Archive for June, 2010

A vortex? A cesspool that draws you in and pulls you down? No, the swirl is slow and the motion unseen. A puddle of thick mud, like in the remains of a forest after weeks or months of rain – verging on quicksand, as you slowly sink, pulled in bit by bit, your boot caught in the thick goo that does not want to let go. And you look around the path you chose, and see no way forward or back, and the trees do not appear as vibrant as they once did. And that is how it feels here in Eugene – and i know i have been writing this for a few weeks now, but my feet are still stuck in the mud. And it is easy to stay though i know that i will soon need to yank myself out, or perhaps i will be pushed by a great force. Just when the trees close in, a bird cheeps or the sun filters through and it lulls you, lulls you to sleep.

Or maybe it is not a mud puddle, but a magnet, pulling you forth, holding you in place – a place that is familiar – too familiar – not only in the form of this town, but in the energetic matrix that it is. And it pulls at me – the like attracts like – and a part of me of which i wish to let go – for it is holding, holding on, and that is what i have done all too much, and possibly why i came back here. And what i see in so many around this place – the aging hippies and many more.

But there is a gentleness about the place – a place where people are allowed to be – where the down and out and wanderers are allowed to live and be – where they/we are not hunted down and persecuted like in so many other locales – a part of the fabric of life in this part – and in that way shows a more accepting kinder vibe. For eccentric is normal here, and the boundaries break down; some spread their wings now outside the societal cage, while others who could not soar far beyond, sit on the ground with broken wings, but avoid the plight of the factory hens.

Still, the place seems stuck to me – or maybe it is all just a creation of my mind – but i so much feel the 1980s here transported back in time – of how i lived or wanted to, way back then, the whiteaker the small city version of the ideal my rose coloured glasses saw back then – i could flesh this out, but i will repeat my words that have been written before – and perhaps that’s it, for here i feel i repeat a life that was – no not repeat, but look on and watch, for connections and the pull to it really don’t call me forth. but i am still here – observing and looking on – and the feeling of disconnectedness returns.

Memories came up a few days ago of times of my youth – the music, the clothes, the partying that is around and more. For a few days before i felt my energy loosening up and letting go, lighter and so connected to the all, but once that came up, my body stiffened and energy returned to places inside of me. May it flow through it once again.

Last night an “art walk” in the neighbourhood where i stay – so little really on display – feels worn out and just hanging on to me; the crowds were not, and those who came through had that look as if they were seeking something more, something that was not to be found.

Back to the magnet – i ask myself how long do i stay and what is it that is to be processed through. For i had not wanted to come, on several occasions in the past few years, dread has arisen as i thought of a return to this place – but strongly wishing to avoid something puts out as much energy as strongly wishing its manifestation.

I know the time is now – if time really exists at all. The zone that is here transcends space and time – for i have returned to it many times in many places, and Eugene is just one of its manifestations to me on this earthly plane. Or maybe all is created in my mind (last night as i sat out back listening to the band, all who were there looked familiar, as if i had met them somewhere else before in slightly different human bodies, but playing out the same old scene)

If i am to leave this vortex or mud puddle what must be transformed is the energy inside – so that the pull truly disappears. For there is a comfort, like that of a couch in front of a tv when you have a cold. to remain for a while in order to heal, not force yourself out too soon, but to get up and move about so you don’t become a potato in the dark soil.

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Sun shines today – the solstice has passed – for the next six months the sun’s light will dwindle for us here – though the light does not shift, only our perception of it and its visibility and the need to have faith that it is there. It seems stable for a while, and though days grow and shrink, the shift only becomes perceptible at a certain point, when we notice, closer to the equinoxes, where the half point is achieved. And this year my inner cycle has been thrown off – winter spent further south where the days and nights seem more stable and unchanging, almost equal in their duration. And i think of a conversation a week ago, with someone from the north, dark at 10pm she said – i’m not used to that right now.
The clouds came back late in the day – but i know the light is there, and it shines longer now, longer than the dark – but we always have the light within.

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I feel a sucking energy here in eugene – one of lethargy and complacency. Maybe is it the laid back vibe that so many others value, but its underbelly shines me in the face. My age perhaps – too old for this – or see the partying that has gone on too long for many, and the eyes of those for whom it might be a passing phase. The smell of pot wafts around and there are so many disorganized lives – or glassy eyes from the few beers that turned into an all afternoon into the night thing.

It is a college and granola town, and now that school is finally out – late here in the middle of June – the town is quiet and eats away at me. The slacker vibe and maybe that is why i am here – for my life in the past few years has been that – i now clean a hostel and check quests in in exchange for a dorm bed. And the slacker vibe has come into me- yet i too cannot lift myself out, the bed with the noise that penetrates the walls and the highway or factory that can be heard slightly below all.

And i find i no longer relate – a lifetime ago for me – one who irritates and i am twice her age – the festivals, the bands, and that no longer hold it for me and have not for a very long time. It is comfortable but does not inspire me.

