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Archive for February, 2010

I feel that i have reached a corner of the garden of Eden, or one of its semblances here on earth. I took my camera out again yesterday, in new location, though the internet is very slow and i will not be able to upload anything for some time.
I am in Lanquin in the centre of Guatemala, a beautiful place, the most beautiful i have been to for some time. and yesterday i went to Semuc-Champey a place that i have been hearing about on my travels and it is a beautiful as the people say though the sky was grey all day.
Words do not do justice to this place – green, green, green, a river here at the hostel in lanquin, mountains of trees, and some bare with the greenest grass and cows grazing. More tropical – bananas, corn and lush trees. The sound of birds, and yes mosquitoes. You feel embraced by the mountains, gentle and giving, rich with life, saying yes to live, nuturing.
Ride in the back of the truck to Semuc Champey – 9km down narrow good dirt road, i smile constantly even passing though the town. Every curve has amazing vista and it feels good to stand and feel the moist fragrant air on the face. pass through town and the along road a few simple homes, with thatched roofs, and dirt yards amongst trees, bananas, coco, fruit and of course corn.

I did not do the tour – I walked alone, yes alone on the trails and it felt wonderful – commune with nature – quite in the morning, a few others were in the park, but i sat by the river and the rapids below the pools and small waterfalls by myself just communing with nature, then up by the aqua pools with little fishes, amongst the ferns, the mountains shapely, a group came through, and another, crossing over the shallows, rock formations and more rapids above. I did not swim but the water kissed my feet.
I Hike up to the mirador. Up and up, on good trail few people, little caves, rock formations, two monkeys playing in the tree, The view down below actually looked like the one in the brochures, it is quite here and the rocks speak to me.
I walk back to the pools – more here not, and out by the river and to the parking lot to wait for my truck back to the hostel. Kids sell homemade chocolate, and a guy sells fruit – o eat mango. I walk back to the bridge, past maya working in corn fields, a guy with a machete, and walk out onto the bridge, look up river, a few dive off a large boulder, and the one below has a face.
The drive back as magical as the drive there – duck for a few branches as we pass another truck on the roads.
Today i went to town – lanquin – small but with market today – trucks and tuktuks (and the few SUVs and collectivos (make their way around the people – i one of a handful of gringos – mainly maya – and the dogs and the occasional chicken and as i walk out of town the pig( An old church – packed to the brim mainly woman and the service in the native language (though most also speak spanish(. the town condensed – a few tiendas, the trucks, churches, school, other stores, internet cafes, ans a few restos – the sky is still grey but it is so green, a new vista in every direction, hills and valleys, small farms and trees. Lush, lush, lush.

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I had a long bus trip the other day – from Antiqua to Lanquin – over 8 hours – on a shuttle that ran from place to place and it was wonderful and i remembered why i like riding buses. For me it is a meditative practice. You sit in your seat – and i always try to get a window seat – and let the landscape pass by – letting it pass through – simply observing – as you ideally do with thoughts in a sitting meditation. You have nothing else to do for the time you are there, yes, you may be able to chat with others or read a book or something, but it is nicest to pass through, engaged in the journey and not merely the destinations.

 And on a bus ride, especially on twisting mountain roads, you cannot cling to what is there, for it is constantly changing, you turn a corner, and what you passed through is no longer visible, and on a journey you have not taken before, you do not know what lay ahead, what is on the road between you and your destination. And often there are delays, especially on the roads in Guatemala, and there are crazy drivers, and the trip always involves some element of risk, but you have faith that you will arrive. And you look and pass through, still – at times you drift away, into memories, stories, plans, worries, sleep, but then you look outside and see what is there. And here in Central America the landscape changes quickly.
The shuttle drove around Antiqua for over half an hour from hostel to agency to budget hotel, picking up people, going around in circles, circles i had walked many times and you wondered if you were ever going to leave. A feeling i have had before. You get on the road to Guate, the road you passed through on the first day in this country, so green then, still green, but seeming more built up – car shops, restos, buildings, people. It takes over an hour to cross the city, wide boulevards chock full of traffic, trucks – a few with armed guards visible, buses, cabs, cars, people walk along, it is busy and confusing, a pick up at an exclusive hotel in zona 10, armed guards and security, all alert with machine guns on the streets here, protecting the rich, then back out the other side of the city, traffic lessens, you think of the danger for a minute, you watch as the shuttle chugs up a hill. The land is drier, you head out along the road for the Caribbean, longer to the turn off than you thought, construction – people selling drinks and food where the blocks are. Enterprise central american style. Not flat yet, thankfully you turn north again before the flat lands, you see the litter on the side of the road, at times noticing it more than others.

