Archive for the ‘Washington’ Category

I went into the realm of the intelligentsia the other day, that place of devotion to the mind. While my visit took place in the physical realm, a given place and time, it was also a journey into that head space that i know all too well. It was a journey i had looked forward to, to a place i felt cast out of, and i place i thought i had unwillingly left behind. But it was a room filled with mirrors, my reflection all around. Although i felt disconnected and critical of what was there, like i did not belong, and i also saw myself reflected in so many of the mirrors. Upon reflection i did see, that part of what i was rejecting was me, and i also saw the reasons why i had to move beyond. And the answers, subject to change, were not those that i expected to find.

The physical place was an office loft just down the street from Pioneer Square. The purpose – a “house party” for an evolutionary worldview seminar from Enlightenment Next magazine. It sounded ideal, a place to gather in the study of consciousness. I arrived just at 8am, or 11 eastern time, when the conference was to begin. A thin woman in preppy dress let me into the building and i took the elevator upstairs and walked down the hall into the office loft where the party was about to begin. Comfortable blue cushioned stacking chairs were set out in three rows in front of the projection screen, and a couch stood on each side. I walked in and looked around, was barely greeted and sat down. The people, a mix of men and women, were neither young nor old, but seemed all unto their individual selves, notepads out and staring at the screen. The tone was understated, the men all had short hair, the women wore little if any makeup, and all wore sensible expensive shoes. And i recognized my face in theirs. One woman played on her laptop, i thought to get the image on the screen, she seemed frustrated, and so I offered that my link was in my email. We have the audio, she offered up, i’m just looking for the interactive page. I was surprised to learn that this was an audio rather than a telecast.

The conference had just begun, so i listened in to the introductions that seemed to go on and on. It was weird staring at a screen listening to disembodied voices chatter on. I told myself if was like talk radio – CBC or NPR – talk shows which i miss – but then as the day progressed, i felt more and more something amiss. The introductions and the first talk were long, and despite all the words often nothing was really said. It had been a while since i had been around the chattering class, and while the term escaped me for a while, i understood why it applied. It took forever to get to a point, if one was ever made.

Instead the speech was full of repetition of the buzz words – evolutionary, post-modern, leading-edge, to dialogue, transcend, cosmic, consciousness, shared cultural values, complexity, irony and more- and at least two adjectives or adverbs proceeded every noun or verb. But it is the vocabulary and jargon of the class, the syntax or i forget the word, that defines who is on the inside and who is out. And i remembered how this academic vocabulary often bothered me for they formed the walls of the ivory tower and helped create a disconnected insular world – a world that called me but that also left me feeling separate from all the was around – for we would study and pontificate but really never join in or truly understand. It is a world apart though enmeshed in the whole.

And as the dialogues went on, responses from the audience began to fill the screen – twittered or tweeted or otherwise chatted in, and a globe with flags showing where people were listening from appeared on the bottom of the screen. Perhaps i am no longer of the post-modern world which they seek to grow, for i wished to focus and listen and not multi-task shifting my attention from the voices to the written words and the images that filled the screens. At the end of each segment a few phone calls would come in, and a conversation would occur, but within the room people did not chat or otherwise connect. Photos would occasionally pop up of the house parties around the globe and they appeared very much the same. But to me all felt so disembodied and disconnected, despite the apparent interaction, cut off. Or is it just me who is disconnected from this world – or am i. For in the realm of the intelligentsia interaction occurs more with ideas and knowledge rather than with people per se.

But is this what interaction and connection has become about in the post modern age, and maybe they are correct and i have fallen behind the times – for there is more connection that before, and it is i who feels so cut off. I sit in hostels and many city centers and all are in front of their laptops, something that i have recently joined in and people do not really connect with the others in the room, but spent their times on facebook and more, connecting so much beyond what i do. And they twitter and chat on the cell phones, connect to the world through technology. And it is just me who stands outside again, not connected in this way.

And many of the ideas, while not revolutionary were certainly worth pondering, but i felt it was mainly coming for the head. Is that what consciousness is all about?. But i look at myself and i see how i lead my life in that way too, and maybe what i see is more a reflection of me, than just what is going on. Or did i join with my peers, who are similar, gathering in this realm. For some are connected personally. One man was desperate for human connection, kept pushing for a time and place to meet, the answers he was given were evasive, never really coming to a point. The people who are here want to join in something larger than themselves, for what would be the point in coming here, if not for that. But i left alone and as isolated as when i arrived.