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i walked in the forest where all was quiet and noticed the sounds that came through the silence. In the quietude you hear so much more – the sounds that are welcome – the chirps of birds and the flow of the river and the step of your feet – and those which intrude – the cars passing by on the road above, rubber on concrete and the hum of motors. and in the quiet you also are more aware of the sounds inside, the chattering away of your mind – the joys and awareness and those other voices of discontent, nagging emotions and unresolved issues that come to fore – they are louder too and so often we try to bury them beneath or block them out with external noise.

I have been in a room where all is loud, and i often do not hear myself think. I listen through the walls to conversations, the radio, the washer and dryer, the bathroom fan, and the coffee grinder early in the morning. I block it with headphones and meditation music and have discovered healing sounds on the web. all who have read this know i am ultrasensitive to sound. And I wonder as i compare the healing music versus that which plays now with its heavy grating beat, what vibrations does all sound causes inside be it the background hum of our lives, or the tapes that play in our heads of which we are unaware. And i came to realize how the everyday sounds are no longer noticed, yet when we leave them behind, how much a part of our lives they have been. How rare it is that we truly experience the sounds of silence both inside and out.

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I watched the river yesterday – a different one than the Willamette that runs through town. It was the McKenzie, and i was in the forest, in the foothills of the cascades, where it is still wilder and untamed. in some areas it flowed along, and in others the rapids were swift, churning the water into what appeared from the banks to be interesting shapes – forming and dissipating in a flash of the eye. And while i watched i remembered recently reading how water does not have shape, its form determined by the container – in this case the river banks and the rocks and soil beneath the surface. and with a river, how the shape is so temporary as it flows on – and unlike the ocean which i have experienced much more recently with the tides coming in and out, it visibly flows in one direction, heading out to sea. The small streams merging and joining and heading towards the largest bodies of all.

And it made me think about ourselves, how much are we shaped by the containers we live in – the containers of our bodies and environments and of our minds. what is our essence – the soul inside – does it have form of its own. I saw water on the way up there in the form of light drizzle, misting in the air, and on the wet concrete and in puddles from where it recently rained. And i remembered how years before when i had been in there in the fall, snow was visible on a few of the mountain tops and how snow is just another form of what flows in the river. And so is ice and the steam that comes from my kettle in the morning. What form are we really or are we form at all?

And each form of water has such a different feeling, determined in part by how it is contained. Yet it is all the same – it transforms – the frozen ice crystals, the stagnant pool, the vapour of evaporation are all its different masks. And how do you define a drop – just how do you hold water in your hands, for even as ice a solid form it begins to melt away. I watch the water and explore the world – what is and how do we define it as such. We swim in it, it is in us, and soft rafts floated down the river.

How do we care for it and what does it contain – the salt of the sea, calcium or iron or the chlorine we add – or the waste and contaminants that spill into it – changing, mixing, altering is essence – or not.

And like ourselves, there are so many different energies from the same body – a river – but where, and each river is different but also the same; a lake or a puddle, and ocean shore or bay- and i think of the destruction we have recently caused in the gulf as oil spews out and contaminates all. And water flows through us and in the ground below, and here where i am comes down from the sky (with all too much frequency) and shows how all is one despite the different forms, and how all may change and transform as well.

This is some of what i experienced as i stared at and listened to the river – not touching or engaging, not floating down upon it or swimming, but experiencing from the forested banks. now i sit inside and it seems so far away – as does the river that flows through town, and as i think of a title for this entry, i realize that the McKenzie of my mind is yet another river with a different energy so much further to the north, in another country, another zone, but all is connected at some of the drops that were there have probably also been here, for the rivers flow into the oceans and atmospheres that unite us all.

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I had planned to go up to McKenzie Bridge today – into the foothills of the cascades – to do some hiking and commune with nature, to get in tune with the spirit inside and out. Last night i looked at the weather and the little icon showed a cloud with rain and after several sunny days here i hesitated, and lost my certainty in my plans. Still i set my alarm for 6:45, and when it rang i woke up from another intense dream. And i had to get out of bed to pee. but the sky way grey, and i did not want to climb out of the zone i was in. So i lay in bed, and did not go, not really going back to sleep – the hostel was beginning to awake just past seven, with the coffee grinder, the radio with NPR and conversations just outside my door. So here i am, still in the city and realizing the pattern of not going out is what i have been doing so much of late. I will go thursday – another free day – when at the moment the weather promises sun or the lack of rain (though it still is not raining now and despite the clouds, may only be an afternoon thunderstorm). But i had looked forward to it and made plans in my mind, looking at schedules and trails on the net, and then i turned and stopped in step – or in bed as it may be.

And i think of that, what has been holding me back keeping me in the zone of the known? Why do i not just step out? Or find excuses why i cannot go? I have been doing this more of late, and what is the energy that keeps my in this activity and what is the energy that the holding back creates? I will spend another day in town, get out and smile, and be in the place where i am.

