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Archive for September, 2010

The Story Changes

The story changes when you know the next chapter, and with the next chapter written how do you go back and finish writing the first. You can not alter what has happened, or places you have gone, inside and out, but those places now lead you to reinterpret that which went before.

I just posted an entry about coming to Monterey – one that was partially written on the train and the buses as i travelled, part which was scribbled in the train station before i left, a few lines that were written the night i arrived, and more after i have been here a few days. and having been here, i see some of what i wrote more clearly, the messages that were held for me, but what is more real – that which i believed at the time, or that which i now do. and which do i write and how do i write both. And i have more entries in draft form, from the weeks before – unfinished, but how do i finish them for i no longer feel what i wrote, and know what has happened since. is writing them an act of bringing the past into the present? do i want to? am i meant to? but is not to put them out, to make them disappear? do i put them out incomplete – as they were written at the time? Were they not finished because i did not know the outcome or because by the time i sat to write i had already moved into a different zone – both inside and out.

what endures and what passes through? I asked myself that in yosemite as i sat by the rocky bed of a dried up stream, and i ask myself that here as well – for in coming back i become a different person – slip back partially to who i was before – and emotions about myself, and feelings about the place return – seemingly enduring. But i also know some changes as well. And i currently feel sad, backwards, another feeling that comes and goes, is it more real to feel it, or not to feel it? And the judge in me comes out – stories that were contained in this place, and the larger story of what makes me return endures, a story i wish to let go of.

How does the physical place reflect the internal and how does the internal place reflect the external and what is the difference between the two? For they are so intertwined, but the external is larger than just the one, it is a place of relationship with other energy forms, forms that shift depending on ones perception and forms that seemingly endure – for a longer now.

The story changes – i have other entries i wish to write, entries that take me away from the here and now, a place i feel off kilter but which is where i am. and writing them takes place now and here, and the energy of now and here, enters into what was in the there and then, linking them.

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I feel asleep last night listening to the sea lions bark and i felt content. I had come what felt like a long way, only 150 miles or less as the crow flies, but it took over 15 hours and took me through many zones. Tonight – the night after much of this was written – i feel light years away from where i had been – both outside and in.
_________________________
-My body warned me – or rather my energy – going into a panic that was not just of mind. I wondered if it was merely self-talk, but i decided it was more and i am glad i listened. I am on the train, bleary eyed after waking just after 5am and barely sleeping at night. I am on the way to Monterey, not to Sacramento where i almost went. I had a ticket to there, and reservations (so i thought) but something screamed a loud ‘no’, you will not be able to stay so i changed my plans back to what they were in the first place – plans i had backed away from out of fear. Though there is something that still does not sit quite right.

I had thought of going back to the coast from the mountains where i was. Last time i had headed up north, and the time before to Sacramento and then north as well. i still feel called east, but i avoided the temptation to new mexico. And of that i still feel good. But going to monterey, i feel like i am repeating a cycle, and i wish to travel no more. every place has its activities and i do not know what i will do there. but the ocean calls, and a town where people really live. And as i am on the train, i realize it had not just been the city i had wanted to return to last time i left yosemite, but to that conference that i had turned my back upon – not willing to commit or take a chance. And i realize that it is not where i am, but what i am doing that counts. And i have invested so much in seeking and wandering, that i have been doing very little.

I panicked last night and did not really want to leave but i had already stayed a day too long, a day of hiding away, getting closed in by the hills and the negativity in my mind. Something that i need to shake off for i feel that i had drifted back to a person i thought i had let go of. I had thought of the coast, but muttered off and on for days. i stayed an extra day because i felt sick and tired one day, but now as i ride the train i wonder if it was because of the place, physcial mental, and emotional where i was. for i want to plant roots in a place i may spread my branches, and not merely hide away. And there at the bug and in the park before, i felt that is was hiding, that it was not a place where i could expand or positively link for the other energies there.

So anyways i waited until the evening to try to make a reservation after pondering and worrying most of the day (and we know what energy that feeds and becomes) but i was closed in by walls, and myself, and drew down into me. My phone did not work in the hostel as it had not in the park, and i discovered the monterey hostel was not on the toll-free line for all the other hostels in the land and needed a 48 hour advance notice to book on-line. i had seen earlier in the week that they had space over the weekend. The bus to the train station would leave the hostel stop at 620am, so it would be an early morning again – i had my options, trains leading to sacramento, new mexico and beyond could be caught at 10am – and i could call from down there.

The moon was full and i did not sleep, my mind turning over and over again. But i got up just past 5am, went outside and looked at the moon, and carried my bags down the hill to the bus that would take me to merced. I wanted to sleep on the way down, out of the mountains and to the hills, hills that rolled gently beneath the sky that was waking up for the day, and that provided a vista and space to see beyond. I got to the amtrak station about 730, and had to wait to make a call – now that my cell phone had service once again. I walked around what seems to be a poorer nieghborhood =- people walking on the street, people of colour, police, run down homes and a convenience store with bars – and called the monterey hostel just past 8 and got the answering machine. i tried again and still the same, so i became worried, and called sacramento where i made a reservation for the night – i though of there since i could go from many directions from that stopping point and it was a place where people lived. There waa a three night limit per year if you are not a member, and the woman while professional was not welcoming at all – i only have a passport and nothing showing an address and she muttered and said we normally require something more, did i have any mail or something more. i thought i did.

i bought a train ticket for 10am and then began to feel uneasy once again. I panicked, became tight, imagining myself sleeping on the street. I searched my bags, had cleaned them out, and nothing more recent showing an address. the no grew louder in my mind, over and over, so i decided to change my mind. i called to cancel and said i know i will have to pay a fee, and she said no, the reservation is for saturday, we do not take same day reservations and today is friday after all. i was not merely projecting, but felt something was off.

I am in san Jose where i have waited for over four hours – the bus from stockton was late by just a few minutes, but long enough to miss my connection. When i called the hostel this morning i said i might be in on the second bus, though the schedule said i would make the first. I felt it would happen, was that a premonition, is it something i caused -i don’t believe so but the idea that our thoughts have power. The bus was late to arrive, something that others in line let on is often the case, and the driver with attitude took forever to load, and then sat and relaxed in his seat for quite a while. It was out of my control but it happened, and i worried and fretted on the bus here – although i knew there was nothing that i could do, and it was something i had prepared myself for. Still, it shows how off my energy has become and how uncertain i am about this journey.