It is critical and i became a judge, judging others as myself. Few looked alive, with tight-drawn faces, sensible shoes (the uniform that i just bought) and clothes, which for women have the correct amount of flare, the intellectuals where life is lived in the head, more khakis – reptilian people. Short hair, but not too short, on the men. And maybe that is what turned me off, but i recognized myself in many of their faces. But the smooth voices and philosophical language helped place me on the outside. And i realize that is what i have always been an outsider who has wanted to climb in – or have i. am i one who they know will rock the boat, criticize and poke holes in the new paradigm. For i always said i wanted a sociology outside the academic walls, but also of the walls of the cultural class. But at the same time i know i feel the pain of not being let in those very walls that i wish to knock down, for it is not necessarily the inside that i wish to eliminate, but the walls themselves that divide us all, and that separate me. The talk of the complexity, but i feel they complicate all with the nuances of speech, but then i too get impatient with simplistic answers.

The focus is on the creative impetus, for we are creators of our world now and in the future. But with the primacy on creation there is a dismissal or disrespect of those who serve, reflected in this ideology and in our society as a whole. For the talk is of leaders, creators, but those who do the daily work left by the wayside. And in our society the great divide, those who serve downward wages, and the reciprocity of roles diminished – the cooks and clerks and cleaners and drivers of the world, those who silently work to look after those who create. And it is not just monetary but in attitude. I have felt it as I slipped on down (see look how I phrase it) the belief that is felt that the “others” do not know and in doing so there is a creation of the others. And some of it is related to the feminist revolution, the movement away from being a caretaker to a creator, and not realizing there are many who still do, and the relations are now distant, no longer intimate. And is not serving a giving of the heart?

It was out here, back in 2001, that I felt the divide, and the view that there were coming to be two types of people. was it greater here, or that I had left my comfort zone? The citified thin people well dressed in new cars, and those who lived in run down bungalows and trailers around, in sweats and jeans, and larger form, not seeing then the energy stagnating within – for the roles were lost, not only monetarily, but a role of fitting into society. Or is it a lack of respect for all i see, by those with power and money?

But the areas that belong to the cultural are often beacons of light, they are not just the new condo lands, soulless, like belltown, soma, yaletown and more, but also homes and gardens and food and events. And as I discovered yesterday, are pretty too. but not just the post-modern role, for have been like this for different incarnations – maybe not just monetary, but those who are allowed to create. Is this just my own bias, for there also live there many who serve, but who serve from above and not below.

And it seems ironic that I experience this here in Seattle which has seen the waves and the fallout of the shifts – from transport and a port and shipping and a gold rush town to Boeing and aerospace, to the computer revolution, green and rise of the cultural creative class. As they say in the spiral of development many sectors exist simultaneously, but in the evolutionary paradigm, with the idea of levels they are at the top, the pinnacle of what is to be achieved.

And the gaps i see in Seattle help show what the best ideas can do if they are merely from the head. And maybe this is the mirror i saw, overdeveloped in the head and less in the heart – the knowing what is right, but without always the feeling. The reserve and the constraint i sense in this environment a result of this, not feeling too hard or much – yes, shut down the darker side, but is merely repressed and that repression shuts out the light as well. The control, the clippyness as all brews beneath the surface, out of touch and knowing it, could it be the grand waking up. But without love and the heart there is little to be achieved, and i wonder if this was what was missing here – some discussion but more as a sidebar.

And with the discussion of evolution and stage of development, with hierarchy where one stands above, the cultural creatives, post-modern beings on top, i could not but help if what they wanted to create was the post modern version of the Leninist vanguard of the proletariat, a revolution to serve all but with intellectuals at the leading edge. Or is it a movement, possibly unconscious, for those who thrive to maintain their leading place. In a world where many feel lost, is this not intellectuals carving out a role, a break from tradition, but a continuation of the same. The talk was for evolutionaries the leaders of the new post-modern enlightenment. And does not the vision of a leading edge create the us and them that a unified consciousness transcends – for we all are part of a whole.

Evolution is defined as a developmental process, a transition of the view of the world as static and unchanging to one that is in process. But I wonder who they argue against; I know the enlightenment thought that ruled for so many years, but in many ways was just the blink of an eye in human history. what is new is not the idea or change, for instance Buddhism says that all is temporary, but what is still new is the idea of direction, and one that as humans that we can control – but can we control it?.

