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Posts Tagged ‘calling’

I sit in Barnes and Nobles in Fisherman’s Wharf. I came here to write. Soft classical music plays adding serenity to the place. The cafe, Starbucks, is calm with others sitting alone in front of laptops or reading books. The sun shines now, clouds over the bay, and the light is good – both from outside entering in the windows, and from the large round lights hanging high above, from the high ceiling of exposed beams and pipes. Shelves of books are all around. The california and bay area travel books on my left, and i do not want to linger there.

I came here yesterday, and realized how long it had been since i browsed a book store, especially a large chain such as this. And as i made my rounds, i found myself stopping at familiar locales, differently placed here but the contents much the same. I stopped by the best sellers – fiction and not, the travel essays, sociology, religion, new age and more. And i remembered just how much time i have spent wandering these stores, browsing at titles but not much more. I have looked at these sections and more – history, fiction, self-help etc. and become overwhelmed. I walk around, and look and look, and then walk on out without buying a book. Yesterday i came into sit, but still walked around and browsed a bit.

Memories of not only places and times came flooding back, but of emotions i held, and that still linger on. For these bookstores, even under the different banners are so much the same. Or maybe it is i am re-engaging in familiar activity.
There is so much to read, but what do i want and who do i want to be. There are so many worlds sitting on these shelves, so many possibilities how do i pick just one? Stories of lives lived out, of adventures to all locales, of love and life, of ideas, and philosophies and analysis and of information about the world, and about the self. It is a place that contains so many worlds laying between two covers sitting upon the shelves, waiting to be bought and read. Waiting to become a part of one’s own life.

I look around, reading the covers; wanting to, but never really delving in – a page or two read here and there. I look for an answer – the question unknown. But i do not leap, buy just one, too expensive i say, and pass it by. Besides, what one would i pick? And i walk and i look and i don’t know why. Expecting an ah ha to come off the page, to magically appear from somewhere. I walk out of the store empty handed and drained.

I have been in so many of these places on my travels around north america. I look and look but cannot decide. Often i have gone in to the travel section, hoping that a destination would come to me. I browse through the listings, of places i know (believe) i will not go – yearning for what is out of reach or become frenzied and overwhelmed. i’d look at the travel essays, never really reading them, but desiring, thinking one day i would write that too. And the best-selling novels, and the popular analysis of culture that draw me in. And as i sit here i think of the Barnes or Borders or Chapters in Seattle, Boston, New York, Vancouver, Victoria and even more locales – it seems that i have visited them all, a stopping place along the way.

I think of my trips to Powell’s in Portland – the largest independent new and used bookstore in the land – hours browsing, different sections, occasionally reading a good part of a book there. I saw the people in the hostel and a the check out stand with piles of books in hand. But i was carrying my bag, and on the road, and had room for just one, or two at most. And with the thousands and thousands of titles on the shelves, how could i pick just one. I bought a book there once – the story of The Peace Pilgrim. I’d glanced through it before in a library just before closing time, and when i returned it had disappeared from the shelf. But it was a book i’d been wanting, and hard to find, had been searching for months, and there it was found.

During my long winter in Victoria which i spent lost and unemployed I would spend much time in the Chapters on Douglas Street, drinking coffee and scribbling away up on the second floor. I would walk on in out of the rain, and tour the bottom floor, best sellers and more – i looked at the tables of books marked down, and said, just maybe i can. But even at the marked down price i bought just one – not the book i had truly been wanting, but another i meant to read, and i felt guilty for doing so. It was new, it had not been used, and it cost $6.99.

And i remember before i started this wandering, a lifetime ago, how i would browse the stores in Toronto, and even Montreal and do the same thing. In Toronto i would go to the worlds biggest bookstore and wander its narrower aisles on a winter sunday afternoon, and would walk out empty-handed feeling depressed. i forgot about the one on saint catherines near peel, in Montreal, the crowded downstairs with the bargain bins, i would go in about once a week, I see myself going in out of the snow, slush in the door, and i would look at books, and tell myself no. There was a larger one, with carpeted floors, or had it expanded to the second floor. I have bought a few new books mainly with gift cards, even then it was difficult to take the leap. Often a journal bought instead. I remember buying one top-ten book 40% marked down, and i lay in my bed, curled up to it that night, transported in time and space. But often i spend more time looking at books, than i do reading them.

