribal mindset. Judging, grabbing for our share of the bounty, oppressing others or putting up with unhealthy situations, fearful to go for our dreams – these are a few of the themes.

The characters show us the difficulty we have in expressing opinions that differ from the prejudices of their social environment.  The vehicles used in the story help us to see how we are rarely capable of forming such opinions on a conscious level.  To fit in, people feel compelled to buy in to a prevailing, generally accepted, ‘story’ that feels right and adapt it as a ‘personal truth’.

Like Kaye and her friends, millions of Boomer women are entering into their second adulthoods. With an opportunity to leave the world better than they found it, a generation characterized by ‘peace, love and music’ has one more chance.

Joel & Kathryn
Whew!  That said, just sit back and enjoy the story?

It sounds over the top, but each of us perceives a fraction of what our brains are capable of creating, so it’s not far fetched at all. Until now, most people held fairly rigid ideas about what was possible for themselves and others in a folder labeled ‘the way things are’. That is about to change dramatically over the next few years as millions of people wake up to the knowledge of experiencing more of who they really are. Should be fun.

Sounds like it...speaking of a little too much fun, many people will say that the SHEMANDO's out of control behavior sets a bad moral example for today's teenagers and that children shouldn't read Hippie Chick REUNION. What is your reaction to that?

They are absolutely right and dead wrong! Sure, the SHEMANDOS were a great example of a bad example but it was real, it happened and it is happening to an even greater extent today.  Telling kids not to smoke, drink, have sex or play misogynist rap music are simple ways for people to place value judgments on ‘bad’ behaviors. One can be moral and ethical and do all of those things. The level of awareness, conscience and intention that one brings to any activity is a more accurate test of moral integrity. One would not tell a child “don’t be a CEO, don’t be a priest.” even though we know that people in these fields are often unethical and immoral in their behaviors.

It’s a parents call, but given today’s statistics showing that teenagers are drinking and abusing prescription drugs more than ever, I believe that the book could be a great communications vehicle. Provided mom reads it first and uses the Glossary and Discussion Guide, it could serve as a springboard for healthy, honest communication. I would have loved for my mom to have shared something like this with me when I was a teenager.

Do you think that Hippie Chick REUNION glorifies bad language and addictive, out of control behavior?

Perhaps a bit - but what it doesn’t do is more important.  It’s not a histrionic post-recovery lecture on values or a sugar-coated retrospective on the ‘me’ generation. It isn’t interested in rave reviews from the media or gaining favor with the academics, professionals or pundits.  It’s basically about what’s true for a significant number of American adolescent girls. The characters ran wild, got high and acted out because it was more pleasurable than the version of reality that their brains perceived.

Kaye and her friends were attracted to the drug experience, had indiscriminate sex and cursed like truckers. They also cared about each other, learned some hard lessons and gratefully, survived.  We don’t need to experience the toilet hugging, bed spins, bad trips and car wrecks to know that they were probably part of the story. And for them to be saying ‘ah fudge’ or call each other ‘dumb kitties’ would be pretty absurd.

What are you working on now?

Good question. Hippie Chick Heaven is the second book in the trilogy. The SHEMANDOS will reunite for an "afterlife adventure" that will amuse and inspire authentic and wannabe Hippie Chicks of all ages. After that, the SHEMANDOS will be eternally united a third and final time in Hippie Chick Forever.

I'm also working with Outreach Partners Network, a group of highly committed business leaders, entrepreneurs and professionals, providing value-based operating models, programs and tools to qualified organizations and individuals on a not-for-profit-basis.

Kathryn On The Bus

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