But the evolution of today is that which lay within, and not just without. The issue is when he talks about the shared cultural values, the perspective of all becoming more complex, and the new impetus and technology that allow us all to share. While that is true, but the emphasis on sophistication, self-aware being and levels of development leaves out and behind the greatest energy of love.

they talk of the leading edge as what began in the 1960s for those with privilege, wealth, education and freedom and the focus on the individual, the big me. and is not this paradigm shift a message to those of us who caught in the dialogue that the isolated me is but a myth, and so many never went here, but is it a stage of development, or is it a sidebar in humanity. the me generation removed the shackles but is now feeling lost not knowing the next step. But the impetus is to keep on moving, though still really not knowing how or where. But you can’t go back, and that is true, but how much can you pick up of what was thrown away. So the next steps are but a continuation of the path you have set yourself on. In the traditional world view you knew who you were and what your purpose was here on earth, but as we broke off the shackles that were destroyed and not so many are wandering lost.

and am I just a prime example of the post modern dilemma – of someone who got lost along the way, and are not my movements not just indicative of the times, and some will argue a time I chose to be born into. And that is what they define – the post modern individual. The opening of the interior landscape but when is it just narcissistic self obsession? And how to we move beyond to truly connect?

There is a focus on expanding knowledge, but what is defined as knowledge is according to the existing paradigm – it is the history according to one particular class, but given that all is intertwined many live it, but there are many other knowledges that exist outside, maybe not accepted by the intellectuals whose roles as they see it is to guide.

many worldviews exist in the same culture, in the same locale, and thus within us too. the traditional, empire, modern and post-modern all exist simultaneously and are interconnected. But when we speak of levels of development and talking to their needs, yes need to acknowledge all, but is it to lead people to the next stage, or to integrate and value what is there, not as behind or in the past, for in doing so are we that different after all. I look like a lot of the people, people who rule from the heads instead of the hearts, the intellectuals of the world, and that is why this focus on consciousness is as so. And I wanted to write that it is stripping the spirituality away, but is that it? And are those I judge like myself, trying to move away from the intellect, growing slowly with a heart consciousness, and I believe some are. Or was my trip there to show the limits in the intellectual focus I desired and had.

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Today finds me back in seattle and the rains continue to pour down. This morning and last night i sat on Vashon and felt i could crawl inside no more. But then this morning i felt like i wanted to stay to spend some time meditating and healing the self, but two large groups were coming in for the weekend, one taking over the barn with all of its common space, and the other was large and would fill the other inside. So i decided to leave rather than spend time out in the teepee in the rain. Though i wish to reach out and connect, being a lone individual in a hostel or places full of groups generally leads me to feel more lonely as they are connected and you are outside.

So i left the solitude of the place and am back in the city for one night, but felt disconnected and off kilter, trying to figure out where to go. And that is where i am, in decision zone, neither here nor there or anywhere, but retreating into a now panicked mind, for this hostel is booked up tomorrow and i am drawing a blank on future connections and nothing calls me forth. and i think i am emptied out. I have reentered that stressed out nervous zone of the body and mind, not focused, jittery energy but not alive. This is a nervousness that has been upon me many times before, when planning, when neither here nor there, when the bubble is still around but the inside is not still.

I did not let go of places and that is why i am still here – stuck in this rut. I had alaska on my mind since i arrived in back the USA, and though i knew i did not want go to there, i did not let it go and it consumed space that could have been used to bring forth a new idea and life. and i am here because i wanted to write about my past journeys instead of continue the journey forward and beyond. and how many times have i not let go gently of what lay behind, i bring the strings with me, caught up in the web, and then when i can stand it no longer, i try to destroy what has held me bound, will i learn just to move on and if i am truly to return, to return and if not to just go on when a place still is dear to me. for now, i want to leave the northwest, but i cannot see how to move out.

this morning i thought live for the now, don’t be imprisoned by the past. But my mind now wanders into old ruts, and old patterns as storms gather all around. that was yesterday now, and i spent the night tossing and turning barely awake, still not knowing what to do. And this is the nervousness that is destroying me. I went into the smoking room, and the devil was playing there, so much dark energy around, people drinking and getting high, and it makes me fear that i will sink down. For i see the down of indecision and impasse. I sit in a cafe writing unable to eat the breakfast they provide, and just don’t know how much longer i can survive. for my mind takes me back on down the coast, alternatives shut off and i don’t know what to do. Can i move on, or did i blow the chances, all those times i have not let go.