Once upon a time, there had been a small independent book store where i would go, less overwhelming with limited stock. I bought new books a few times, when i got back to Montreal and started a job. i’d buy one book every paycheck, a reward for doing my time. But my time i did in office walls, and bought fewer books as time passed on.

But once upon a time i collected books. I bought many and read many and they were my prized possessions – and how many have i given or thrown away? And just when was it that i became afraid of buying books, and have i ever bought many that weren’t second-hand, or marked way down? I know some came after i was out of school, and some came the second time around, feeling that i should buy more practical things. And i had given up on some dreams. And the times i wandered but did not buy, were often the times i felt like i had died inside. Or when on the road, i look and look but do not engage a few brief morsels but that’s all for me.

Don’t get me wrong, i read a lot and have read many of the books i wanted to buy – found in libraries and thrift stores. But why is it that i feel that it must be second-hand, and cannot come from a bright comfortable store. Or that i might read it through, but not take it away, use it, peruse it, but not make it mine. I have spent much time in libraries over the years, my second home of sorts, but that is for another entry, a genre of locales onto itself. I wander these stores like a library, except that i do not sit to read the gems i have found.

I no longer go to proper used book stores, seeking bargain bins, garages sales, thrift stores and book exchange shelves instead. I tell myself it is because the choice is more limited, and i will not become so overwhelmed. Sometimes i stumble onto a gem, the book i had been needing to read pops into my hands at the perfect time, providing the insights i need at the time. But just as often, i find myself reading some crap, or lugging a book around that i know that i will never finish; its story does not interest me.

And i carry that weight around with me, for all those times i go to places where the shelves sit bare or full only of cheap romance and detective novels and maybe a few used cookbooks – nothing that will fulfill. And i spend my time searching these stores in the desperate hope that just something will appear. It becomes a game, which occasionally i win, but all the more often walk out empty-handed and empty inside. I ask myself, why i go there looking for what i will not find. And why is it that is must be used – or borrowed, scavenged from a shelf? Previously owned by someone else? A bargain, on sale, not at full price? It would be so much easier to go down the street to the large new bookstore, and buy the book that i seek – but then again do i know what it is that i am looking for.

There have been times i have been called to a certain title, but cannot seem to spend the price of dinner on a book or give to myself. I say it is because i am on the road, carry a pack, and will need to leave it behind. Why spend money i ask, on what i cannot make mine. Even though Jesus did say you can’t live by bread alone. Yes, i eventually read that title i sought, but ask myself why i waited, or was the waiting and denial right, and it came to me at the right time. And though i don’t own the book, i carry its message inside.

And why it is that i have found it so difficult to buy a new book, even in the days that i could. The feeling that i should be doing something else instead? That i should be browsing another more practical section of the bookstore – though that i have done, a few years spent wandering the business shelves. That what i want to read is wrong, should be focused on something else. Oh i justified it, these stores are operated by big chains, so many deserving writers that barely make it here, but that is but a story i tell myself, a justification for my inability to take a leap.

For I also wandered more specialty bookstores. Once upon a time when i bought many more books, i would frequent the lefty political book stores. Then for years i avoided them all together, refusing to go on in. On my travels i have been through those places in many locales, though as i write I realize it has been a long while, for over the years the titles and feeling of those stores appealed less and less to me – for my focus had changed. Though i need not avoid all that was there as i did for years.

Another type of specialty book store has claimed me more these past few years – the new age, metaphysical, spirituality and natural health bookstore. And i think of my trips to Banyen Books in Vancouver, the first time in the 1980’s over twenty years ago. I had gone in to buy a book for a course. i think it might have been smaller then, but rows of books on dreaming, psychology, spirituality, healing, creating and more, and although my identity was still wrapped up in the other kind of lefty bookstore, which i frequented less and less, something called me forth.

And i have spent time wandering there, finally, after being afraid to enter inside. Too many times i would walk right by afraid to enter in, stand outside on the sidewalk looking in. I see myself walking up and down the block on Saint Denis – outside of Boule de Neiges, or on St. Catherines by Melange Magique, or in the annex in Toronto outside of Eternal Moments i think that is the name, and go on into the bargain bookstore instead. But when i think of it, i had previously feared walking in to those lefty bookstores, not knowing what i should buy, what section to perview, and it was only after someone took my hand, many years before, that i walked in and found a world unfold to me – social analysis, class inequality, social movements and more.

