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Posts Tagged ‘Change’

Who are the newcomers and how do we welcome them? Who are they and from where do they come? Are they many, an influx coming in, or a few, trickles from here and there. Do we see a similarity and kinship or foreignness and difference? What do they bring? what do they need? what are their gifts? what do they lack? Refugees fleeing conflict? Those seeking an opportunity, if not for themselves, for their offspring, a better way of living and how is that defined? Those who seek to join in, to bring in new ideas and energies – respecting, or not respecting, those which are there? Those who come to conquer, to make a place theirs? movement between lands and worlds, migration of many sorts – and just what is an alien – illegal, national, or without a prefix or suffix?

Those of us who are here, who came before, once newcomers ourselves, or in our ancestry, do we welcome them, do we feel threatened, and just how does the fabric of a place change?

New humans are coming in and what we see in the material world with migration, immigration, the world that has become global with borders that have both dissolved and fortified, is also happening on an intergalactic scale. And for all, both old and new, there have been many teaching from known history, from what has happened in the real – have we learned, can we learn, or do we repeat what has come before. For all is interconnected, all is part of the one.

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I sat on the beach in Barview, OR, listening to the ocean. In its murmur i heard “the sea will reclaim this all, the sea will reclaim this all”. I have heard this before out on the coast, but this time it spoke much louder than before. “this will all be returned to the sea”. The land is low where i sit, and where i camp is probably less than 10 feet above sea level. Even my tent site is on sand, though beyond the low scrub and under a trees. I am by the jetty to Tillamook bay – on land which people camp but few live. I look down the beach and see the headlands, and far up several miles to others, and look at the hills that lay behind – inland a very short way. I see a shoreline that may be, and know that this area is borrowed from the sea. And in the morning when i walked on the jetty i understood completely what is met by a maritime environment; the clouds lay low, and with the sea form a bowl of grey moist air; air so heavy that it feels as if it too, is as much of the sea as of the sky.

some of what will be reclaimed

I have had this sense before – down the coast in other lowlands, in Crescent City last summer when i was there, and i became afraid, and when i camped only a few feet from beach, earlier in the week. A few days have passed since i was in Barview, and that sense has returned to me. I walk the beach in Seaside, and again hear the same thing. i look at tillamook head to the south, and the hills that lay behind the town, and again i see a future shoreline. I wonder if it is also a shoreline of the past as timelines blur in my mind. And i know the sea will reclaim this all, it has before, it will again – but the question is when.

sign often seen along the coast

Is my sense merely fear brought on by the tsunami warning signs posted up and down the coast, and evacuation routes posted in campgrounds and in motel rooms. It is known that it will happen again. And i often think that is why these beach towns are not a place to live, have never really been, for the sea that caresses also engulfs. The winter storms slowly eat up the coastline, carving out the land.

I see the salt of the sea returning, the water salty like our tears, the water that is the element of emotions, and i wonder if god cries. And i wonder if the great waves and floods are a way of returning the salt to the earth once more. i think of floodplains along river banks, and how that provides fertility to the soil, but here the water is salty, and i know how salinization prevents crops from growing and can make inland seas dead. But in the ocean there is life, and perhaps its water and salt will purify all, so that something new may spring forth. will the sea wash all of this away i ask as i sit on the beach and i know the answer is yes, sometime.

Why does this come up over and over again? Why does the ocean speak to me this way? Why do i envision so many lowlands covered in water, be it by the slowly rising oceans or tidal waves? Is my discomfort when i venture out to low lying pennisulas connected to the mainland by only a thin stretch of land that lays as low or by a bridge, the fear of the waters coming in, the fear of  emotions engulfing what seems so solid, only to be swept away. Water represents emotions, and it has the power to carve and shape what seems to be solid stone. Am i that piece of earth that could be swallowed up or  re-formed?