the day is grey, rain threatens again – where is the summer time that is due to come? i ask myself should i have stayed with the huge groups and i know the answer is no, but that is how i do not let things go. i think of the south, california and beyond, for that was the last place i was content, but i also spent much time off kilter there. the last time i felt alive, and talked with others and that is what made the place. And while i wanted to move beyond the bubble the stillness of the country rain, now i want to crawl back in again – for the bubble still surrounds, but it is no longer a calm friendly place. Lord, please help me today.

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It’s a rainy day at the hostel on vashon island. It is quiet here and i crawl inside and memories of rainy days spent elsewhere come upon me. It is not the activity, or inactivity, i remember so much as the mood, and the desire to crawl within. I have slept a lot in my time here, and my body returns to a familiar sluggishness that comes with the rain and darker days. but it is spring now, and days get longer, and as i write this at 8:43 the sun still has not set. But i feel heavier now, like i did after my deep nap my first day here, that deep afternoon sleep where you wake up and your entire body is deeply creased from the clothes and blankets that dug in, and you wonder how you pressed so heavily so as to be marked so deep.

While the sleep was much need with the journeys into that other world and an emptiness of mind, when i lay too long the sadness creeps in and wants to settle inside. And why is this i ask? need it be so? And the answer is really – i don’t know. I know in theory it need not be, but it is such a familiar feeling returning to me. i have felt this way in my body and energy on so many rainy days spent inside before.

this morning as i prepared my heavier breakfast of oatmeal, i stared out the window as the clouds blew over the sun and lines of rain began to fall. A memory of a place and time long forgotten came upon me – a few rainy days at the Cosmic Cow Hostel south of Naniamo where i first WOOFed in April 2002. They were days of people and alone gathered inside against the rain, many movies watched and some talk, and trips outside to walk in the woods. While the landscape is similar, though more rural there, it was the heaviness and condensation in my body that brought on that memory. And with it came many others, in various country locations on Vancouver Island and the BC coast, rainy days in Tofino, courtenay, and Sechelt where i felt much the same, and i realized that for a long time this felt normal to me. But even then i knew something was off.

I know it is not just the pacific northwest, for times in the fall in the east came to me, a weekend reading in bed in montreal, and some endless days spent at pams outside of Buffalo. What these days have in common, is that they were lazy days where i could give into the feelings and crawl inside for awhile. After all is this not what rainy days are about? I watched a good movie from the collection of videocasettes, and drank tea and napped for a while.

When i arrived here in the sun my energy already felt denser to me, but the weather had already begun to shift that day; earlier there were periods of clouds and rain and the temperature had dropped several degrees. But i stood outside and stretched my body out, a little bit of yoga and qigong – neither of which i had done in a while. And it felt so good, for i had gotten into a zone in my head, and i have remembered to do some since i have been here. But this morning it felt more like a desperate quest, to move something along that was settling inside – a dense unease. Though i have meditated, but not as much as planned and sang to myself, still i feel the crawling or hiding within. but is this not a time to do just so, to assimilate and process the activities of late – is that not why we have rain and winter, a time to slow down and move inside.

For often when life is full of activity, outside and/or within, i have craved a rainy day where i could just be unto myself (or ideally with a loved one, and maybe that is the point). As i was writing this i remember some days camping in the rain, the days i rejoiced the chance just to sit in my tent, read, meditate, sing and sleep, integrate and process all that was in me. But after a while i also rejoiced (or craved) the sun and the ability to journey back out again.

And i know that at times rains are welcomed, and rejoiced upon, bringing an end or a release to what has building up, releasing heavy pressure or a crackling dry and nurturing the earth. But it is not the summer rains or thunderstorms i write about, but the cool constant rains of the northwest and similar locales or the rains of the fall.
These rains can become a weight holding you down, and while it need not be so, i am not alone in this feeling i know. The rain in the city is different quality altogether as it bounces off concrete and splashed upon you. For i remember the depression that came upon me in Vancouver and Victoria and elsewhere. But i think the difference is not only in the terrain, but in the level you are able to integrate the rain – to be with it outside or to journey to that space within.