Eventually i did enter inside these new age bookstores, and look around, not knowing where to go. I’d feel so lost, which area do i delve in first? Healing – of what type? Chakras and energy systems? Spirituality – of the east or the west? Herbs? Creativity? Astrology? Dream Analysis? Self-help? I would look and look and tell myself no, this is not the area where you should go. It was so overwhelming, so new to me, and so much appealed and i did not know what direction to turn in. And i believed, this arena was forbidden to me.

It was a few years later in Kingston, that i finally entered in on a regular basis. Again there i had walked by so many times, and stared inside, or come in as far as the cash only to dash back outside. It was the time in my life where books filled my livingroom, my couch and my bed. They were there for a reason, and some spoke to me, and some i merely felt that i had to read. And i had to read yet another book, before i wrote, before i was sure, had a quoted the authorities and had all the references? And the books inside this store were not related to my thesis, the topic in which i no longer believed. But they called, and i did not buy them, or maybe just one. But i would go to the public library, not the academic one at the university, and take books out or sit there and read. And write, pages upon pages in my journal or on topics i had read in these new age books and other social analysis instead.

It was after this time, when i dropped out of school, that i stopped buying books, and wandered around instead. But over the years, many found their way to me. Each time i was in Vancouver how i went back to banyen books. but did i ever buy anything, yes, a journal and a card, but would sit there and yearn, or remain uncertain, and walk away with nothing. I made trips there on my way through, but could not reach out. Or i would play it safe – look at books on self-help and writing that were not to far from that i had read before. A few times i remember buying a book, that store on saint denis – a book on chakras marked down 50%, Carolyn Myss’s the Anatomy of the Spirit at full price, and Thomas Moores Care of the Soul in another locale, not marked down. But how many times have i browsed an just looked around.

Now i have read many books of this genre over the past few years – from herbology to perennial wisdom, healing of the mind, body and spirit, and energy systems, and philosophy and spirituality of east and west, and too many books on self-help and am feeling limited by it. I think my trip to indralya helped with that – a library full, and amazing collection – took out too many books and spent my time there a year ago, reading and reading some more. And i have come to know that all knowledge, understanding and wisdom do not come from books. There are so many gems, but so many that seem so much the same, and others that really say nothing at all. Like with travel to many places, repeating circles, and all seems the same, but there are areas that shine, those you come back to, and those that remain unexplored. And while i might branch out, now that i have given myself permission to go on there, i will not leave it totally behind, and cross a border of no return. Just as i still read the social analysis, fiction, travel books and herbs, i can draw it in to the complexity of me.

I know i will continue to read some of the genre and of others too. And the big stores, like Barnes and Noble, have selections from so many genres, so you do not need to limit yourself to just one. Like the libraries where i have spent so much time over the years – to not only browse out in different directions, but to sit down and take a bite of so many arenas of life and to take into yourself.

But at times, i no longer read, and do not branch out at all. And now i walk through the store, a few titles catch my eye, but i look on blankly knowing i will not buy, and no longer desiring to browse. I finish this entry in another locale and realize i did not even note the titles that were there. But now that i have written these words, i am ready to reach out once again.

It is the act of writing, that makes me want to expand. For that is the one true thing that i have felt forbidden to me, a pleasant diversion to be done in my spare time after i have found my call. And the feeling that if something i wrote did not make it onto these major bookshelves, it was not worth writing at all. But it has been my call, and is the reason why i browse stores of books and not something else. And maybe that is why i wander through, wanting to create rather than just consume. As with the books that i pick up, i must write it through line by line.

And my trip to Barnes and Noble brought all this up in me. In some ways it is like my travels, i wander about, seeking for who knows what and cannot reach out and grasp. there is too much and too little and i just look on, overwhelmed, not knowing what book to open. What chapter is to be written next in this book called my life? And do i dare to read what has been written on the pages, can i write it through? do i move a head without a look on what has been written before. But like opening a novel towards the end, you don’t always understand the theme and what has happened before. How did one get to the point on the page, what relevance does it have for the chapters to unfold? But it is a novel that must be written and read, not to remain unfinished, or put down half-way through, the first chapter read many times but you do not find your way beyond. And like the larger bookstore, there are so many sections that make up the whole. this entry is done, to be put out, another one to go, and it is through this writing that i might grow – and eventually buy a new book, maybe a book truly of my own.