The land is barer, lower, much cleared and logger. The earth seems like lifeless dirt. Scrub, corn, then for a while almost desert with cacti, You climb again after a break, a chance to pee and eat, traffic less on way up to Coban, you see the signs for biosphere de quetzal, the land is still dry, as you climb, the pine trees return and the road twists, life is coming back. you watch it all pass through, at times passing into judgement, i like, i don’t like, and then return to stillness. It twists more now, vistas, you look and admire,

You pass through coban, on the outside of town where malls and chains exist and then through narrow streets of centre, trying to look more, will you stop back there, another central american town narrow sidewalks full of people, mayan dress different here, the blouses of another type, vendors and the like, you do not go past the central square. You pull out, back to the green, lusher here – the sky has been blue all day. Relieved to be back out on open twisty road, stop for break and then adventure begins, road narrows to languin and semuc champey- all is lush, so lush, you feel like you have reached heaven, you smile at each turn in the road, mountains softer, kinder, greener, you stare out, smiling, looking, narrow road as you branch off again, calm – a day spent on the bus – others say wasted in travel but for you it is a journey. You arrive, happy to stretch your legs, and eat. Mind calm –  you  are not where you  began, yet you are in the same  seat,  you have  journeyed in the present, and a  slice  of the  world had passed through you.

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i escaped the clutches of the lake, or that is the way it feels. Felt it dragging me to its depths at times, to that which lay below and within. At times it shown brightly at me, like the day i watched the sun or something sparkle upon it, in lines and geometric designs and across the shore, lighting up strands of light in the morning sun. I would visit it several times a day and it would reveal its mood to me, at times still and calm in the morning, other times dark and choppy, in the afternoon. Still there was something powerful there, something that left me ill at ease, and unsettled energy, and something revealing its depths. A wierd swirl? A container? A vortex? or just me?

It was an old volcano, and i saw one at the bottom, something down there something waiting, coming up, something more. She, the woman who runs las pirimides meditation centre, had asked us to visit the pyramid at the bottom of the lake, one that exists in another dimension. While i never visited it, in any type of travel, i believe and felt there was something profound there. But as i said in my previous blogs, something about the energy of the place felt out of kilter, and brought up alot in me. Or was it the town of San Marcos, or the centre of Las Pirimides, or my room or me or as i believe a combination of both. And the lake, surrounded by mountains and several volcanos in the mountains itself acted as a container, for the energies above and below and within.

The lake has become polluted, still used for swimming and irrigation and water and more, and the algae bloom that threatened it had died down but it is not clean, the water no longer pure. and it is not just the physical effluent that comes into it front the towns and villages that surround, but also the psychic effluent that comes in, from the history of the place, and from those who come to clear their energy, or party and live hedonistic lives, dumping it into the lake, and it has become magnified. Depending on the day, you can feel both. But there is also something more.

My world shattered as i stayed at the centre one where i feel that the energy has been removed from and the critic in me came out. The place seemed off kilter too, and it ws not just i who was – the garden seemed to lack life, the plants did not seem vibrant through in the main area the foliage was bright. And i felt caged of sorts, the lush plants blocked out the sky – both the sun and the stars – a mini-world from which you did not look out. The energy of the retreat, exploring through yoga, metaphysics and meditation, encouraging one to crawl inside while reaching for the light, and crawl inside i did – at times to my room, a larger dark room, with a single low watt lightbulb, stone floor, wood walls, and windows that faced an outside wall, i would crawl into that world, hiding beneath the covers in my cocoon, creating another container.

At times i would sit on my bed, watching the flame of the candle, making designs, beems of light in star formation, sending the light to me, or angels in the flames or pairs dancing, or a pane of ochre yellow with primitive designs and bubbles – it had its moods, like i and the place.

and i yearned to leave and i wanted to stay – the energy of the lake wierd, at times rough and choppy, dreams intense and my emotions bounce like the lancha on the water in the afternoon swells, other times solidity seemed to vanish as i entered another dimension, or the place did, in san marcos and in other communities – the ground less solid, i sway, all sways, time changes – slows and quickens, i cannot describe it all now. The day i went to san pedro and time stopped, and all became a blur, or the other day when i rode across to pana and the hills glowed in psychedelic brilliance, and i sat still, so still, mesmerized by the beauty and crispness of it all, apart looking on like in a film, a film set, but so much a part of it at the same time.

I went to the lake, down the narrow pathways, and sat to smoke (cigarettes only – despite how wierd this seems no drugs are involved in any of these perceptions) – by the dock in the morning as the sun rose and the sky turned pink or in the evening as darkness descended, and to my other spot, where i once watched light play, and sat in the sun at 9 am. Still, i never entered into the water, never the urge, though occasionally feeling that it was the thing to do.