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The body remembers. the mind remembers. I am still in Eugene and it feels like previous times that i have been here and like another type of flash to the past. I wake up tired and groggy not wanting to communicate – a way i woke up for much of my life but not in the past few years. Despite the abundance of health food stores, i do not feel like cooking much and my diet, while still healthy, becomes what it was years ago. I walk quite a bit, but the body feels weak, and restless too, again a flash to the past. And the way i process events and emotions seems to have regressed to another time.

I started to write this yesterday, and then i was to write about parallel lives, how this zone feels so cut off from others i have recently been in, and if perhaps i am just a small part of a larger beings consciousness and am really living all these lives simultaneously, like fragments of a dream. For when i come back here it seems that i physically and emotionally feel like i have here in the past, and my thoughts and activities are similar to what they were here, and all follow a similar process and shift as they have in this locale and what that is created is but a continuation of what was experienced here before, as if what has happened in other locales has been bracketed or erased. And as such i feel like i have once again stepped back in time, though now feeling more removed as if watching myself.

But it is not merely the time that was contained in this space that i reconnect to; the people here in this hostel and who i meet with few exceptions are not the same as those who were here before, and though they are new to me, they help carry me to memories back before this space. As does this town in some ways – reminds me of what i once was and what i had once wanted to be – the mid-sized college town with that bohemian hippie alternative air. And as with previous visits here i find myself loosing “my voice” – not literally, but that passion to express feels stilted somehow – or somehow stuck.

I am doing a work trade at the hostel, cleaning and checking in guests in return for my stay. Something that i have done before, but that is so part of a stage of life i thought i had moved through and wanted to let go of, or move beyond. And that is how i feel, back here once again. And the one actual person who i have reencountered from the outside, is a woman i met up in Anchorage at the hostel up there two years and a bit ago – the last time i cleaned in a hostel in return for my bed. And it was her who gave me a lift out of there to Homer on the Kenai Peninsula and to what became the beginning of a new stage of my life. And while i am glad to have reconnected with her again, meeting her here makes me feel like i have not really moved on. And this time i won’t get a lift out of here- her car deal fell through, and she is flying back home. and i get taken further back, because like many who pass through here she reminds me of another i knew years ago – in a creative writing class back in Montreal. At night, my dreams take me back there too. But perhaps this is all part of what i said a few months ago about integrating parts of my life and i now ask should i have just let go for i feel less full of life than i did, even in angst, just a little while ago.

Besides the owner of this place, the other actual person i met, was a man whose last visit here was my first in 2007. I looked at him his first day here – that look of familiarity from i don’t know where – he reminded me so much of M who i lived with for over a year, in a zone in some ways similar to this. A bowler hat on a wide chunky face, his smile and the hair that hangs down and beard starting to grey, and the walk and the posture were so familiar to me. And this place, the alternative pot smoking crowd, reminds me of that.

In some ways it brings back a combination of my teenage years, and the youth that predominate bring it back more. There is so much that i once wanted to reclaim – but being here now i know that i can’t go back to what i was before, and with the acceptance that comes with middle age i no longer wish to for i am not the same person i was then. And so i feel stuck in another sort of time warp, a friendlier one, but one that fits no more. The hostel and the wandering crowd, so many people who travel around, biking, hiking, searching craigslist for rideshares – talks of festivals – of burning man, and hula hooping and poi and fire dancing and more. And the creative types and wannabes hanging out on porches just passing away the days. So much that i once wanted to experience, but that truly calls no more. And i had thought of the alternative festivals before coming here – a place to camp and meet and be – caught in circles of searching for what isn’t really me.

And i see others who call me back to my college years and before – one of the work traders a few years older than me – who is getting depressed after band broke up and walks around saying i’m bored, reminds me of W. from the cafe – that anti-authoritarian veggie political cafe where i spent so much of my time back then – it hasn’t existed for years but it would fit so well into this neighborhood – endless debates on politics, the environment, and what is the next way – and so self-conscious in its alternative stance. A woman about 10 years younger than me with long pony tails, a pierced nose, tattoos, and a long skirt commented that i and another seem to be from the east coast – she reminded me of some of the hard-core granola activists i met in Ontario. And another girl here is the spitting image of someone i knew in university – and like many here, the same age we were them, and maybe what i am experiences are the ideals as they exist at a certain stage in life.

The discussions i have and listen to are refreshing on issues and other ways – but i feel that i have had them so many times before. And last night i watched a film of the Dead Kennedys early years – another flashback again. so much here brings me back to a particular zone – a zone of living that extends beyond time and space but is framed in certain locales. And the frame to me is beginning to feel a bit like a cage.

It is not a question of throwing all this away, as i tried to for many years, and that tossing is probably what brought me back here a couple of year back – to reclaim some of me that i had lost. But now it is to value what is here, but to not cling to what no longer fits or at least in the way that currently exists. I expect to be here for another week or so, and during that time i will let myself grow.

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