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I was going to write about the decision that brought me here the last time, but there were so many and there have been so many times. For one decision led to another and another and so the story goes. For the last time i was here it was but a waypoint, a stopping over for a few days, a place of convenience because i did not know where else to go. And in that sense i was brought here, in the same way i came in this last forray through, the third in a month. And like this trip here, it was not to San Francisco i came, but to the Bay Area, to California, and to Harbin instead. And as i take a break, i realize just how long this story really is. And i cannot write it all just now.

Before this month, the last time i was here, was for a few days at the end of June, or actually the beginning of July. I remember that now, for that although i did not want to stay, i had to leave for all was booked up for the July 4th holiday weekend. I came in the same way as i did less than a week ago, on the ferry from Vallejo, and again i was greeted by the crowds on market street. I had come from Harbin after a longer time spent there. I lingered on, trying to decide my plans each day, staying longer than planned, my time limit running out. And hearing from a few, who also did not know, “staying another day i see”. I did not know where to go, and the stress of not knowing began to eat at me – so i grabbed on to what was near. still, despite the ride board and all the talks i hitched out on my own, and then began the long bus journey down, back to the concrete world from which i had been away from for so long. Passing through Napa with its traffic and big stores i felt like an alien looking on. I was back down to the city for what reason i did not know – a place to stay for a few days before moving on, before moving on to a place unknown. And i felt sad leaving harbin alone – but that journey is another story to be written, one of so many i have yet to tell. For i felt alive, like something had happened and been lit inside for i know it had, but i also felt part of a dream had died (though i dont think i realized that at the time).

I remember coming here and feeling initially alive and also knowing that i had to leave. At Harbin the temperature had reached 110 and i prayed for a cooler place. the creeks were running dry and i wanted to see the ocean. When i got here the fog rolled in and it was cooler that i remembered it in the winter. and i thought that god had a funny sense of humor in answering my prayers. that’s what my memories say, but as i continue to write, i realize that was not truly the case – the ocean and the coast were fogged in, and the air was damp and cool, but there was also a lovely sunny day, in the center away from the coastal shores. I walked the hidden gardens between the office buildings and discovered several new parks – oasis of green and rest amongst the built up rush. I spent time at the eastern edge of golden gate park. and after passing through the field of the street kids and others who lounged on the grass, and after passing through the tenderloin, i sat on a bench and began to write, a few entries that appear here and in my other blog. It was there that i knew that i needed to shine, that i had to glow in order to live.

And as i write this i help rekindle a dream of how i was meant to live, the dream that this place had meant to me many years before. A dream that had died, and as i looked at the others, empty souls wandering and sitting on benches, and i saw the figure that i was going from park to park, sitting on benches, staring into space and something came alive. I sat in the botanical gardens in golden gate park, after blindly strolling through, the place not as alive as my first visit here, and disappointed by the cold foggy beach. i sat in another corner with a large lawn, and a poem came to me. I walked the parks and my hand did write, the beginnings penned in Alamo Square as i sit on a bench, dogs running all around. Another park seen in the distance, and there i was soon found, I saw the beauty of the parks, and the squares surrounded by steel and concrete, but my time here was short and i had to move on. A holiday weekend and all was full. For along with the calm and the joy that grew there was the stress of having to press on, deciding where to go, circumstances limiting the duration of my peace.

The day i left the sun did shine – for my journey to sierra hot springs, a place i had not been, harbin’s rustic sister in the mountains, that was certain to have a camping place. I had thought about going there while at Harbin, but i had delayed, in procrastination and uncertainty and by the time i put up a note on the board, the few rides there had gone. So i headed out from San Francisco to Sierraville after playing that game, to a place i knew i was going to. Still, i guess now in reflection, that i had to come through, for that breakthrough that i was looking for.

I sat waiting for the bus to emeryville that would take me to the train, and yet another bus to truckee sitting in the sun. Three women with big hair from southern california sat on the bench beside and i listened to their speech, glad that i was leaving the city, still unsure of what was to come. And that time, as with many trips to the city before, i found myself alone, just talking with my pen. I lit a smoke and a woman asked for a light, we joined in conversation and connected as we rode. And in Sacramento we got off the train, she stopped there, but i got on the bus and rode on to another chapter of my life.

I did not know where the road would take me, or what path that i was on. It has been a long journey in between, so many roads taken, but i see maybe why i came back here – it is not the place, but the dream, and the need to shine on through. Still i wonder as i write this, if i again can come alive, or is the place right here a vision of dreams that have died? And can i kindle new dreams here, bringing in old parts that are still alive, but let those parts that have shown to be illusions drift out into the sea?