I was able to go into town for a few hours to eat and walk and drink coffee. i persuaded the guy at the amtrak station to take my bags for free – the charge was only $3 but as i just missed the connection by a few minutes, something i felt was the drivers fault, he let me after i hesitated moving aside and raised a small stink. still, i think that path may have been stalwarted, several obstacles in the way, and have i pushed to hard for something i know is just a way of marking time. But being in the city made me glad i had not gone to sacramento for i felt off in the place. It is a nice downtown, with transit systems, tree lines streets, new buildings and a few old, an art gallery, a museum, a large church, a conference center and more, a park with benches and many chain restos around, but while the facade is nice, at 3pm on a friday afternoon, it seems devoid of life. i want to say people do not live there, though a safeway is downtown. A few workers in suits as i came back to the station, but mainly those in the day who looked like they never had anything to do (like myself). And the colour divide was large.

And taking the bus to here, brought back my feelings on california – the divide is great, the broken down and the shiny new which who knows how long will last – or what is behind those walls. New communities of silicon that still shine with wide boulevards full of cars and cars and more cars, and others that seem so gritty and broken down. in stockon the stations were in depleted areas, and we drove through warehouses of grey and fences, and the only life was a few with shopping cars leaving a foodbank in nomans land.

I sat outside at the bug which now seems forever away, and cried i can not go on anymore like this, the panic that hits when it is time to move on, the panic that hits when it is time to move on, but there i felt i could stay no longer, that i was merely eating myself up inside. But now i wonder.
I have also had a premonition about not being able to stay in monterey or my reservation being messed up – i hope this is not the case.
_____________
I have been in monterey for two days now and believe i should not have forced the trip. i listened not to go to sacramento, which was another holding place with which i am less familiar, but i ignored and pushed through the blockages to come here, not listening to that voice inside. Listening only to that voice of temptation that called for a momentary respite. And that feeling i could not stay – is true to a certain extent – to visit yes, as i have before, but not to stay for a long time. And this is familiar as is the energy that has returned to me.

I arrived at night, my first time in a while arriving in the dark. Days are shorter as the fall equinox has passed. A last mess up on the city bus where we missed the stop for the hostel – another woman was At first i was happy to breathe the moister air and listen to the sea lions at night, and to be inside a place with books and coming here and the driver asked if this is where we were going when we got on – but talked to other passengers and did not see that the driver had changed – and the new one did not know where we were to go. So i did not ring, and he passed the stop, but 15 hours after i left the yosemite bug, i found myself here –
And to listen for a real call, and not to retreat again and to learn to hear truly and not selectively.

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Camp 4

I wanted to camp in Yosemite park and i did. And i am glad. Now i sleep in a bed again outside and i am glad of that too. I took a chance going up there, a chance i almost convinced myself not to take.
On the train and the bus into this area over a week ago i got a sudden urge to camp. and going into the park and back out again, i asked myself why not. the temperature was not too cold at night – but i had been sleeping in a bed for about a week and appreciated the softness of a matress and warmth at night. The issue was finding a place to stay in this great park and for some other reason i was afraid.
there is one walk-in first come first serve campground in the park – Camp 4 – and that is where i stayed. i had known about it, but forgotten about it and walked by the day i was supposed to leave. It is a fairly open area crowded with tents – and few trees and i was not sure about the vibe there. it was around 11am and it was full for the day – a ranger came by so i asked about how hard it was to get a space. the kiosk opens at 830 am, but the line officially starts at 6. people come earlier but no sleeping bags or pads are allowed in front of the booth – and it fills up every morning for the night. The first bus into the park does not arrive until 730 am, so i wondered what i would do. although it is a walk in camp and priced per person, the parking lot is right beside, and people come with cars and in pairs and groups, so different from the hiker-biker sites i have been in. I told the ranger i wished there were sites for people without cars – and she said this is it as i stared out over the parking lot. she said it was crowded, turn people away, but i would have a chance if i came right over on the first bus in – the summer peak has passed but the climbers are filling it up.
I wandered the park that day not knowing if i would try, before i went and looked at the place – an open area crowded with tents, i was so certain that i would. but after i heard about the difficulty getting in i told myself i would not and my energy changed. I told myself i could not. I told myself that one is not meant to spend so much time there though i yearned to thoroughly explore the energies within those walls, to be in the place without leaving for several days. but a voice also said no, it is not meant to be. but that night it called to me but i decided to gamble and take my chance knowing that the outcome was not guarenteed. What ifs passed through my mind, but i knew i could not turn my back on this chance.
i packed up unsure if i would catch the bus out at 6am – but i did. I slept poorly fearing i would not hear the alarm – i was afraid, afraid i would be turned away. Afraid to step out into the unknown, to take a risk. but i asked god if it was his will to let me have a place. it was dark when i got up blurry eyed and made my way on down to the bus down the dark road and heard and something rustle in the bushes – and it did not feel like a deer. I waited at the stop in the dark, headlamp on so the bus could see me, looking up the road, nervous, but it finally came – and was full of park employees.
I slept on the way in, and was nervous when we arrived – the bus pulled into the visitors center and then was to go to the far end of the valley to curry village before going to the lodge – so i got off there and waited alone in the quiet of the park for the shuttle that would take me to the camp. i waited and fretted and it finally came and there were about 12 in front of the office when i got there – i asked which way does the line go, and got in the end, a few more arrived, i wanted a coffee and to pee, but waited until the kiosk opened up at 830 am. I got a space at about 9, and decided to book for five days. I was but was told could not set up until noon – i was releived but still not calm, wondering what was in the air.
This is what i wrote:

I walked the park and then set up my tent. Six people share a site to which you are ramdomly assigned – you are assigned a bear box, but one table between the people there. I had felt unsure, and when i arrived there was a small tent, with two people on the tag, and then a mom and two twenty something asians arrived with a monster tent – a six – eight person one that dwarfed all that was around and cast my little tent in a shadow.
The campground was full of climbers – for it is prime rock climbing season and this is the place to do it. I wrote

And it made me realize that like the animals and birds and plants that thrive in some areas and cannot live in others, we as people have out zones where we may thrive and others where we may just eke out a living. Adaptation is possible only to some extent, and when we adapt what do we become. And also like energy attracts like, and i am not part of the nucleus here.
The tents were crowded together, and most we here to climb and bond. With the noise at night and feeling pushed out of the site i became a bit of a bitch. six people officiallly share a site, but in this case it became many more – the family and all their friends, become 10-12 instead of three and all sharing a picnic table. And i spoke up, and spoke up again and instead of joining in i cut myself off more. And the loud fire pit in the site behind my tent – one of the loudest in the campground one night – called a bitch by one drunken youth when i mentionned the quiet hours. I spoke with the guys from boston at my site who drank constantly. i did not like being there and avoided the campground. i wonder if it was bad karma for if i had been assigned another site, it might have been different and I could have met some with whom i could bond. But a lesson was there for me. I felt disconnected from that which was around, and energy acted up, and instead of getting along, i withdrew, avoiding the place, felt isolated, and was not kind for i wanted to change what was. The dance was not one for me to join, so instead of finding my own music, i wanted the music to be different – but it was a rhythm so many shared, and the music they came for.
Still, i debated staying longer than planned for other places in the park i loved. but i could not renew my site. you are supposed to be able to renew if you do so the day before you are to leave, but a clean-up was happening in the park, something i thought to join, and the climber volunteers had reserved a few of the sites – including the one i was on. Several complained as it had not been announced, as did i. I could have lined up the following morning, but i decided it was time to leave. Although i was up at 6 when the line was short, i knew it was time to go, my time in the park was done. I was turning inside too much, and staying in part because i was afraid to leave. And i knew that it was time to move on.
And i realized yosemite valley is as much the campgrounds and places we have built as it is the walls themselves. i value my time there, and learned as much from the challenges in the campground as it did from the natural forces. And i realize that places call up activity, and there are places where we bond, and to some extent there are energies we choose to align to and others we do not.
I finish this entry a long ways from the valley in terms of space and time and have experienced much since i left and it now seems but a blur, but a blur that led my onto other paths, both inside and out.