Many times i walk the beach at low tide, aware of the land i am walking on belonged to the sea but a few hours before, and will return there once more, and will become part of the ocean floor. This is the intertidal zone, with a life of its own, a part of both, reminding us how we are connected. And i know, from books and writing, that much of what lay below the sea was once “land” and what is land was part of the sea, even that which now lay high above or far away. I know that the continents as they now appear, were not always this way, and the shoreline that we see is what it is, but only for a blip in the span of time.

giant ancient tree stump buried beneath the sea for 4100 years

I was by another beach, a tree stump on display – not merely the driftwood that washes ashore, but one of several uncovered in a mighty storm several years before.  A giant spruce tree estimated to be 4100 years old, buried for so long, only to be revealed. A reminder once again that the shore was not always as it is. I think of the rock formations up and down the coast, and also inland, that speak to me of creatures, peoples, and spirits who were caught unaware.  i know the land here once belonged to the sea – and perhaps the future shoreline that i see, is also one of the past. And once again i hear inside “the sea will reclaim this all” – and inside i hear, and that is ok.

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Joy on a fall day

I feel so happy in this moment, my cup overflowing with joy. I see the beauty that surrounds and feel connected to the spirit in all. The leaves shine brightly on the trees and flutter in the wind on this late fall day. I feed the cycle of beauty through appreciation and gratitude and by sharing that which has welled up inside. The wind blows strong, and just as the trees cannot cling to the leaves that flutter to the ground, I cannot cling to this moment. But just as the fallen leaves nurture the soil in their decay and contribute to new cycles of growth, i know this moment and the ever fading memories of it will nurture me in any dark days that may lay ahead. The moment is fleeting, but it is, and i am so grateful for that light which shines.

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What does it mean to build a New Jerusalem? Is it possible to build a city or community for god here on earth? Is it desirable?

i have been curious about Salt Lake City for several years because of its history and why it was founded and built – as a place to practice religion, a place built for god. I am not a mormon, and several aspects of their faith do not call to me, but the idea of founding a place on this basis has always appealed to me.

But what i find here is a modern american city, well laid out and planned, but still a regular city – though with a certain underlying vibe – one that is based in the foundations of it, and it makes me wonder about the ideal. And around is sprawl, the sprawl of modern cities, the endless development up and down the valley – but i see that too is related both to the growth and development patterns across the continent, and to the original (and continuing) mormon corridor – of small communities, or stakes as they were called, built for people to live and worship. And like small towns everywhere, they have merged into one amorphous sprawl.

The curiosity with the origins of cities came to me when i was in San Francisco and Seattle and other places that were founded or grew because of the gold rush, and the old buildings were dedicated to business of the getting rich quick, and there it occurred to me to what extent does the foundation, the raison d’etre of a city in its inception, carry over to modern times.

For me the movement west in search of the ideal has always called, for i too have done it myself, the lure of “go west, young (wo)man” but what has been the ideal – a comfortable life, adventure, riches of gold, the possibility to be free, whatever that means, god. It has been symbolic of a place where you can be both free and safe to live your dreams.

The story of the latter-day saints of seeking to build a Zion, of fleeing persecution for their beliefs, and of finally arriving and building what was to be an ideal place called to me. And so i came to this basin, where they built the temple and called for believers around the world to join them in creating a new zion. for many years that is what they did – design a place that would reflect a living faith on so many levels from the physical design and layout to collective enterprises in an attempt to be self-sufficient.

Once i got here, i realized that part of why salt lake called is that it, in some way, represented the transition from the journeying to the building stage. A journey is a period of travel or movement and of seeking where new horizons continually present themselves. It can be hard and challenging, but it also is a period of growth and renewal, and important transition from one life to another. The pioneer stories are still a prominent feature of the mormon history, dramatic time.

However, the switch from one type of movement of searching to another of creating came about once they found a place. It may not have been ideal, a desert basin, but time comes to say enough, lets stop and build it here. Now according to legend, Bingham Young stood on top of one of the hills and knew or was told by a higher source, that it is here that you are to build. Was it divine inspiration and knowing this is it, and how much of it was weary fatigue, and saying this is the place where it will have to be.

I think this is where it differs from some present journeys where you are looking for a place that already exists and ready-made for you to come and join; here there was nothing, and it represented a palate upon which to build – it was not already there and required vision to believe that it could become something more, something worthy of god here on earth. But then again, how many new frontier exist today in our ever connected and known world? Is it possible to just find a fresh place to transform – a place where you can land fresh? A place where others are not already? But then again, was there ever such a place, for native americans were here already? Is it just the belief in such a place that has disappeared?

Another difference is, that while in the motion of a journey, the pioneers had a home in a community, one without stable roots in the ground, but one of interconnection to one another and to a higher source.