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I should have left yesterday when i felt nice and calm, deeply rested and released. The sun shown brightly, the bed called me forth and i did not want to go. I felt unwound and so clear and believed there was more to learn. Where i was going i did not know, but i heard the call of Sacramento.

It’s true i was unsure the day before, when i found my request for a ride answered on the board. I’d been inside for two nights now, sleeping on warm soft bed after five nights out in the cold with my hips digging into the hard wood platform below. I slept and i slept and i felt something go, the push and striving and so much more. I did not want to leave, or was it that i did not want to go, out into the unknown and the life that i knew all to well. Could i go back to the roller coaster ride, thrust back into frenetic movement, and the buzzing mind? What was there that was not here, and why did i feel called to go? No clear answer arose and so i stay put, and now wonder if i missed my chance and turned my back on what i was meant to do.

I answered the note, my ride coming through, she wrote back and i missed our meeting. But i walked to her door, she had left me her room, secretly hoping she would not be there. I passed the window and there she stood, waved at me and opened the door. I felt a connection, a nice giving woman, the rounder face filled with calm joy, and a groundedness and earthiness i felt inside. We talk, an early ride, back to Sacramento airport to catch her flight, to florida where she lived. But as we talked i wondered if i would bail.

I had wanted to wait until after the osho meditation until i replied, felt that some clarity would be reached there. I had thought of the meditation and this place when i had been in the hustle of the Central American towns and felt overwhelmed with the traffic on the narrow streets full of life bouncing off the bricks and cement. The practice is divided into four parts – the first is shaking, feet firmly planted on the floor, to frenetic techno-like music, that you cannot escape. It was how i felt pacing the towns and brought forth images of industry and city like – the constant buzz you cannot escape, and want to, just shake, but you cannot go, stuck, trying to find your way through. The second part is dancing, the music calms, an eastern indian feel, no longer intrusive noise, how free it feels to move your limbs, to dance and swirl around. The third, is sitting, watching the thought. Though music plays you really do not take note. then you lay still – until the talk and i want to leave. I felt relaxed, and how i left the first zone behind, and wanted to lay for a while.

I went to the pools, playing and dancing serene in the jets, the motion massaging my soul. The hot pool left me soft, and i lay down for a while. I looked at my bags and began to pack all that was now dry from the rain. My groundsheet and tarp drying under my bed were still damp, so i turned them to dry some more. I stuffed my junk in but decided to leave my yoga pants in reach out on top. I set my alarm for early the next day And at 8pm i drifted into a long deep sleep.

I already knew decision – do why do i play the game, and delay -I know what i will do but don’t admit it even to myself – just like i often know where i will go but move around before. I do not listen and i doubt and prolong the process and the agony of not knowing, when in truth i knew it all along. And when a voice is not listened to, it shuts up, at times it screams and then gives up. So i guess i did have something to learn. And the time i spent questioning i was not really here. As i am when embroiled in decisions to leave. Though i still wonder, if the voice of indulgence led me wrong – the appearance of safety and of comfort. For the calmness quickly disappeared during the day.

i had known the night before when i inquired about space in the dorm. I made a move, but not a decision and the opening was there. Life was open in several way and this is the choice i made, not because one door was blocked and i took the only one that was open. and though i fear the cold i realize the choices i have made, was offered a cheap tent but turned it down, the belief it would tie me to the road. I was offered a place to stay for a night or two my second day here, the day i ran into many i knew, but i listened to her story and pulled away, not wanting to give or take any more, and because i closed the cocoon around, i slept out in the cold. Still, it was temporary, and i needed space, and clarity of mind (or did i – did i pass up possibilities)

But with the lift i wonder if i buried myself for i put out energy and requests and did not follow through. And how many times have prayers been answered but i did not see, or i turned away from the gift. And when you refuse a gift, how many more will be given. I saw Bonnie in the changing room, i looked and she was there, i told her i’m sorry, i just can’t go and she understood my call,. I wish you well she honestly said, and was not pissed cause an offer was refused, or some plans had changed, just went on with her day. And how many times have i tried to hold others to scripts, even when a change does not set me out.

