may june 2019 issue

May / June 2019

June Creativity Issue

Michael Pollan, the darling of the natural foods movement, changed his mind and decided to successfully add “psychedelic guy” to his resume. Advancing an open conversation about the acceptance of psychedelics, he’s credited with having moved the yardsticks further and faster than anyone in recent history. I asked Pollan if he ever feared being compared to Timothy Leary. He said I was the first to make the comparison, acknowledging that he has the peoples’ ear like Leary did but other than that, no. In so many ways he urges caution—the opposite of “Turn on, tune in, drop out.”

The reason Pollan has been an effective advocate is because he comes
as an outsider with his objective journalist credentials. He researched
the terrain, then experimented (with the help of guides), had mostly
good experiences, and wrote about it in his bestselling book, How to
Change Your Mind
. People are interested and psychedelics are getting
past the bad rap they got during the war on drugs

While Pollan was born to a Jewish family, his actual interest in spirituality was zero—he chose instead to look at life through the lens of a scientific empiricist. One of the happy upsides of his psychedelic experiment was a temporary feeling of ego dissolution, and with that came a sense of more connection—with everything, notably nature. This strong taste of the mystic has prompted him to meditate more. He describes finding himself more patient and present when his father passed recently. He also finds himself trying to answer questions such as “What is consciousness?”

Carl Jung is another point of fascination in this issue. Jennifer Dumpert has written a piece about Jung and his way of accessing the creative realms of the liminal states. I too became curious after seeing Jung’s fantastic paintings from the mysterious Red Book. Jung’s paintings, and the book, have been hidden in Switzerland for decades, but recently I was lucky enough to experience this art firsthand at a rare exhibition at the University of California at Santa Barbara. There I was permitted to take photos of the art, which constitute our pictorial feature. I’ve come to the conclusion that Jung, who earned so many other distinctions, is also the Father of Psychedelic Art, however inadvertently As ever, please show your appreciation for Common Ground by patronizing its sponsors—the best. Here’s to 45 more!

I am very proud to include Meredith Heller’s essay “Why I Teach Poetry
Writing to Teen Girls.” And with her essay we’ve published poems by her
local students range in age from 10 to 17.

You’ll appreciate our West Coast Festival Roundup compiled by Meia Matsuda, as well as another interview in this issue that I conducted with
Danielle Madeira, VP of special events at Another Planet Entertainment.

Merlyn Travis brings a fresh look at the existing research on creativity
and cannabis, while Nina Fry and Helané Wahbeh from the Institute of
Noetic Sciences look at the actual science of measuring creativity. Sarah Bowen cleverly looks at Star Wars and The Force as the inspiration sparking creativity. Mirabai Starr provides us with “Alchemy of Art: The
Vital Connection Between Creativity and Feminine Mysticism.”

We look forward to seeing you out and about as the season’s festivals
unfold. As ever, please show your appreciation of Common Ground by
patronizing our sponsors—the best. And please consider becoming an
advertiser yourself. Supporting local independent media is a good thing.

May the spark be with you,


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