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This is a series of entries written over about a period of a month (Aug 4 – Sept 8) when i was at harbin hotsprings – when i remained in a singular place geographically but went to many places within. I post this from outside Yosemite park, at a hostel where i ended up after leaving there the last time as well. There, like here, like the park itself, is located in a valley, and in valleys i tend to turn within. often when i stop for long i do as well.    

I had been hesitant to go there, and just as hesitant to leave. I stayed longer than i planned, in fact longer than the 30 days one is allowed – but managed somehow to be allowed to stay. and while as always i had one foot out the door for there is one side of the place that seems devoted to hedonistic sex that i cannot stand, there is also much that appeals to me and calls me forth, not just the physical things, or the pools or the classes or the land (for the land in and of itself does not speak strongly to me) but many of the people who are so kind, who have a light inside, and i know that i sometimes do or could to. And at times i wanted to stay and apply for residency but then a “no” came up – was it the focus on the body as a temple there – and as i have written before i feel it is misguided, but i also know i wish to learn and get in touch with its wisdom and the wisdom of the energy bodies that we are, but also the soul,was it the “pot culture” that existed on the smoking deck and is endemic to northern california, was it the underside of the place (but is there a place without one) or was it because i was afraid, and truly believed that i would not be welcomed – a fear i have almost every place i wish to join. And i did not know if i could live in community, even a community that seems false – for most do not live on sight – and if i could always be “on” and good, not having a private place to go – to live, play, work, grow in a singular place overwhelms, for although i say i do not wish to hide, i become afraid when i fear there is no place to do so.    

So i went to san francisco finally leaving harbin, to a place where it is hard to stay – another place part of me loves (and part of me does not know what i would do there or how i would ever manage to stay), and to here, a place i know that i am not meant to stay. And i still do not know if it was a real ‘no’ or if it was a fear for i did not try. i did not feel that i would be acceptable or good enough and it is not a place where today you can just slip in (though apparently it was once). there is a formal application procedure, and a trial, and both of those overwhelm for i feel totally alone, that there is no one to say that i am good, i cannot provide the references required – but they are required everywhere. And that is it – the sadness and pain comes up when i don’t have anyone who will speak out for me (but then again, have i asked). And i think of my history, so long since i have been stable – and wonder if i had applied the first time i went – a year and half ago – but then, there were fewer places where i feel that i messed up – where i could not get along with people. but if they were my people, my energy matrix, could i? i want to believe that i could. But since then i have left indralaya, their sister – Sierra Hotsprings, the eugene whiteaker hostel, all without joy – i did good work – i know – but did not belong – and showed the shadow sides of myself. All because at each place i did not feel stable, did not feel like part of the community, and at sierraville, when i tried to make a stand, i was cast out, alone. or did i leave and run? Still, i remember walking down that road alone, not a goodbye, not a lift to town when they passed me by, and the hurt lingers on, but is it a hurt i brought with me, one that i carry around, from place to place. And i left Harbin alone – and i ask myself why.    

So i never applied, and by the time i left i was glad to leave. felt unwanted and like a burden to the place – so many so kind to me for a while – but did i just take and not give. For i want to give, not of the darkness inside, but of the light. But i felt if i even applied, i would be laughed out, who do you think you are that you would be accepted here? Just what makes you think that you would not be just a dark splotch once again? But i can be light, when i feel secure and wanted – or at least i think for i have never felt accepted and i do not know what community is. What does it feels like to belong? And i know there have been place i have wanted to more and have felt cast out, and where i feel that i do not belong, at least without hiding away and trying to become something i am not, i cast myself out.    

I write this entry from a place i do not feel that i belong, where i do not really wish to, for i do not feel the connection in what i value. And it is time to leave. And i do not wish to wander, i do not wish to hide, but i wish to contribute to the joyous dance of life. And as i reflect, maybe i did not belong, or do i tell myself that? Just what is the truth? For i know i need healing but also to give, and is there a place that i can do both simultaneously? A base from which i can grow?    

__________________________ 
What is in the mirror that i do not wish to look at? Just what is it that stares me back that i “cannot” face but i must, for it is in my own face. And just what is it that i fail to see? The veils layered deep. 

  

    

And i know there is something here, for in my wandering the lord brought me back to this place. a place that at times i yearned for and craved, and at others sought to avoid, but never just let be. and i know it is not harbin per se, but rather harbin as a symbol for something more deep, a manifestation in 3D of lessons i need to learn. There is something about the spiritual path and “alternative” greener life, the self-indulgence, and the social class makeup of this place that i must acknowledge and deal with straight in the face. They are all paths i have been a part of, and need to integrate, but also that have failed me in my quest so as i grab for them, i push them away – and they too have pushed me away – and all are ‘things’ i try to deny in myself. And it is ways of acting and being that have come together in this center seemingly of bliss, hidden away in a higher valley from the world outside and magnifying that within.    

As i sit on the smoking deck- my social office – i look at the mountain across the way, now with dried up brown land under the green oaks and other patched of trees with darker brown leaves, and it stands almost unreal, or surreal, under the bright blue sky – and looks different than it did before, on cloudy days in a wetter season, when i would watch wispy clouds float through it – but it does seem unreal – like a one way mirror – i do not see out of beyond it though the outside (and what is hidden from me) sees in. And with other places, i wonder if this is all but an illusion of the mind – a shared illusion by those who are also here.    

Last time i was here i wrote much of integration, of not throwing away of who i was, but of owning all, and bringing it together in order to move on and through – that letting go was not the same as throwing away – to let it be, to experience life and to neither cling and grasp for something nor to try to force it away or deny it or run away in fear. and has my journey of the last four months been about that – i believe it has – revisiting places and faces of my persona – some that still live in my and others that have faded away. In that process, how much have i done honestly and thoroughly and how much have i shrunk from what i have felt and seen and how much have i been blinded and numbed to still? And there is so much that is murky in my mind and soul, that i need to let out but do not know how and play games of solitaire in between.    