But after she left, my ride was gone, i felt the energy change. Clouds covered the sunny sky, with the possibility of rain, The bed that seemed clear the night before was still there, but confusion booking it in the morn. I went to yoga and then into town to buy food and connect to the web. The skies changed from blue to grey and i almost got caught in the rain. In the coffee shop as i sit focused on this screen, thA 8 month pregnant woman who had been in my dorm came in and told me she went too late, there no beds for her that night. And i felt bad, she had a car, but should i sleep out in the rain that night. She said she would ask about a basic room and I did not offer to give up my bed. Still i began to feel guilt and wondered if it were a sign that i should not have been there that night.

I hitchhiked back up the hill, walking past the school where i normally stand, parents were pulling in and out picking up kids and i almost caught in the rain. I went to feldencras which left me unbalanced, movements mainly on one side. How quickly i can get thrown off and my frustration rose inside. For i have felt the separation of part of me and my sides, and at times in this year of energy rushes, a difference between the left and right which has hung on for days at a time. So i felt off balance, and then i said should i have left that morning when all felt right. I went to the pools, and a creepy guy crowded my space, and then began to exercise shoving his butt too close to my face.

That night was the new moon and i went to the ceremony, a sound healing and felt wonderful at peace as we toned the directions,and warmed up moving our spines called energy forth. The temple felt sacred and i was there. Then we formed a wheel – i lay down when it was my turn set an intention and integration called to me. It popped out of nowhere, and i tried to call instead purposeful direction(or i want to find a home. it not peaceful for me as my mind raced, did i give the wrong intention, not speak my peace, and now i hear different sounds from all directions. I wrote earlier that it said to me integration was necessary but now as i edit it showed me again what happens when i question a decision and play it over and over in my head. I need integration, and that i realized, but i also see how i played the old game, and got tense inside. I was there in body, but my mind raced all over the place – was it right or wrong, caught in a flux, for it does not matter i was there.

Still i asked myself when does self care become indulgence, and had i stayed too long. the peace that i felt went awry, and i felt that i abandoned my call and opportunity.

The next day the sky shifted back and forth between sun and rain and my sleep was light. I went to fantastic yoga and reiki that night, still i questioned and questioned and felt it my due, when the pregnant woman, who had gotten a dorm bed afterall for those nights, said she was driving to Sacramento the next day, but left ealier than planned while i was in the pools. I felt it was my due, my karma coming home, had a sleepless night, bad dreams got me up a few times and awoke in a fret, bad energy emanating from me. I felt weak that i could not give, she needed time by herself, not knowing her course, and though we were in similar boats, i did not have the joy she needed.

I got a bed for the night and felt myself stuck, wandering lost, wondering what if. I was ready to leave, in some way i had left already, feeling what i needed had been done. Ran into a man i had met before, he now solo, we talked and hung out for a long while, and i spent too long in the pool, still withdrew my energy and had a 12 hour sleep.

I left alone, as i arrived, no lift found its way to me. He had offered me a lift if i waited a day, but i felt sure it was time to leave (a decision i havent questioned). Still on my journey to San Francisco where i now find myself, away from the retreat and small towns, i wondered what i had done. By abandoning what i had put out to go to another place, i find myself back in the familiar, to a zone i did not want to go. I took the busses down and the ferry from vallejo, When i got to market street i cried inside, and spent the night at the downtown hostel which buzzed and i knew i could not stay (that will be a separate entry).

 But as i write this at the hostel in fort mason, i feel drained but calm, and wonder if this were the plan all along. will i remember to trust in the decision i make the next time around? To live with one it has been made – without regret. For going back and forth moves you in no direction but in frenzied zags inside. what has been done has been done, you cant make things unhappen and the best you can do is keep going and trying (and smiling).

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She spoke her truth, something i have not done. The auditorium in the library was full at first, people trying to find a seat, some to hear the speech, and others just to get out of the rain, but willing to listen to what was being said. The talk was billed as what is the message that the UFOs have for us now. I was curious and i wanted to hear. She talked about visits,of life on other planets, a new teacher for the new age of Aquarius that has come upon us, of crop circles, of different levels of matter, of cover-ups and more, of sharing, of the group she was with SHARE International, of poverty and nuclear waste and while most of what she touched upon made sense it was brought together in what i thought was an incomplete way, one that was forced. 

The audience began to lose interest, and as many removed their energy and attention, i could see her face become duller and her voice begin to sink. but she carried on. And while few probably took her message as a whole, she may have opened minds, and lines of possibility in many. Yes, one man muttered, she is wrong, she is wrong but she spoke what she believed. 

