WELCOME TO THE ONE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF THE MOST AMAZING PROJECT OF MY LIFE: AWAKENING CLARITY. We’ll get back to the regular Guest Teaching Series next week, but I simply had to acknowledge this birthday, and also to take that opportunity to thank a whole bunch of people. It takes a village to raise a Fred, and it took a village to shape a happening like this website has become, and you are the ones who have done it. A little history is in order.
AT 9:00 PM ON THE EVENING OF JULY 30, 2011, I sat down at my office desk to do some work for my online book company. I had exactly as much intention of starting a blog on that night as I do of barking at the moon on this one. Something happened; I couldn’t tell you what it was if my life depended on it. I frankly don’t remember much at all about the process. Somehow the birthing process started, and once I was into it, I could seek something big was happening, and so my chief job was to stay out of the way. It sounds oddish, but it’s fair to say that I watched Awakening Clarity take shape that night; it certainly wasn’t just Fredness that bore it.
I STOOD UP from my desk seven hours later, having just published the first post of this website, aptly named “Welcome to Awakening Clarity,” which is available to you on the side column under the self-inflating section title of “Other Notable Posts”. Just to make sure everyone knew I was aware that I was being self-inflating, that title falls right below the picture of the peacock!
THE NEXT DAY Betsy, who has a fine eye for design, helped me pick better fonts, and she laid out the color scheme. Those two features, along with the Buddha statue, remain the same as they did that first day, although almost everything else has changed–most of it more than once! I had no idea what I was doing, and often still don’t. I had always been a decent writer, but much to my surprise I discovered that I was a fair hand at picking and properly posting great photos. Just about every complimentary email I get includes the word “beautiful” to describe Awakening Clarity. It’s always very gratifying to hear that. Sometimes the messenger is the message, and for me, and many who’ve told me about having the same experience, simply clicking on the site generates a sense of ease and presence.
THAT FIRST POST was welcoming myself to Awakening Clarity as much as it was all of you. It was 4:00 a.m. on the morning of July 31. I had no idea in the world what I had just started. I wonder if I do even yet. Who knows? Betsy and I were talking the other night and she referred to it as “a little meteor”. I think that’s apt. We’ve shot from a readership of zero, to a readership of thousands spread out over ninety-six countries. With the help of some generous friends, we’ve added a number of interesting and helpful pages, and the Web is a prettier place to boot.
STARTING A BLOG is the compulsion to end all compulsions. You don’t know what you don’t know, and I didn’t know a lot. It takes endless hours to get even vaguely comfortable using just the basics. Istill don’t know a lot, and we’re still using just the basics! For seven or eight months I regularly worked half the night and struggled up the next morning to start all over again. Somehow I still managed to earn something resembling a living. Fortunately my business model had recently morphed, and it now required relatively little time from me in order to get by. Of course it does help a great deal to be married to a wife with a good job and benefits. Funny how all that works. You’d almost think there was just one thing going on and that it was bent on helping itself!
IT HASN’T BEEN all sweetness and light. The monstrous hours at the computer have taken their toll. I picked up a case of crippling back pain, and very touchy butt pain right from go, and something like acute tennis elbow early this past spring. My chronic sciatica came back to life. Once again it was Betsy to the rescue. To help with my back pain she ordered a wonderful Knoll desk chair. She found one that had a blemish, so we got it for half price, but it still cost hundreds of dollars, a thing we can ill afford, but can’t afford not to afford. I wouldn’t have bought such a chair in a million years, but Betsy uses one at work, and she knew the difference one could make for me. She was right: it worked! My pain all but disappeared within weeks–although I still have to use double seat cushions!
TO GET RID OF the tennis elbow, Betsy located and installed a low-slung keyboard pullout for my desk. You have to love a wife who owns two cordless electric drills! That brought my arm position down and back, and it’s been very effective at eliminating the repetitive stress problem. I still get cramps in my left forearm from time to time, but it’s nothing like it was before.
OVER THE PAST YEAR I’ve met teachers and seekers from around the world, and made friends with many of them through phone, Skype, and email. On a good day my inbox looks like it belongs to either the Harvard philosophy department, or a well connected ashram. I am a long way from being over the wonder of all that. Indeed, I hope I never get over the excitement, and the freshness, and I don’t think I will.