And i sense the energies – not all clear, not all benign. The clash between the town above where the evangelicals would broadcast the gatherings on loudspeakers, many were annoyed, but i loved the alleluia and the praise to the senor dios, the womans unique voice calmed me even more than the aums (oms) we would sometimes chant. And the dogs in their own world, the barking at night, at nothing or something, the doggie spirits. and we practiced looking at another one day in meditation, staring at the third eye, and then seeing past lives of the other – i was sceptical, but then faces began to flash in front of my eyes, quickly, variations, some not quite human (and this happened to us all) – but taking off my glasses to see energy (as i often do out in nature) i began to see other faces or faces of others transformed, and it was not always wonderful, at times i wonder if i saw the other side, other variations of people or what we came from. Yes, talk of atlantis and angels, and i could see beyond out dimension more than at any time in the past. And where were we going, and was this in the name of god or not?

But for most of my time there i could not see the energies of plants or the mountains, except for the few brilliant flashes, and that bothered me, for i often can when i sit calm, look with my real eyes, and not the lenses that cover them to enable me to see form crisply. But my eyes were clouded much of the time there, as my ears were and at times my heart and soul. But i also had knowings and strange fears and emotions. Something awoke and something broke. Still it did not feel entirely safe, a safe place to explore that which i had been longing to for so long.

An i processed so much energy from within – my body rocking back and forth in meditation a swaying that i was doing – unconsciously – that seemed to take hold of me, and a twitch or loosening in the shoulders, and movements felt in the brain as pathways becoming restructured, and the blinking to clarity that i had only experienced in one other setting after sound healing and the movement of energy within and without. And occasionally a stiffening. My last days i felt sick and i knew it was not just some bad food but all that moved within me.

The day i left i descended to tears – ¨i dont want to go, i dont want to¨ i cried to myself, my bowels gave out so i did not go for a long walk to san pedro with others, i felt heavy and deadened barely able to muster a word, drained in tears, feeling alone, caught in some wierd vortex.

But once i left i felt a release. I did not know where i was going -to pana i thought, but as we crossed the water, i could not go back to noise, so got off in santa cruz where i had stayed before. I felt brighter and lighter. In santa cruz i saw the birds fly around a corn plot, and butterflies in the trees, and more birds singing and the plants and hillsides seemed so much more vibrant and alive and so did i. I was back in a different zone, saw the small gallery and in it some paintings that reflected the energy of nature, and at night i slept in the open dorm, feeling the air upon my face, the life pass through, and a cat crawl in with me,

I pulled myself away from the lake – back to antigua and saw some beauty i had not before.

Was i transformed, was it a wierd vortex, a container of energy? the energy of the place, or me, the interplay between it all.

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I have spent many years wandering the land looking for a perfect place, one that speaks to me, and makes me soar for more than just a little while, one where i can stay and linger for a while. Or have i been? Is my call to travel from place to place, experiencing the energies that are there, experiencing the variety of life.

There are places that speak to me, and places in between.

At times it is the baggage you carry, an overloaded backpack in the mind, that affects your experience of place. The times that it does not matter where you are, for you are not really there at all. You are shut off  living in that place in your mind, one that is very real and one that has nothing to do with geography. And there is an energy to that place too, one that can blind you to what is around. Although we rarely turn it off all together, there are times when the mind quietens and we can listen and feel to what is around, interacting with the flow of  life. There are places we go that help us do so, while others feed the clutter of the mind.

And while your mind and consciousness affects not only how you interpret the energies of a place, they effect the very definition of a place – what your five senses pick up, and what the senses beyond can reach.  You may carry memories of a place, or expectations of what will be there, and they not only effect you but the place itself.

Sometimes a place speaks to you – there is a joy you feel inside and a connection to something more. Other times you just have to leave. And you wonder why. It may be a temporary feeling an uplift followed by a decline, or it might come back almost every time you return there.

Some places have a moving energy, a city or a rush or water, while others have a calming effect and others just serve to drain.

You may go to other places that have similar elements of spirit – the oceanside, waterfalls, old growth trees, mountains, a big sky, a special place of worship, and while each of these elemenets speak to you, they speak differently and in combinations – what is the energy of the trees, of specific mountains, of a place on the mountain. Can make a list, but it is something that cannot be categorized by a check list of what material things are in place. Yes spiritual energies coalesce in a place, but there is more, the energies of the earth, the stars, the living beings and created things that intermingle in any given locale. 

And what is a place? Do we mean a town, a region, a park or church, or at times is it a rock, a bench, a corner of a room, that feels special and sacred, or that is defined as a place we pass through. Or something to stay away from.

And does my own, or a collective appreciation add to the vitality of a place.