Yesterday, as i went walking, i met two older women on their Jehovah Witness rounds – there was no answer at the door of the home they were knocking on when i walked by, so one of the women spoke with me, offered me a guide to the bible, which i took, and then another booklet which she went over, and which i read. We talked a bit, she asked me if i lived here, and i said no, i am a bit of a gypsy. She smiled and said i used to travel alot, rode the greyhound across and over the land. And i could tell, she had lived, and perhaps lived hard, she wore a dress but it was probably used, and her teeth exposed much gold. Yet, she went door to door proclaiming and sharing what she believed was the way, sharing the message she felt that she was meant to give. While there is much in the Jehovah witnesses beliefs that i believe are constricting and short-sighted, at times their pamphlets have led me to think and question and taken me to the bible and to life questions that are important. And while many may deride them, they carry on. 

And as i write this i think of the man who has stood for years at the cable car turn around at powell and market with his jesus loves you sign. He comes every day to share what it important and to fulfill his mission. 

I write this on Easter Sunday, and i think of jesus, who spoke gods work and did not run away or back down from his call and purpose on earth. Who stepped out of the bounds in the land where he lived, and was persecuted for what he did and preached, who died on the cross for our sins. Who believed, and died for it – and yes, rose again, and whose spirit lives on. And i think what if he backed away or down, or changed his message of god’s love in order to be acceptable? And what if the apostles had clung onto their day jobs and not followed him, for fear of safety, for fear of leaving what was known – or if they had only partially followed – one step forward, two steps back? 

What is Mary did not believe in angels, and could not hear the voice who told her about the child she carried, and lived as a single mother cast out for the child she carried. Or if she did not trust the voice, and dulled herself with drugs, prescription or otherwise, to block out the wisdom from a higher source? What if no one heard their voices and dismissed them as delusions or oral hallucinations. If Paul did not hear his call, and if so many prophets dismissed their prophesies and left them silent. 

I think about the talk today, and how many have been persecuted for talking about UFOs, crop circles and more, have been silenced or have been told they were crazy, and how many others have not believed in their own experiences. for we have been taught not only to disbelieve what we cannot see on the material plane (out of the belief that the material is all that is real) but have also learned not to believe what can be seen, and by more than one. And I think of those who have experienced some of this and have not known how to interpret or be with what they have experienced, and have let it go, or not known what to do. 

And i think of the energy that has been pulsing through me, of the inklings i have had, the visions and the knowings that have come over time, and that i have not embraced, have feared because they were out of the norm. Energy flows in spurts, there is more than meets the eye. A change is coming, we do not truly know when or what it will entail, and there are many around who believe. To follow the knowings, yet share and love in this dimension and not be afraid to embrace what i am being shown. 

I think the issue is that i have held on, and i have not let go. And why – fear of the unknown, fear of being cast out, fear of taking a stand, fear of being deemed crazy, fear of going over the edge. And i look around the room, and see many who have fallen over the edge. I think of my other fears – fear of homeless, fear of the street, but what really do i have to lose?, The reason that i, and others, have lost it all, is not because we let go but because we have hung on to what we knew to be not true, and were afraid to listen. And i will listen with open ears. 

I am in a city with a diversity of lives, ideals and more but also with the concrete blocks the focus on the material, on shopping, on matter. It is a city where many have come throughout time to live out their lives, breaking the boundaries and limitations that held them caged. And i know that there is more than meets the eye, and at times i feel that here has become part of the old, part of the limitations of the material only realm, of staying safe in the world we know. Then i think of the financial district, and the economy, and all they deal with are blips on a screen, the currency of our collective belief, not backed up by anything concrete or tangible. And of communications, of silicon valley nearby, and how we communicate with disembodied others through space and time. 

The lecture took place in the main library with its collection of books and more, a collection of ideas, beliefs, stories, myths, information, data, and knowledge. it is one of the few public places where all may gather, may come to sit and read and explore. it is a place of many voices, written, spoken, muttered, and inside heads – a place where many come in off the street to connect and sit and read. And while there is so much knowledge and wisdom not contained in books, available from the universe at large, i wonder where we would be if people had not pushed through with new knowing, had not pushed through the unknown, had not pushed through through disbelief and doubt, with that which should not be spoken or written, with that which may not be complete or absolute or that which might even be heretical. 