I know i feel judged here – but i also must acknowledge that i do just as much judging myself and often of those i feel that are judging me – and how can i believe that they do not feel my inner critique of them as much as i feel theirs of me? And just as i avoid the judgement and the judgers, how can i expect the judged not to avoid me? But just what is it at the root that i judge    

I see a hard face on a woman, not really directed at me, but i see it and turn my head away and draw my energy inside. but how often so i wear such a face and am totally unaware of it. i know i smile more often than i did, and not infrequently remind myself to, and i know the world responds differently to me when i smile – what expression do i put on here? Is there a reason why i so notice the frowns?    

When i walk down the trail i try to say hi or give someone a smile. sometimes people reply, but other times they look away, but how many times have i done that and just how does it make others feel? And sometimes i feel someone looking at me a if i am in the way, or failing to see that i am there – but how often have i seen others as impediments myself, in the way, making noise, taking “my’ space, or otherwise interfering with my life – or also in competition with me – as if we cannot all be there. but there is more…    

And i have often condemned others for what i sense as a smug superiority, those who look down on others or do not see those of us who serve them or respect us and acknowledge our full worth and ask not how much are we capable of, but set up limit and barriers in our face. But do i now do the same. at times think i know more because i have seen more of the street, led a less sheltered existence so i proclaim (but even that is false for i have always had a buffer, one person to support me which is more than may have – and something i feel guilty about and still wish to hide away – something that others suspect and judge me on i can feel) or have worked bad and dirty jobs (though there are many i have not) and do i really see the whole person who is there – no, for there is much that i do not see. and do i wish to blame them for the breaks that i was not given, though i was given many that they may not have been. and is the blame an excuse to deny the mess i have made of some. No i see them in terms of myself, the same way that they might see me.    

2)    

I am not really all that different from many who surround, for despite the nicer richer veils they wear, they are really people imperfect and often in pain as well, and why have i not truly recognized this before – focused instead on the exterior guise. As a teen and earlier on i would often condemn the rose coloured glasses of suburbia, the place where all was “fine” and another good life was lived – a life whose pain was often hidden away behind the walls people built, not only in 3D but in mentality, hiding it all away – and i think of the mothers of mine and some – alcohol, drugs – though those from the legitimate pushers of the pharmaceutical industry, death, depression and more – the fathers seemed absent, but in my group we knew not all was merry, but we could pretend it was so – keep face – we are not like them – our lives are contained and good – and there were people living their lives fully as well, giving and sharing and creating –    

But somehow the veil descended upon me – and i no longer truly saw through th guise – caught instead in the outside apparitions, the costumes that so many wear. for what helps set this class apart is the denial and the games they play – the all is fine – and the better ability to hide all away – to pretend that we are perfect and to expect others to be. and i somehow forgot that truly the separation is an illusion, and a game we play, a game that is such an integral part to the lives – and a game that i could not play, and was thus part of the reason why i was cast outside.    

or that i could not play with others, though i have played it most of my life by myself, and am too messy, not tight or smooth enough – a contradiction in terms i know.    

And unlike those who live life more in the open – on the streets or in tightly packed neighborhoods, who have not garnered wealth or education or the ability to hide the problems away, we are more greatly able to live in the world of illusion, and in some ways it is that illusion that defines the group, and the ability to play the game. And not to call a spade a spade, but to be so healthy and together all of the time. bounds of acceptability remain, and ways to step outside are just as defined – and do not step too far out. but many do, and then pretend, and it is the game we play.    

i think back to some of the women i have met, on the edge just as me, and we avoid each other and pretend, do not reach out and ask for help or share of ourselves and of our stories and of our lives. For then we will not be acceptable.    

And that is why this group dislikes and judges the lower classes, a mirror of what we try to hide away.    

and the sense of superiority that maintains it all    

3) But is it my own perfectionism that makes me read it in all who are around? Is there a greater acceptance at hand than i can see or am willing to acknowledge? Is it me who feels that i need to be perfect in order to be accepted? and do i expect perfection in others in order to accept them? Can i see the kernel of god in all, the light that exists in everyone. for i say i do but that is a lie, one of the many veils i wear.    

and is that why is see the veils in others and am so quick to jump on them. the “pompous superiority” which is often just pretend, but other times it is based on a belief we hold inside, on how good or enlightened we are. but often we are not. Is that why i was so quick to criticize M. in my mind, a fraud i called him, a pretend visionary, so pumped up and full of himself – and as i was reacting, for the reactions were strong, i knew there was something deep stirring inside, something important in the mirror i did not wish to see. for am i not the same way myself, and also though he is imperfect, is he not trying his best, and helping and enlightening others in a certain way. ans caught in many of the quandries in which i find myself – a hypocrite, but am not i, and are not so many of us.    

do i resent those who have truly broken through – or am i drawn to them and their pure shine.    

here we take off the clothes, the veils which we use to cover ourselves, those veils that exist in 3d. but are there not so many more, the veils of illusion and delusion in the mind.    

with the group i was born into many more veils to hide behind – maybe why i believe those who are raw are more real as there is little to hide behind/    

confession – can i state my case, why do i believe i must do it alone.    

4) today is not a day as planned – a day where i have engaged in very few of the harbin things but also a day where i have engaged more and failed to connect – me pulling back and what does that teach.    

i was hungry so decided to treat myself to a breakfast – but did not end up eating alone – talked and joined with someone more out of compassion or was it pity and broke away too so – opened up to give but he wanted too much. and what does it mean to give to someone that way, and when have i asked others to pity me then asked for more than they can give.    

His name was max – from Arkansas – met him yesterday in the reiki healing class. socially awkward and i felt for him though there was something in his eyes that held me back but i could tell that he wanted to reach out and connect – with someone – and i was the person whom he met.    

5) Many days not written – days of movement within the stillness, and stillness within movement. Processes unfolding, elation and depair, but overall a release and a calm even when all is up and down, a trusting in the process, in life, in opening. and releases and tests and connection and alone – an emptying out making space for what is to come, and feeling true joy at times and new sensations in the body as energy flows within, knots loosening, brainwaves changing and the unknowing of what comes next – yet feeling peaceful overall.    

pure joy found me on sunday afternoon in quantum light breath a smile so wide i could not contain it and then a song and i could hear my voice, unmuffled and loud.    

yoga stretching out places – shoulders, hips, even lower back – an freedom today for just a few minutes – a spaciousness i have not felt before – like the first time the shoulders went floppy for just a minute or two.    

free your spirit breath work – a release deep and intense    

and sleep naps on the couch    

6) I feel sad today and just want to be whole – energy is down and off and i feel alone once again. is it the full moon? processing and delving into the past and imagined future out of the now where i am – wanting to let go but wanting to know what it is that i am letting go of – feeling damaged and broken once again – can i not just let go of having to know, just let it pass out of me, to be free of the blockages – to just let them dissolve – but what comes up?    

i feel depleted – time to move on – like i am sinking rather than soaring here – like i am hiding away from life once again – spending more than my allotted time. I want to be happy and full of light – do i need to pass through this place to remove the darkness – can i not just choose the light? what do i have to gain by being here – or is it just another fancy trick to hide?    

i got up late today – no yoga or intensity – spent much of the day on the smoking deck – lost, outside, not full of joy. i feel so lost – but to explore – as with all – am i truly being restructured or is it a delusion i feed myself – but i do feel different and unsure of how to proceed, like the other day when i said i felt like a baby my body often feeling different to me – unfamiliar sensations – open and closed – not knowing what to feed my body ot what it wants and needs    

too absorbed with the self – to reach out connect to the rest of gods creation and to god.    