And what of the history the memories that are stored in place. Be they recent human history, or stories from the past or those that we create and perpetuate.

I have been travelling now for three months and it longer since i started this entry, and at times my eyes have been opened and at times they have been blurred, like my ears, my heart and my soul. I still ask myself the same question, is it my call to travel and experience the energies. Can i experience the energies and let go of the chatter of my mind? How to open oneself up to the wonders of the world and to it all.

For me it is better in the morning, when my mind is clear, when i can sit in the park or by the water or somewhere and be at peace with all that is around smiling at life, but at others, my mind comes in and chatters, when i tired or hungry or just off. At others on the journey, the intensity and the rush of the energy that is around, throws me off and all is rushed, or i feel out of place out of me. And travel can force us into the moment and it can put us face to face with our darkest selves, it can make us come alive and shut us down, it intensifies the process of life – both inside and without.

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Prana, chi, the universal life force is in the air that we breathe and surrounds us, is in us and runs through us. What of enclosed spaces, of places where the air is contained and does not flow? Some of these places can be powerful or even sacred – a special valley, a grove of trees, or the inside of a church or temple where worship of the divine has built up over time. But others contain not the divine but a stale energy force, one that needs to be swept out, and refreshed with new life carried in upon the wind. I think of “sick building syndrome” in the many sealed offices where i have worked, not only from chemicals leaching out from all, but from the breath of despair that is recycled constantly.

In some places energy seems to flow through more rapidly, while in others it is more contained and still. Sometimes it feels like the energy within grows, shines, intensified, and others it just seems to move along so slowly, at times like you are in a time warp or so.

I started this entry month ago outside of Buffalo, in Western New York in a place where time seems to move slowly, low rolling hills, houses along the many country roads set up in grids twisting and turning. I do not know if here it is the geography, but a sense of settledness, little new coming into the area, but that is for another entry.

I have been spending more time indoors, in a quiet house, where little seems to flow through, riding more in cars than in busses.

Containers – the narrow valleys that you can not see out of, place like Seward AK where i spent a summer, on Resurrection bay, encircled by mountains, on way in by land, one by boat and cannot see beyond. Others thick walls, sanctuaries that hold a special energy, versus the Oregon coast when it rushes through, not stopping or pausing. a huge storm

I update this in Antigua Guatemala after having passed through so many containers, in different countries – the first on this journey in Orosi a valleyto more recently lake atitlan and each seem to hold energies and emotions and histories. And as you leave each you have left something unique, and held. i will update my last container, the lake in my next entry, but within each container, there is yet another one, from the self to a room, to a home or hotel to a town or city to the lake – the boundaries are defined and fluid at the same time and when do they melt down?

I think that areas ringed by mountains, that i have often chosen to visit, the highland towns recently, offer a special type of container for you cannot see the horizon or beyond the boundaries and are more contained.  The seeming solidity of the mountains holds in the energy that is created there, and less flows through, all becomes intensified like noise in a courtyard surrounded by concrete walls. Still, we come and go, as does the wind, blowing it on to elsewhere in fragments, for all is interlinked.

Containers vary in the permeability – some are flimsy and much flows through, but none are solid for even the oldest stones are not.

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I am back in Antigua. Yesterday the walls moved again, the earth shook for a short while, as i stood in the same room where i had been almost a month ago when the shaking was longer and more intense – but this time i did not fear, the movement of the earth, something in perpetual motion, only most of the time we do not feel it, but as of late i have been feeling something, a shifting of sorts, in the air, in the dimensions, is it always something that is going on, is it part of the earth shift they talk about with 2012, is it me. but i have been feeling the solidity unravel beneath me and around me at times, on the lake (Atitlan), or walking down the street where suddenly all seems slightly wavey or ultraclear.

At times in my bed, here, in san marcos, in xela and elsewhere, i have felt a subtle rocking, like on a boat on a calm sea. Wondering if it is the subtle movements that i feel. or if there is a greater change in place. a few weeks ago in San Pedro La Laguna as i sat on the internet (no not on the internet, but on a chair in front of a computer) the time shifted, became slow for a moment, slightly unreal, the power flipped, and it seemed an eternity, but when it was over only a few minutes had passed. I had been at a retreat at las pirimides in san marcos, where discussion of dimensions and more was common, so was more open to feeling this, or more specifically to owning the feeling – for i have sensed it before – but been afraid to voice or type or write it.

And the earth moves, and there are so many dimensions of existence, which we are not trained to see, and actively deny, but i cannot not write about them any more. Are we shifting to a new dimension? How does the energy shift and move, become contained and flow.

One day on the lake i saw all crystal clear, glowing, enhanced 3-d and then on another all seemed less solid –
more questions than answers but i have so many posts not written from the past month, that i will send this one now.

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