And i think of the woman who spoke today in the auditorium, and the woman yesterday by knocking on doors, and the many who speaks through a sign on the street. They are all speaking of a higher calling, in the manner that is available. Their truths may be incomplete, and contain much which is false, but the speak out and follow their call, a higher call. And for the moment i have spoken my piece, which is partial and changeable and maybe no one will hear, but i have put it out. 

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At times i think that place is just an illusion of the mind – what we see and what we imagine. Yes, places distant, be they around the corner or around the world, are what we see in our minds – and when we arrive they are not always what we thought, or if we have been there before, have elements that we know that we had seen before, but had forgotten about in our minds. But places are not merely memories of the actual, of the emotions or experiences we had, but are also creations of the imagination, symbolic creations – built upon by a collective memory or dream.
I have returned to California, the bay area and now the monterey bay, and it is a place that has loomed large for me, and for many. The old cry of “go west young (wo)man” – it represents a newness, a chance, a different way of life, an opportunity. It is the land of warmth (yes, even here for those of us from colder climes), the left coast, the place of alternative spirituality and ways of living, the place to go. But is it? Was it? I am in Monterey, where Steinbeck’s writings fuel the tourist trade, writings about a harsher, wilder land – a land that once was.
As California grows, many also leave, disillusioned with the life here or battered down, or it becomes the other, the land of excess and poverty in its midst. Of living large, of actors living on a stage, illusions declining into bankruptcy, a land of decadence but also holding on to what you have, of guarded safety and gang wars. It is a huge and diverse place, in the landscape and the population, and it called me and now leaves me blank.
It represents the place i was going to go to in my youth, a love affair i once had, and one that i have been shown many a time was a delusion, or maybe it wasnt – just a moment in time. I have been back and left several times in the past few years and i wonder why i return – a lack of imagination on my part, of other places calling to me? A clinging on to a dead dream, one that does not call or excite? I have strolled that city, it too plays on its history of people searching, searching the riches of gold or life, a different way from the gold rush to the beats, to the hippies that are the base for walking tours. Or outside the city, the new age, something more. But also, since the time i arrived in 2001, Sept 10 to be precise and woke the next day to a plane crashing into a building on the large screen, i have seen the harsh side, the poverty, the dead souls and some spirited people who walk and sit on the streets.
But what was the call – it was not the place per se – it was something more in my mind. Was it to come north – the el norte that existed in the minds of so many further south, still a land of dreams and transformation, a way out, not seeing the scraping by that it would entail. A freedom or a return to the familiar? But now it seems so created and constrained. I once felt that i did not belong, was not allowed to belong by others, but now i see that i was only partially right. I do not belong here, but it is not the others who determine it.
But i look around, and do not trust my imagination – it goes in circles, and calls me to circles of where i have been before, holding onto something that may or may not have once been there. I think Alaska – but the north as the new frontier has called before, the new land of chance, Oregon which once represented a glorious coast and opening of the mind and grey, the east represents a conventional life though i intellectually know it need not be that way, for all exists in the mind, and to be in the now is the key. And what does my imagination call, what does it see, and what does it create.

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I head back
and i feel the vision that has been haunting my return
it had not spoken much while i was away
but it now comes back full force
and fills me with fear
and i though i was going somewhere safe

it is the vision of homelessness
that has been with me for so long
for that is what i am
and have been
and i feel the streets calling
and i remember the darkness of those places
and i remember the empty souls that stagger along
and i do not want to go
though the image comes to my mind
has off and on for years
and i cannot let it go
it comes calling strongest
when i am to return
like the time i came back
first from Mexico
then from Europe
i want a place to rest my head
i want to go home
i feel like i have been moving for too long
and once i return i cannot stop
for without a home
you cannot stay
cannot linger
or even sit on a bench
and i do not want to be dark
i want to be light
but i am tired
and i feel the stress return
the back seize up once again
no place to stay
move along, move along,
lord i want a place to be
where my soul can be free.

I edit this now,

i said i would no longer resist
if it is my place i will accept it
embrace it

I see the poor here
frayed shoes carrying babies
selling trinkets in the square
the old man sitting on the street
hands out
dispossed

And maybe it is not just my return that haunts me
but a visitation to a land with the disposseses
a richer country
other places were truly poor
but there was not the gap
those who seem to be alone
looking on to the festivities
there but not there
and here i watch my money
so low
and do not sit on the square
and i feel it so.

But i have felt my call
to work with those who do not belong
and maybe it is time to answer the call

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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