7) I must face my fears for i know that in part healing has turned to hiding – hiding from actions i must take not yet clearly defined, but ones that will allow me to build a life instead of just merely wander – yes here can be a place to clear and renew but as long as i stay i can continue to play the avoidance game -and yes, feel safe. but how many times have i said that safety is but an illusion – but can i continue to clear out some of the underlying issues that have paralyzed me for so long?    

a tough day and a half or maybe more with the highs gone and tears and self talk coming in – the paranoia creeping in and then taking over in part and i have watched myself crawl into me and my shoulder seize and me become more lifeless as thought forms of fear and of memories and past and daydreams come into play, when i cam not longer here, not present and hard.    

and it was those feelings – not of memories or places i cannot remember, but the emotions that grip me still that cause that as they arise and take over – emotions and fears that hinder me and block me but are not really me – or are they. of issues i must face not – emotions that lead to paranoia and get me in trouble every time – of aloneness, of having no home, of not belonging, of being unacceptable, of having noone who will speak for me or ssay i am good – so i back away and hide and do not take risks and deepen the ruts even more. and they are feelings i try to push away but do not seem to ba able to push through and i must – can i do so y sheer will or by the grace of god – for i can squirm no longer.    

___________–    

Why is it that i feel like i am hiding here? the truth is that i am. i come to take a break but then it extends too long – and i feel like it is time to get back out and live in the larger world. to contribute and interact and pursue my call though i do not know what it is. and then the fears come up, those things that take over and pull me back – and how to really move through them for it is those energetic forms that lay a claim on me. and i have written the answers or rather some answers so many times before, but i get caught or back away and am not able to move one through – and then they take over and i do not breathe through them and they become what is real and help create the reality outside reality    

___________________    

I feel that it is time to leave harbin once again. i almost left today on an adventure to mount shasta but backed down. It felt right saying no to an opportunity that began to feel more like a disaster waiting to happen but it was difficult to do. My body felt looser after i told her no, but now i feel exhausted and depleted once again – biding time, that is what i am doing, biding time, passing it away, letting it pass through, drifting away from my dreams, becoming one of the people just hanging out, just hanging out, like those in the smoking room in seattle or in the back yard in eugene, but here i do not work or work trade, just pass the days away. and is that why those places bothered me so, that my life is really no different, not shining or glowing, but just sitting still, and not sitting in blissful meditation or union with all, but sitting, letting the darkness seep on in.    

And i think some of this has to do with my return here this time, and the reasons why i came, though they were so vaque and unclear to me at the time. or maybe because of that – i did not come here for a reason per se, it was no longer to heal or to let go, but a result of letting go, of letting go of dreams, dreams which have not been replaced by newer, truer ones, but that have died, leaving me empty, and into this empty space pouring not joy and beauty and the word of god, but refilling with imagined (or real?) stories of the past, memories or a story i have written, and with the emptiness the sadness can creep on in. is it too much time on the smoking deck, having familiar conversations, getting into the mundane routine of not living fully, of introspection and staring at my navel so to speak for i never have really examined that. is it the ongoing days of nothingness, the only stability a morning yoga class, and perhaps a soak, rest of the time empty, defined by so little. but how to turn this back into joy, to move beyond and out. for was coming here more than a break but a retreat, not the just stepping back into another zone, but retreating, giving up and hiding away, no longer beginning a process of change but halting one, no longer coming to something but leaving something behind, not listening to my heart or soul or inner knowing, but listening to my fears and voices of despair, the ones that say i am afraid, i can’t, and how often have i made that can’t a reality.    

but today i listened to a “no” – a this step is not right for you, and learned to feel it in my body. how often have i confused the “no this is not right” with the “it is so right, but i am afraid, i am scared” and how often have i said yes to the former and no to the latter. and how has it felt after i have made the decision, how has it felt in my body. can i learn to listen and turn off that chattering in my mind, the chattering that tells me that once i have embarked on a path or said what i am doing, that i must go on, or the one that tells me that i am undeserving of what truly calls, that i cannot make it, cannot do it, so i turn to something else, something that may be second or third or fiftieth choice, but i turn away and then i no longer hear. and sometimes i am not sure, and i let myself be led astray, or stay on something that does not feel right but for the moment gives me the illusion of safety or grandeur.    

And i think or my time out on the road, the way i travel around, camping, walking, hitching, travelling alone, and some tell me i am so daring but i do not feel that way, for what i do there is more within my comfort zone, it is familiar and known, not the all, but the actions, and in some ways i do it because i am afraid, i run, i do not face my fears. but at times i also wonder if some of it is my call, and maybe what i interpret as fears are rather big “no’s” but which is which and what is what for i no longer hear my call. what is it that god wants me to do – can i hear and listen at all, for what are temptations, the devil speaking, and what are true calls, what do i enter into out of avoidance of that negative, gnawing voice, and when am i being drawn towards the light?    

I had an imaginary conversation today, one of the many i have in my mind, those that occur when i am not in the here and now, but in another space that becomes much more real, and can in ways manifest itself in 3D. It was about jumping out of a plane, and how one feels fearful the first time (or so i would imagine never having done it myself) but one does it anyways. yes, one may be afraid, and while we all to often feel that we should not be, we are. and that it ok. yes, when we make the leap out into the unknown fear can happen, but to have faith as well, for faith can move you through. But the point was that while jumping out of planes can be a way to help you overcome your fears, it can also be used to avoid them. if you do it instead of say learning to bake the perfect pie that you feel called towards, to avoid that, it can be just that – avoidance – it may broaden your comfort zone, but it you keep on jumping out of planes because it is now familiar, and you are not passionate about doing it, you do it only because it is there and available, then it is avoidance, or it you then take chinese cooking lessons, food writing, fruit growing etc it can be moving you closer to your heart, but it you keep on skirting the area then you still do not get there (this all seemed so much clearer and more elequant in my mind earlier today, and now as i am typing this, something rings false, my joints are becoming condensed once again0    

If one truly hears the heart and the word of god, does fear truly disappear? what would that be like? Can i imagine it? envision it? or just have faith that it is true. i think of my bodily changes, how over the past several months my shoulders have gone floppy a few times, and i never knew they could, i had learned that they could be stuck, or looser or tighter but never floppy, but now the body knows that is possible though it happens rarely, like the hips floppy, or the sacrum, or union with all – not always, or even often, but the awareness that it is possible. and following the call? how i have said no so many times, until now, and now i feel that i am left with nothing.    