Still once you have stopped there is a shifting of gears – you are no longer searching for the place but you have found it – or rather you have found the locale where you are to build it. Your action changes from seeking and imagining to building and creating. You are now transforming the environment, and although it is a difficult time, you are guided by a higher vision and a concrete as well as abstract purpose and can see the progress you are making. Although they almost starved in the first years, and lived a harsh existence, it is a time that is now romanticized for it calls forth (or back) a higher ideal, and a time when the ideal called forth.

During those initial years this basin was transformed, a city and community and temple were built and thousands upon thousands of pioneers arrived, making arduous journeys of their own, but having a specific destination – of a place that was there, unknown and known at the same time, a place where they would help build and live. They were called forth to help build something greater than themselves and to join with others who had already begun, and were able to do so, making transitions and transformations of their own and thereby transforming the place to where they were called.

During the 1890s there was a switch in policy, where immigration to the new zion was no longer actively encouraged and organized, and instead people were encouraged to stay in their homelands and build there, and go out into the world as missionaries. I see this as a major shift, and this period marks a transition in the history of both the church and the society at large; the abandonment of polygamy, the entry of Utah into the nation and the national expansion in general, the economic downturn that swept across the nation, the end of one century and beginning of another. It also led to the decline of the more collective enterprises, and i believe, the realization that you cannot live totally apart or isolated from that which surrounds. Another century that we have passed through.

Before that time, with the building of the railroads many “others” came for very different reasons and the area was no longer homogeneous in terms of worship. Salt Lake and parts of Utah were no longer only for true believers, for members of the church. And this remains true today; while mormons still predominate in many areas of the state, Salt Lake is a diverse city – but one where you can, at times, feel the original influence of the pioneers – not only in the built material environment, but in terms of an underlying vibe.

Today we see both the search for community building upon common ideals and migrations of so many around the world, of people coming in who you believe are different. In my weeks here i have pondered many questions, many that have been churning beneath the surface on my journeys through the west, through small towns, both ideal and shattered, through divided cities, and intentional communities. Can you build a place for those who share common values? Should you? Can you build such a place and also be connected to the world be it via rail or ideas? Can you change or control the others who come for their own reasons? Can you remain distinct within? should you? What do you need to give up? Is it central to your core or essence, or is it just a minor part of your being? But how does giving up a minor part affect the whole? Do you engage with those “others” who come in? Do you just coexist (to quote a popular bumper sticker) allowing each to remain in their own worlds? Can you? Should you? What do you take in and how do you change? Do you welcome “them” and want them to join you? Do you try to keep them out? Are you afraid that some of you might join them? Do you ever merge and become one? Is it possible that all are transformed, intertwined, but unique? Can you move beyond the notions of “us” and “them” and realize that all definitions and boundaries are fluid and ever-changing and shifting?

This is a dilemma that i see being played out over and over again, not only here, or with many ideal utopian or intentional communities, but all who seek to create a life where you are surrounded by common values, lifestyles and cultures. With the splinterization of society, we see more and more pockets being built, and while you want live in a certain way, can you ever separate yourself or your “group’ and what are the consequences of trying to do that? This is a common theme that runs throughout my thought and i am certain to write more about it.

They mormons also came to Utah not only feeling that they would be free to practice their religion, but that it would also be safe to do so. They had been persecuted and had to flee one locale after another from New York to Missouri to Illinois, attempting to build and then being at times brutally suppressed for being what they were. They fled the nation to what was a land where they could be safe and free, but soon after arrival what was mexican territory was suddenly under the jurisdiction of the united states. Does what you seek to flee eventually find you? And they were not free from persecution in the forms of attacks and legislation. Did they discover that there is no truly “safe” place where you can go? And it asks when is it time to lay down and flee as they did across the land? when is it time to fight and what are the consequences of that – as with the mountain meadow massacre when they attacked a wagon train of pioneers? When do you take a stand? Do you build walls to protect yourself? Can they stand? But just what do you keep out and what do you hold in? Is it what you imagined that you would? And when the walls start to crumble, as they eventually will, just what comes pouring in and rushing out. Or do you spend so much time maintaining those walls, that you neglect to nurture what is inside? And what becomes of those who stand looking at the walls from the outside? Can you just be and let the light shine out? Is it possible when the forces against you will not let up? When do you compromise and how do you do so without giving up?

