Thursday, June 2, 2011


The Beatles were scheduled to play at the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Florida, in September, 1964. Florida was still segregated at that time. The Beatles refused to play anywhere that was segregated so the venue was desegregated for the concert. But the arrival of Hurricane Dora cancelled the concert and sent the Beatles to Key West to wait out the storm.  
Lately people have been luring me into conversations about religion -- as in why their faith is the true faith and someone else's is not. Frankly, the subject leaves me queasy. Personal beliefs about good and evil and the meaning of life are very deeply personal after all. So I say “my mother always told me a lady does not discuss religion or politics.” I’m reluctant to discuss the dynamics of my own religion, a faith based on the power of creative recycling that we practitioners call Recyclism. I have no desire to recruit; no Recyclist does. Recyclism is something one finds on their own. It’s a private thing. Lately, it seems, people are more hungry than ever to lay their religious cards on the table, to announce their goodness, renounce evil, and to praise God. This patting of one’s own morally superior back is amusing. As a follower of Recyclism, I respect the soul’s yearning for a spiritual foothold. It is only through seeking, after all, that we ultimately find our way. But please, let me eat my lunch in peace.
    A fundamental belief of Recyclism is reincarnation, but our understanding of the way to rebirth is what separates our creed from others. We believe that spirits are energies that cannot be created or destroyed. The spirit, on its infinite journey through space and time, takes a variety of forms, enabling it to visit a number of planets and universes. For the visit to Planet Earth, for example, our space suits are human bodies. On this planet, as on all others we visit, our space suits are destined to become obsolete, no matter how sincere our wish for it to be otherwise. We die. Our time is very limited!  The human body is particularly frail and subject to a vast number of maladies. Being born is like sailing out to sea on a ship destined to sink. On this planet scientists and technologists work madly at outsmarting nature, their goal being what? Eternal life in these flimsy space suits? We Recyclists shudder at the thought. 
    Recyclism believes it is counter-productive to live in the same house for too long, or work the same job for too long, or even follow the same TV viewing schedule for too long. We encourage change, movement, variety and exposure to the greatest number of experiences and adventures. We believe there is nothing new under the sun, only new arrangements of what already exists, and new ways of viewing the same wisdom and truths. Our hope is that salvation will come from accepting life on life’s terms, and from acknowledging that everything in this universe, and every other we suspect, is temporary. Here today. Gone tomorrow. Our ultimate goal is to be free of the space suit, on an eternal space walk as it were, cruising with God, or the Gods who have already learned to Let Go. But that takes a long, long time—believe it or not, thousands of lifetimes!
The Beatles stayed at the Key Wester motel. Water from the motel
pool was gathered into tiny bottles and sold for $2 as "genuine
Beatle water." A boy from Key West High School broke into their room
and stole a Beatles jacket and pants. He was quickly busted when he
wore his Beatle clothes to school the following day.
    Perhaps Recyclist George Harrison expresses it best in his song, "My Sweet Lord," when he says: “I really want to see you. I really want to be with you. I really want to know you, Lord, but it takes so long my Lord.”  The song “Imagine” by John Lennon is, of course, our favorite anthem to enlightenment. Yes, all the Beatles are Recyclists, a little known fact.
   We believe it takes thousands and thousands of lifetimes, doing the same things again and again, to finally recognize ourselves for exactly what we truly are: Recycled versions of each other, different, but the same.  A feature of Recyclism is our belief that intellect, talent and genius is recycled from one incarnation to the next, but not necessarily into the same package every time. When the spirit is free of the space suit, or body, it goes into a debriefing mode, where, for a while, it exists as pure spirit, no meat. No Recyclist knows how long this period lasts. No one has come back to say. Naturally this is our goal, to walk with the Gods. But before that can happen, we believe the disembodied spirit is dumped into a sort of spirit hopper, a cosmic blender if you will, the “frappe” button pushed by the finger of God. (Yes, we believe in God. We don’t not believe in anything. Who are we to judge?)  And then, those spirits, the saints and sinners, the good and the evil, the dark ones and the light, are disassembled and reassembled into new material, newly arranged souls, to be fitted with new space suits and sent to whatever place they will go to learn their next lessons. That is . . . the same lessons. This process goes on every day, has gone on and will go on. And so we meet the array of personalities who travel with us and beside us through whatever strange realm in which we find ourselves. All of us different. All of us the same. You know how it goes: you meet someone new and after ten minutes you feel as if you've known them forever. You have! You know all of us. Everybody knows everyone.
Today you can sip a cocktail and eat a snack where the Beatles once slept at the Abbey Road Snack Shack at Hyatt Windward Pointe Resort, which was once the Key Wester.  The massive rehab of the property changed everything but this historical building.
    As for our moral values, they are the same as every great religion: do unto others as you would have done onto you. Love thy neighbor as you love thyself. The Ten Commandments make good sense to us, as do the twelve steps and traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous. To Recyclists, the message is the same: Be Nice. Maybe you’ve seen our bumper stickers.
    We don’t discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or color or age, mere features of the space suit and ultimately of no consequence. We oppose and fear discrimination and cruelty, but not much else. We like music and dancing, and all the arts. We’re into expressing ourselves.
    Our Higher Power is the same as yours. We believe in everything -- astrology, palmistry, tarot cards, extra sensory perception and deja vous.  Who are we to deny the truth of any of these things? We believe in seeking the high road, the higher calling, and the day when all our spirits will live as one.
    Like I said, we don’t do heavy recruiting But if you’re interested, I’ll tell you where you’re most likely to bump into Recyclists. We’re usually the ones laughing, or smiling, or involved in something fun. We love fun. We shop in thrift shops and prefer maintaining long friendships to darting about in search of newer, flashier ones. We prefer the mountains or the sea to the cities. We believe in giving peace a chance. We work at not taking this life, or any other life, too seriously -- why should we? We’ll all be leaving soon. That’s what Recyclism says. Imagine . . .

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