I stop to play solitaire, over and over again, and get into that anxious buzzing zone, and realize how it feels and name it and realize ust how addictive and damaging it is.    

Here i retreat, retreat into myself, into that zone in the mind. i become less at peace rather than more as i am drawn to introspection. i focus on the body, but then become divorced, engage in conversations, but little that is deep, spend time in fantasy land, just as when i was settled in eugene and even seaside, but that was at least a board on the internet. on the road i am more present having to deal with the here and now, but past and future overtakes.    

______________-    

How many times have i said “i can’t”, and how often do i get in the zone of believing it? When do i say “i can’t” meaning “it’s not for me, i don’ t want to or i won’t” – and i have done that so often that i can rarely tell the difference between the two. But how much have i done – and the answer is quite a bit. And i have ended up places and doing things that i put out there.    

__________-    

I feel a call – to another land – but is my home really here – in this place, on this continent, but still i feel that there is no place to rest my head. and i see how far i have drifted and have lost my call and connection – my connection to the divine and the source of energy that is light, and i call in the light, and the lord. i sat beneath the falls and prayed and sang today, sang a song of angels, sang the voices through, sang the spirit through and i felt lifted and i felt light.    

____________________    

I tried to leave for several days – but each morning i would feel sick, cry, panic and i knew my body was telling me no. but i heard the comments “are you still here” and turned and cowered and wanted to run. I just want a place where i will be invited in and invited to join, and i wonder if the kindness of some was a way of doing that and i did not see. Still the “are you still here?” hurt for i now realize that i have learned or come to believe over time that the best way i can contribute is to move on – go away, hide away, keep away. And i just want to be asked to join on in, for someone to say, alice, we want you here, here is where you belong, here is where you can shine.    

and being away i have lost that connection to my body and my soul, but i cannot take and not give in return. and i need to believe that someone wants me to give, for i can no longer sit on the edge. And i do not want to descend further into the darkness, that which i see around, and that which lingers within, but i need to bring forth the light and pray that i am capable of doing so. i need to know what it is to love and to be loved in return, for who i am.    

I stayed at harbin through my birthday, and then another day as well, but i left alone, those who knew me did not really even wish me well. had i been a dark splotch upon the place, overstayed my welcome there. but i am gone, and on the road, the road to nowhere it seems.    

Or is it on the road to somewhere – learning expereinces, and joining in – on a road that will lead me to that place where i can shine my light, and give, and not hide awat.

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I wanted to go to the top – to see what lay above this valley and i did. Now i ask myself why – to see i guess, but my energy is totally off kilter and has been since i got on the bus that took me there. I went up to Tuolumne Meadows – the first time here that it has been possible since the road is closed in winter – and the last shuttle out leaves tomorrow. So i did, said would spend more time in the valley before leaving to get a handle on the energies here, but i decided to go while i had a chance. Though my day was not good, perhaps i learned, and learned more easily than setting out on another venture. Still i spent most of the day riding buses.

The energy up there is different – intense and harsh. The boulders that have fallen down the walls feel like something out of an ancient war. And i think that the day before when i looked up from below, i had imagined this to be such a special place – a land of the gods who stand above the valley floor. And when i look around and feel the vibrations, i want to cry. and eventually i do.

it is a land where you feel that you should not live. It feels like much of the sierras, like much that lay to the other side – i feel a presence of the ancients, and of a destruction and horror, and i feel that energy lingering there. I felt the energy of the solid sheer rock mounds and domes at the east end of tenya lake, the lake that felt like a vortex. The lake was beautiful and called to me as we passed it on the road, and the domes called from afar, and it was an oasis in the land up there.

I felt off going up on the bus, full of long distance hikers, a certain vibe of toughness and endurance and going all the way. and i felt out of place on that bus, as i do in camp with the rock climbers, and as i did on the coast with the cyclists – for i am not one of them – that is ok, but it is. but why do i end up in places where i am not with my people?

I panic as the bus goes on – where to get off as i do not want a long hike down – just where is the most beautiful. It is flatter up here and open and dry. this is the yosemite wilderness and the highlands over 8000 feet up. This is totally a different zone than the valley down below. I ride the bus to the end and talk with the driver – she points out a few hikes but a couple up slippery rock or just through the trees. i do not know what i am doing here – i came unprepared, and feel that i should have gotten off sooner.

I felt lonely in these lands once again – yes, parking lots with cars, but a stark wilderness. I feel like i have when i have gone too far out – most recently east of crescent city, in the yukon, elsewhere – into the wilderness not only of the lands but of the spirit as well. i realize that i prefer a more tamed landscape, one that is created in part by us humans, working with nature, created for purpose. but what have i created or contributed to any of this – nothing i tell myself. i try to focus on the feelings here – but i long for my imagined east of small towns close together, hills that are much more climbable, a gentler landscape. And i retreat into myself and illusions.

i sit by the lake and look at the hills and see faces there – one dome appears almost inhuman with the monkey like face i have seen in places before – a creature caught in stone, or alive guarding the place. I go out to the road and wait for a shuttle that does not run on schedule. i begin to panic and to cry – will i be stuck up here? I want to leave. i do not know what i am doing here, what i am looking for. I shiver inside and out though the day is warm – my face contorts and i am tense. i am so far off kilter and i do not understand why. is it the land? is it me? was i really thinking of crossing over to the harsher drier side? Just what is contained in this place? The meadows themselves feel like a dried up lake and i feel so exposed and raw up here.
The shuttle comes and it is the driver to the other bus that will take me on down to the valley below. on the return the bus is almost empty and i stare out at the rocks and look at what is there. I had become lost in the fear in my mind. Still i see a crumbled world of the ancients, a horror where some see beauty, a world collapsed and division and discord. I am back to the off feeling of the lower ranges and of north of truckee, where is seems like something went of so wrong, the crackling energy i have felt when crossing this range. The land is rocks and trees, and further down, just into the valley, the remains of a fire zone, burnt but slowly coming back to life. and i wonder, is the valley what remains of the ancient civilization, was it their church of sorts, an oasis, or what they have been called on to guard, for i think of the faces on north dome and beyond. There is something deeper going on in these mountains, and that foreboding of sierraville returns.