OUR GUEST TEACHING SERIES began with the 2012 New Year, and that series is what took us from being an interesting little blog with a modest following to a website that grew like a mushroom, and whose profile is still rising rapidly in our community. Every week more people are discovering the mix of the site’s valuable database, and its casual attitude of Nonduality with a friendly and personal touch. It clearly filled an unseen hole in Internet spirituality.
PLEASE BEAR WITH ME HERE while I thank many of the people who’ve helped with this venture.
CLEARLY, first on the list is my darling wife, Betsy Hackett-Davis, to whom this site is dedicated. Thank you, Betsy, for keeping me healthy and productive, and for being kind and supportive enough to allow me to live in the office for the last a year.
NEXT, I cannot fail to offer gratitude to Scott Kiloby, Greg Goode, and Rupert Spira, who have all been instrumental in bringing a brighter clarity to these pages by bringing a brighter clarity to the editor. Thank you for your patience, guidance, and example, my dear teachers. I love you one and all. Please think of this site as my open homage to the three of you.
BIG THANKS to Nathan Gill, Vicki Woodyard and James Waite, who along with Scott and Greg, are kind enough to allow me to use some of their material as standalone pages here–pages that contribute greatly to the site’s usefulness, and atmosphere. To Julian and Catherine Noyce, the wonderful folks at Nonduality Press, who have been so incredibly helpful in so many ways. To Jerry Katz, whose grace and generosity through Nondual Highlights continues to help so many people find us. Special thanks to Chris Hebard, of Stillness Speaks, whose personal aid and encouragement have helped beyond measure. Deep gratitude to Sailor Bob Adams for a very kind and loving letter this past winter. And thank you, Mo Jordan, for being such a willing Editorial Assistant!
I EXTEND TRUE GRATITUDE to everyone out there who’s been kind enough to post our link on their site. A lot of people continue to find us that way. Scott was the first to connect his sites to this one, followed quickly by Jason Sawicki, Petrica Verdes, and longtime friends James Braha and Peter Dziuban. Rupert was quick to add us, and then kind enough to give us great placement when he came out with his new website. He was also our very first guest teacher, so it’s fitting that he’ll again be our first guest as we start our second year. Funny how those things work out.
OTHER THAN the people I’ve already mentioned, we’ve since then we’ve gotten important links or other print support from Nirmala, Dennis Waite, Francis Lucille, Gina Lake, Suzanne Foxton,Richard Lang, Joan Tollifson, Isaac Shapiro, and Matt King of Non-Duality America. If I’ve missed any of you, please forgive me and let me know; it’s surely unintentional.
BLOGGERS WHO HAVE been especially generous are Peter Holleran (Mountainrunnerdoc.com), Menno Blazer (Now Thyself), Miriam Louisa Simons, (The Awakened Eye), the folks at Now Is New, and Echoes from Emptiness, as well as Nondual blogger-at-large, Rich Murray.
I’M DEEPLY GRATEFUL to all of our wonderful guest teachers, both those who have already appeared, and those who have agreed to appear. Thank you, my friends, for sharing your experience, insights, and love with us. (A Big-hearted howdy to Gangaji for the lovely note sent from one Southerner to another!) Special friends of Awakening Clarity that I want to send a warm hello to areChet and Betty Hackett, Vince Reese, Mike Wilson, Charlie Newson, Tammy Kelly, John Delgado,Larry Coble, and Kevin Durden.
LASTLY, let me thank you, the readers, for helping us grow. Thank you for your supportive emails, for telling your friends about us, and most especially for simply showing up week after week to be with us. I am honored to be in your company.
IT’S BEEN A HELL OF A YEAR, AND REMAINS A TOTALLY REMARKABLE RIDE. My book,Beyond Recovery: Nonduality and the Twelve Steps, will be released sometime this winter, and I expect that will change the game a bit for Awakening Clarity as well. I don’t have any idea what comes next, but I know it’s going to be interesting. I invite you to stay with us and share the fireworks.
In love and gratitude,
Columbia, SC, USA
July 27, 2012
Let me welcome Belarus, Iran, and Moldova as countries number 94, 95,and 96 to join our ever-expanding family. Seekers in those countries now join thousands of other readers around the world in quite literally awakening Clarity.
I signed up Isaac Shapiro this week. He’ll be our guest either in late October or early November, depending upon the timing of another commitment.
ADVAITA VISION has posted an article of mine. It’s a reworked post from Awakening Clarity to go along with some terrific promo material Dennis Waite was kind enough to put up for me. (Thank you, Dennis!) You can see the post here: Fred’s article on Advaita Vision.