I think of my last time in Seaside in an early rainy spring when i stayed about a week. sun had been predicted for two weekends before, but the rain had continued on and winter was getting stale. All everyone talked about how there would be sun for the weekend coming up, and i could sense the desperation in their voices. I felt that if there had been another weekend of rain, all would have a collective breakdown, But the sun did come and you could feel the mood shift as people looked up and walked with a bounce in their steps, smiling as they went along, and this is something i have detected many places after a long bout of rain.

But i also remember one weekend in Seward, where the sun did shine after 10 days of rain (and before another 17 but we did not know that then) where the town seem to crackle that day, as people let loose what they had been holding inside. i later heard that i was one of many who briefly walked off their jobs that day. And i remember the crackling of an energy shift that has happened several times as i have crossed over the mountains away from the coast leaving the heavy comfort behind. So different expressions can be released when it lifts.

I think some of my feelings might be the duration of the journey within – not merely with the rains, but with my life more broadly for i remember my time in ireland where the days of heavy rain alternated with those of sun and grey, and i was able to truly appreciate all. i also was more active and expansive there. So the journey within and the days to reflect were a balance to those i journeyed out. i is not merely what i do with the days, to reach for the beyond and bring joy and transform inside, but also the question if i spend too much time there. And i feel like i have spent too much time in that cave within.

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The pond is a world of its own. Birds flutter about with narrow pointed wings. an eagle soars and dives into the water, snatching something behind one of the hundreds of lilipads with bright yellow flowers that dot the surface. the pond is circled by densely packed trees in a second growth forest, mainly douglas firs, but a few across the way with bright shiny leaves. I cannot see beyond the perimeters of the pond, and thus it becomes contained unto itself. One cannot see beyond, and if one were born here, could one imagine that something lay outside. Today clouds form a layer above adding to the containment. Only the sound of planes above remind me that this is not all there is.

The pond is just a few minutes walk through forest paths from the hostel where i stay. But sitting here, or there, there is no indication that the other exists just a few hundred metres away. The hostel grounds with a huge lawn with teepees and camping spots are surrounded by a thick stand of douglas firs that you cannot see through, fronted by scotch broom in bloom. The trees form a barrier that encloses and marks the boundaries of the lawn containing what is within. If i had not once been told about the path that leads out, or seen the vaguely placed sign, would i have known the pond was there at all? Would i have walked the perimeter of the lawn, ventured around the edge, and found the path through the thick forest that leads to the world of the pond and beyond?

As i sat on a bench looking out on the lawn, before i ventured into the forest, i felt the trees closing in on me and realized that i have felt this way before. In many ways they form a fence or a wall, and all you are aware of is what is contained within. And they can seem to oppress and hold you in. There are no vistas to stretch the imagination, a visible place beyond where you may go or not. For this seems to be all there is. I feel less expansive here, closing in onto myself. At the same time I feel an urge to press on through but lack the vision of how and where, unable to see beyond. Nothing catches my eye or calls me forth. i see a barrier in front of me and i feel trapped.

When i came out here to the northwest i initially loved the denseness of the forests and many of the island channels and narrow valleys for they nurtured me and contained. I felt nurtured walking through the dense forest with is floor so lush and trees so grand. I wanted to crawl into narrow valleys, bays, sounds and fjords to receive the hug that they called forth. And in these locales i felt embraced, but then would feel the need to press beyond as the walls began to close in.

And the trees are forming one dense wall. I know there is a world beyond – after all i found the pond. But i do not see the paths, and there is nothing that calls. Do i need to crawl inside before i venture on out once again? I wished a place to rest and reflect, and i have done that to a certain extent. But i feel cut off and isolated and that barrier reminds me of that which sometimes exists between myself and the rest of the world. I know that all is interconnected, even that which is not visible at the time, and there is a way through.  but sometimes it is so hard to visualize when i cannot see the other side.

The hostel itself seems like the remnants of a dream, i can see the glory of what once was and imagine the days when it was full of life with all the teepees and wagons and dorm beds full. The hostel is still here and cared for with only a few guests, but the passion is gone . The place hangs on though the dream has died, and is that what i feel inside. Has the wall closed in on others too. But it is a wall of life, and one that can be passed through. And it can teach that the vision must come from inside – after all the pond is full of life.