And i feel that i should not have felt this. Others say this area is great. I believe that i will be told that it was something i am carrying with me, something that is amplified up here. to an extent that is true, for i had slept ill the night before. But i have felt this way in similar lands so maybe it is an interaction of it all. I reach the bottom in the valley and feel like a hollowed out soul, feel like i have been through the wringer though i barely walked or hiked at all. I eat and sit inside and go back to camp, and the valley does not seem the same to me. I feel that its “sacredness” has come at a high price, and wonder if it’s life comes from draining that which is around. the following morning I explore the valley from below, and feel like i have come back to where i am meant to be and am thankful that i am here.

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Vernal falls trail –
This place is another world. walking up the hill i feel different and lighter and i know it is not just the effort i have exerted. On the bus ride in, we pass through el portal – the portal and enter into another zone – rock formations are more prominent, trees change and all becomes more alive. The valley is a special world, a fantasy land we come to; passing through harsher lands on all sides to get here; protect the area, falls of civilizations, the remains.

I felt my energy shift and loosen as I headed up the trail and something profound around, but i did not feel transported to another dimension as before. Had the last time been a random chance, or was i ready for god’s grace at the time? Did i need then to be shown the absolute, a strong vision in order to believe, just as my body, heart and soul must scream loudly before i listen? Has the energy shifted here as on the coast? Or are there certain times where it is more active – an interaction of the earth with the stars, planets, sun and sky? given the profound astrological alignments of the past year, how has the earth been altered? Or do i not see it now because i had not purified myself? but then again had i last time?

I climb higher – the mist trail is open – climb the steep steps to the top of Vernal Falls. Another world opens up of pools of water and stone. The water is calm and the pools feel contained, and the mountains glisten across the way. I sit in the new land that i have discovered and think about heading further on up to another land. Nevada Falls lay above and i head up a trail and watch them from a distance – from the bridge that crosses the stream. The trail leads to the top, and to what is most certainly another land.

I am near the top of the bridge above the emerald pools and i feel off kilter once again. I do not continue the hike up to the top of Nevada Falls -I am confused, I say no. It does not feel right – but i watch so many others crossing over, my mind starts to chatter – why do i avoid going to the top. If i dont go, am i a wimp? That is how i feel. I know it leads up, to another zone i cannot see, another portal perhaps? The place of lords or others? but i do not feel like going – is it that i am afraid to make the effort? I feel that i cannot make it there – i am tired. I am confused. I walk over the bridge and the path veers away from the river into the drier woods where all i see is trees. A man is yelling on his cell phone. Two hikers come down looking sad and tired. I pause for a while and turn back again, recrossing the bridge and sit on the rock slope that overlooks the stream.

I sit and smoke and feel calm as i look out. Maybe this is as far as i am meant to go. I feel good here now. Maybe i will just write for a while. My water bottles drop out of the pockets on my bag and role down the sloping rock face where i sit and into a gully and disappear from view. Is this a sign? Fate determined? I know now that i was right. i am resigned. I want to stay here but i feel thirsty in the sun. i think i can make it down to the bottom of vernal falls where a fountain provided water to drink. I turn back.

I walk out to the bridge that crosses the stream to look up to Nevada Falls one more time. I see my water bottles down below on a ledge and am relieved they did not go flying over the falls. I can reach the ledge, i do not have to turn back. I scramble down a space between the boulders to get to them and return to where i was sitting. still undecided. will i be mad at myself if i turn back? Is being able to retrieve them a sign that maybe i just need to take a little step? I had given up, but then i looked beyond. Am i just out of my comfort zone? Or is something telling me a bigger no? The sky changes and clouds come in, just a few but…. the trail on the other side veers away from the creek into the woods – i stare at the dome. I don’t know what i feel? Peace seems to have disappeared. Is it merely a loosening of the stuff inside?

I go back to the bridge and cross it again – two girls are in front of me – they ask an older man how far it is to the top of the falls. He has a map. he and his wife had just walked a few more minutes on – to the bottom of the falls – and have decided to take another route. i go that far, a glimpse of beauty and then turn around – content and at peace.

Going down i am glad i did – my legs feel a bit like jelly. I slip on a step – not enough to fall, but enough to know i did my share. I admire the rainbows once again at the bottom of vernal falls, rest for a while on a boulder by the creek lovely. I am smiling when i come to the bottom of the trail.

(in the week that follows, i wonder if i should go back and try for the top but i never do, in fact, i do not get up to the emerald pools again)

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Yosemite walls
Yosemite walls – when we come into this valley they are what we come to see, to admire and perhaps, even to worship. To awe at their magnificence, their grandeur, their diversity. And every where we turn, there is another – a sheer cliff, another with water pouring down, a dome, a craggly edge, and they surround us, and contain us. At dawn some light up becoming brighter while others across the way are still shadowed in the dark, and cast their shadows across the valley floor. Later on, as the day ends, those which were the darkest at dawn, glow orange with the fading sun. And in the moon some are iridescent, a silver of sorts, the shapes and ledges in the rocks taking on a life of their own. but they are still walls.

If you were born here in the days before tourism, would you imagine that this was the entire world? Would you leave the valley, walk the steep paths up the mountain sides or scale the walls? Would this be a right of passage or would it be discouraged or even forbidden – the up there the land of the gods or the deep dark unknown? Would it be a place where only a few would go out and return telling tales of other lands, lands so different from what you see. Lands that do not contain the magic of this cathedral of sorts, lands which provide a vista of it all, lands that are harsher and less dramatic than this. Would you believe them? would you want to go on out to explore or would you want to stay within?

The mountain sides define this valley, make it what it is. They contain its energy and define its boundaries and create a world within – a world with a life of its own for from the valley floor you cannot see what is beyond. Do you stare at the walls? do you focus on what is inside? Are you contained? Do you seek to discover what may lay beyond?

I was called to spend several days in Yosemite Valley and in my time there i looked at the walls and within, felt contained,wanted to stay forever and wanted to escape – not only the walls of the valley, but of the walls that surround myself. I said that i needed to look at and clear the energy inside of my container and found myself unconsciously coming here for i knew this place was special with an energy and life all of its own.

I spend days looking at the walls from a variety of vantage points – in the morning i look at the cliff side that is Yosemite falls and watch the sun rise above, i travel around the valley, out to the area near bridal veil falls and admire El Captain and how it changes depending on where you stand, in the evening i watch the sun set over half dome, and in the moonlight i look at the wall that forms the backdrop to camp 4 where i stay. I stand in meadows which are like large rooms, alone for a moment, and feel like i am in a magical world held in and nurtured by what is around, i meditate and see shapes and faces in the rocky facades. I seek out vantage points that will provide different views, and see how the walls change over the time of day and have a life of their own. i walk back from the meadow near the swinging bridge and the mountain seems to move back and forth back and forth as i move forward and recede. And i watch the water trickle or stream down these walls from above. I love these walls, they are magic to me but then they can start to close in. And become just walls; walls that i cannot see beyond, like the walls of a room or perhaps myself.