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I sit in the field listening to songs – the songs of robins and other birds who fly and hop around. The sound is sweet to my ears, so pure and uplifting. Then a bee flies around my head with a buzz. It is so calming after the discordant cacophony of the city. Wind blows through tall douglas firs that mark the perimeter of the lawn.

I go into the woods or second growth forest around dusk and enter into the centre of a symphony in stereo sound. It is so engaging i almost feel it is played for me, but i know i am really irrelevant to the scene. Well, maybe except for the mosquitoes who buzz around my head, but they too are part of nature’s sound. I wish i knew the names of all the birds or how to write their individual sounds. It doesn’t matter anyhow, for one can still experience what one cannot name. Who says nature is quiet i ask to myself, as i immerse myself in the concert being performed.

I hear some voices and a dog bark in the distance and the occasional car pass by on the road, so i know i am not totally away from the sound of humanity. I go to bed early, just around dark, and listen to the wind blowing and the rain starting to lightly fall on the teepee i sleep in. I close my eyes to listen to the world around.

Then comes a dull roar and a screech in the sky, a heavy low growl up above. I imagine a giant bird, a monster or dragon of sorts, mouth open and gashing with pointy teeth, and arms with sharp claws. I listen and try to bury my head, but the roar continues on – all-pervasive above. It stops and starts and its sounds do vary – some louder, some softer but always with an industrial tone. For a moment, i feel like i have passed from heaven into hell. I am reminded that despite the angels’ songs and that i am on an island, i have not ventured truly away. The Sea-Tac airport is just across the water, and the planes pass over for a while. For a moment i am reminded of those nights i camped at Desolation Sound, on Whidbey Island just north of Seattle, and military planes practiced into the early evening hours, the screeches and screams and loud booms in the sky.

The next morning, I walk through the forest and stop to pause, mesmerized by the songs of the birds. A lone woman comes through on the path and asks me if i see anything. I say no i am just listening to the forest; it is so peaceful and calming after being in the middle of the city. She begins to respond, and then it comes, a roar up above, she gives a sigh and says yes, it is, some of the time.

I sit by the pond and listen again, an eagle joins into the concert, and different birds sing their songs, but then comes that noise again and for a moment drowns then all out. For a while it continues – a lower background noise – a contrast to the natural sounds around. The flying machines we humans have created emit a sound so different in vibration and tone than that of the flying creatures created by god. It makes me think about the power of sound, and wonder what we have done. With each i feel so different inside – one jangles my cells and i want to curl up and hide, and the other brings a smile to my face and i wish to dance around.

Can i block out just the noise of the planes overhead? If i wear earplugs, as so many do to sleep, then i cut out all sounds, and no longer hear the angels sing. Do i don headphones and listen to music as i walk through, but then too the angels cannot be heard, and i am so much more removed from all that surrounds. If i actively try to block the heavy industrial vibrations out, they become louder still, for my attention is there. I focus on the songs of the birds, and let the planes become background noise. Still, though i try to just let them be, i cannot be help but wonder what subtle effect they have on me, for all vibrations intertwine. But i remember the birds, and how they continue to sing so purely and sweetly beneath the roar of the sky, and i too begin to sing.

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City Disconnection

I leave Seattle in a few hours, on a grey day just like the one on which i arrived.  It has been just over two weeks in this area, less the five days in port townsend, but it seems like it has been forever. And my body and energy seem  to have returned to a previous time, for despite all my walking, i feel cut off from my body, living more in my head.

 Is it the seminar i went to the other day (which i still need to finish writing about), of consciousness and enlightenment and evolution, but from an intelligentsia perspective, and my mind spins and is rushed, while by body is separate, sluggish and sinking. My body feels more like it did during those years i spent as a student or in an office, the years i was so cut off from it, with the mind and body split at least in my consciousness.

Or is it the hostel where i stayed, the buzz of vibration felt even at night, chaotic city energy all around, and my sleep is shallow. I feel the electricity or the wifi or something pulse through my body at night. It awakens and dulls at the same time. And like the energy which comes from all directions, in so many different vibrations, my thoughts and mind spin around, and despite attempts at meditation i am not still. And maybe this helps explain the busyness and the focus on multi-tasking that you see in the urban world, so hard to concentrate on any one thing.

 So i go today, not far, to vashon island, really a suburb, where i have also been before, but where i can hopefully get some stillness, sort out the many thoughts bouncing around my head.