I’m staring at walls, these walls are grand and majestic, stunning with a life of their own, mineral content, patches of trees, multiple textures but they are walls nonetheless. they are not like those in a dim room – the typical grey walls of despair, but i am in a grand valley and staring at walls nonetheless.

These are but walls – walls of illusion, like the walls that surround us, contain our souls. At times when the mountains have appeared almost transparent despite the granite density that we say (know) is there. And i wonder what life they contain inside, what lay within and if i could only pass through and in. At times they look flat against the sky, and image in 2D – a veil that could lift at any time, or that you could pass through -but alas, i cannot magically slip through.
Up above is another world, and while we might not imagine this valley is here, but once in we do not imagine there is a beyond, do not imagine it although movement in and out of here is great. A few roads leads in and merge at the final moment of entry into the valley, where there is only one way in and out by car. Otherwise it is an immense journey, up and over the top, up, and up some more though the trails are there. It is a large effort, and others, predecessors have carved the roads, (as well as made the trails) for us.

I stare at the walls and imagine what might lay above – a different world, one of the gods. I imagine a land of the gods that is even grander than this valley. I understand the climbers and what it means to climb the walls in a figurative sense. trails lead up from the valley floor, up to a variety of vista points. this time i said i would stay within, spend several days in this container. And people make steep hikes of endurance to half dome, the top of yosemite falls, nevada falls, glacier point and more, hikes up thousands of feet so that they may get a glimpse of the valley below, this valley where i am. These hikes to the top are the point of coming here for so many, the trails that challenge you and reward you with a vision beyond what you imagined from below.

My times here have been mainly spent in the valley – many times where there is snow up above and roads and trails are closed. I was up at glacier point a year ago in december before the road had closed, and looking down over the valley and to the mountains across the way i was in a very different place. But without a car, i was not about to make the four mile climb up there. And i have turned back on the trails before, here and elsewhere, never quite making it to the top. In fact in my times in many mountain areas, i have preferred the valley hikes to those that take you up above to lookouts over the land and sea. But now that i write i realize that i have appreciated the larger views and vistas from above as well as from below.

Most of us live in valleys though and i know i have generally preferred the valleys. Now i wish to look out and beyond and see the vastness of the land. But the climb is arduous – maybe that is it – the climb is long and need to exert effort to get there. it takes effort to reach the peaks. And i turn back every time.

But i stare at the walls and they begin to close in – i want to see what is above on this north and east side of the valley – a place i have never been. i want to know, i cannot see and must rely on my imagination – i could look at photos but i do not. How i once yearned to be contained by walls, nurturing, holding me tight. now they confine, and close on in, is it that i do not like what is inside, or that i have spent too long in this place.

i take the shuttle to tuloume meadows on the tioga road, a road that has been shut on each of my visits before the one road that leads out of the park, through the highlands, to the east. I break my vow of spending five day in the valley without taking a bus out of its bounds. But the shuttle service will end the next day, a day where there could be rain. we ascend and see the land below – a brief vista at olmstead point but the bus drives on through. I have less time than i thought and end up around a lake surrounded by walls – the bus is full of hikers making long difficult hikes down to the valley floor.

the energy is different up there, and i feel off kilter, i have felt off since we left the valley. i stare at new walls and flat lands and feel the harshness of the place. I feel trapped and panic as i wait for a shuttle to take me back to the bus, panic that i will not be able to get back down. Am i meant to spend time in the valley where i said i would stay for a while, am not meant to go to the highlands, to focus on the container within? Is this the difference between what we call and introvert and an extrovert? But once below i feel content and safe and realize once again just how special the valley is.

The valley is more than the walls that contain. It is a sacred place, a cathedral, and i feel its spirit each time i arrive – the specialness that it is. it has a rich and diverse life inside, one that springs up and lives its life here – the trees and plants, many of the animals – the deer, the squirrels, the bears, flowers in the spring and so much more. It is rich and the dance of life and energy is intense. In the valley all energy is amplified – the all of it, bouncing off the steep granite walls. This is why i feel the highs and lows so intensely here. Why have i stayed in valleys so often before – they are containers – contain all. The walls that are but a container for the rich life inside, and here in Yosemite the valley is so rich and sacred.

And i look and interact with the life forms here and i like the other people who come in are but part of the rich dance that makes up this place. I ignore the walls and do not see that they are there. I sit by the river on a rock or on the beach, walk trails beneath magnificent trees – the ponderosa pines that stand majestic, the incense cedars and so many more and notice a leaf on a bus that has started to turn. I watch the deer who feed on bushes and the squirrels who seek out human food. I see a bear across the river, and walk and climb on boulders that are around. I smell the trees, listen to the water, the wind blow the needles on the trees, the sounds of others that are around. i feel the coolness of the air at night and the heat of the sun at midday. I talk to others and smile as i walk along the paths. I enter into other containers – the shuttle bus, a store, a resto, my tent, and of course myself, and spend time looking inwards as well as out, exploring the life that is in there, the essence of what i am.

While i focus on the rich life inside, i soon realize that although i cannot see out, all is so interconnected. I sit by the river that still runs, knowing that it has come down the cliffs from above. The waterfalls that feed the life below and make the park so famous have come from the meltoff of snow and streams above. The rocks and boulders that lay about, were once carried here by ice long ago or have come tumbling down the walls so much more recently, and the pebbles and sand by the beach have been carried on down. I look up and see the sun which shines on the life below and on the walls – bringing them to life as well, and at night the moon, and the stars that twinkle in the sky. I see a cloud And i see how this container is so linked with what is beyond, but all blossoms with such a life within.

although the walls contain the energy and magnify it, energy also turns on over. four roads into the park – one roughly from each direction, the merge into a single road that leads in and out of the valley. from here the people come and go, bringing in and taking out the energy that they are – and like a cathedral the energy can become transformed in this place. And also transform what is within – adding life, building, creating the villages, campgrounds, roads, and trails. Joining with nature, overcoming it, appreciating it, transforming it. The walls limit and help define the flow of life, holding it and nurturing it inside, allowing the blossoming of life, and making yosemite valley a sacred place for they amplify what goes on inside and define the valley that is.

The valley is a container and i find myself here, to learn to value what is within, the life inside. I realize how porous i am at times – energy entering from all directions instead of on certain paths. I see that i must nurture myself, but also grow and transform what is within. What flows in also flows out, like the river that flows from this place, like the road that takes people away as well as in – ideally transformed, remembering this special place, renewed and enlightened by it, and sharing its wonder with others and glowing a little bit more. And can i be like this, linked to all but contained, transforming energy and shining a light out onto the world.

It is time to leave the valley – i am ready but i am sad. this place has nurtured me and confronted me as i have stared into its walls, scales peaks within and then plunging into the depths. the valley leads me inwards, but it is time to step and flow on out. And as i ride the bus to the lowerlands, i admire these walls one last time (for now).

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