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It’s amazing what a difference a few blocks or a mile can make in a city. You can walk just a short distance and transport yourself to another world. From downtrodden poverty to yuppie riches, from the shore to the canyons of tall building to parks. From a zone where people come to visit or work to a neighbourhood where people live. And today i passed through all of that and discovered an area that was new to me only a few blocks from where i had trod before and that discovery of the “new” helped change my frame of mind (or perhaps because my mind needed to be changed, i stumbled onto something new.)

Actually i walked several different blocks today, but the first through belltown and the core and across the denny street bridge for the first time, but that seemed like more of the same, although i entered the new Whole Foods store. I wandered its aisles and explored, had eaten so i didn’t shop and was temporarily enthralled by what i had found and told myself i would stop back there. Although i had my morning coffee and played on the internet at a cafe i discovered yesterday, there is little new i have discovered in Seattle this time. I’ve walked to places i’ve been before, to Fremont, and along the water to Ballard, and yes a new coffee shop there, and to the docks where i had been before, watching the various boats pass through, and yes i like that place, it made me smile, but did not enthrall and i walked somewhat blind. The main rediscovery that got me enthused was my going into Fred Meyers, a huge grocery and general store, a chain mainly in Oregon, with both reasonable prices and some of the food i love.

And this afternoon after walking on the shore, i made the trip up to one section of capital hill and a cafe i discovered about a week ago (and after several times there the thrill had worn off, and while nice was not as special as before) and made my way up to Volunteer Park where i had felt the trees as energy before. Today was different, it was sunny and warm verging on hot, and i lay on the grass where others picnicked and lay, alone, with friends and/or with their dogs and took a nap. it felt so good to just lay in the sun, as i had been down by the water and the grass had been wet. I wanted to write, but i felt unenthused about where i was and where i might go. I got up and had to pee and walked to an area of the park where i had not been before.

And then i crossed out the other side, tree line streets and well maintained huge single family victorians with gardens on tree lined streets. It was just after five and children were playing on the sidewalks – and i smiled inside. Though only about a mile or so from the downtown it was a very different world. i wanted to write so i went back into the park and sat on the grass in an emptier area in earshot of the traffic that passed by on 15th Avenue. I started to scribbled about how unenthused i was, about this place and places around, feeling like i had seen all before, some had been wonderful, some merely interesting, but it felt like old ruts and time to move on. I needed to write, had not really done so in a few days, but did not want to feed that energy anymore.

I was going to go back to where i stay, but decided to walk along the road, not sure where i was, but had seen a bus that with the destination “downtown” so i could follow the route if i got misplaced or was further out than i thought. I walked back along 15th avenue where there were cafes and restos an i stumbled on a herbal shop – with teas and tinctures and so much more and browsed and bought some tea – reading ingredients on all the packs felt some enthusiasm coming back in. And down the street, past grocery stores and trees and more – all a fresh sight to my eyes until got to a corner where i had been before.

I realized i was happier then i had been in a few days. the street served as a reminder that there is always more to explore, and discoveries no matter how small are available everyday. although a cloud may come to my eyes, with that feeling of ennui, i have not seen or experienced everything. Sometimes you do not need to journey far, but to just step out in a slightly different direction, or onto an adjacent path, for your enthusiasm to be awakened again. For a walk through the landscape of the city, is like a walk through your own mind – at times you need to break out and explore some unfamiliar territory. it might just be a short meander, that brings you back to where you know, but you see it all in a different light. It could be the beginning of a new path, or it might just be a temporary change. Sometimes your mind can shift, as you stumble upon something you forgot was there , like the Fred Meyers store, but other times you need a  to catch your eye.

I walked down Pike, on blocks i had not been before, and realized there was more to Capitol Hill than i had seen on my previous forays, generally walking familiar streets. (though the streets that are familiar were once unknown to me). I found the Value Village thrift shop i had not found and had meant to check out. I said i didn’t feel like shopping but went on in, and am so happy i did. I found quality shoes in my size, that i desperately need a pair of slip on clogs to replace the ripped running shoes and a pair of sandals to replace those whose soles are coming apart despite all the glue, and a pair of pants that fit to replace the cords i have with the waft mainly gone. I went to another grocery store, large and reasonable priced (unlike the one downtown), bought some dinner, and felt like a new woman for a while. Yes, a little stretch of the boundaries can do one some good, and i know it was not necessarily the street per se, but that i had taken a step out of the zone i had been in.

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