The temple was finally completed in 1893 and many compromises were made to allow for the continued existence of the church and the society. But from what i sense as an outsider looking in is that the LDS movement was transformed from something quite radical and dynamic to something that is now more staid and conservative. As i went exploring the history it occurred to me more than once, is that while i could not see myself ever joining the church today, i might have been inspired in its earlier days when it seems to be more a movement and a journey rather than a stable institution. But wasn’t that the goal all along? Still, it seemed that something major changed around that time.
With the statement on polygamy i see a shift from building communities to building (and today, maintaining) nuclear families and a focus more on individual behavior with words of wisdom and rules taking on a greater importance, as did obedience to authority. With the separation of church and state (which are still intertwined) the communal aspects of economic togetherness seemed to have faded away.

But i have to ask how much of that came from the specific compromises made and how much of it from the ending of the journey and the building process. Once, the journey kept people engaged and provided a goal and means of togetherness, and then once a place was found, its transformation and building served that role again. But once you have stopped the building, then what do you do? what does life become about? What guides your worship and practical purpose in the here and now? How do you stay connected and inspired? Do you keep building or can you say – yes, this is done. But then what? what do you concern yourself with? You have the building, to go in and worship – is it what you imagined? Are you still connected? Do you feel that you have landed or do you feel a loss? Can you step into what is the next phase? And does it take you along the path, and how does that path transform?

Or do you just try to be and shine your light and encourage others to do so all around? Do you try to build other communities of light around the globe not separate or cut off but within the larger whole? But can you? Is that what this church tries to do through the missionaries and expansion around the world? But can you join with those whose light is different from yours and shine together but unique? Has the ideal changed, or has it just expanded knowing that this planet is so interconnected? But then are we not just building zones? And as one grows does another shrink back? does the energy just move around, rather than being increased to a new vibration for all?

I thought i might answer my questions through the act of writing this, and while i have answered some (for the moment), i find that what i have done is come up with even more questions to be answered.

I began this thinking of my college study of social movements and the progression they go through – from radical idealism to settlement and stability. But how can you stop and still grow and change, how is movement possible within the calm – for all does move, but is much more subtle, and the changes may not be recognized until they have occurred. Can you guide them without trying to cling to the old, without hindering movement and change, without becoming defensive of what you have and closed to all that happens around. Salt Lake is now a modern american city – you can still see and feel the founders, but while the city and area expands, it now does for different reasons, and you can sense a defensiveness and protectiveness of what is here, and at times it is hard to imagine the inspiration, activity and faith that was needed to create what was here. But it is all change.

I still ask can you build a “New Jerusalem” here on earth? While Salt Lake does not seem to be a New Jerusalem at all, and i feel that the goal was abandoned long ago (in terms of american history), i also wonder if that might be a blessing after all. The city is not being torn apart by war and strife as is the holy city in what is currently isreal. But then again, can you not try to do so and is it our abandonment of the quest of building cities and communities for god (however named or defined) that has led to the deadened places and strife around?

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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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There was a waterfall here, a tiny one, and the walls of granite glistened bright green – but that was in the spring. looking at it now you would not imagine it was there. How much else do we not imagine, that which was before and that which will return – but we do not know, we have not seen it, but having seen it we can have faith, faith that it will return, that something will appear, that there is more than meets the eye.

 
I wrote that the first day i came to the park about a week ago, when i went up the Vernal falls trail. The falls i had seen across the valley were also gone, but the Vernal and Nevada Falls still have a flow – minor compared to what they must be in the spring, but i have never truly experienced them at that time – in fact never glimpsed at Nevada Falls before. Since then i have visited several of the “falls”, places which now stand empty of water, or have but a trickle – and the famous Yosemite Falls are gone.

 

Yosemite fall have all but disappeared to a trickle down a sheer cliff, a wet spot on the granite, and the upper falls are not there at all. If you came here now and had not seen photos of them when there are full, would you believe that they were there? If someone told you about the falls after you had seen that place, would you have thought them crazy? But a you “know” that they exist, are you disappointed by what you see and yearn for more? Do you see what is in front of you, or do you imagine the famous pictures you have seen too many times. They are a trickle – so quiet, unlike in the spring when you could hear them from afar, beckoning, and the mist covering the path where people now stand looking at the trickle from a distance. If you arrived unknowing could you envision the spring birth, the cycle that they are? would you?

 

Would you even pause? this place below the “falls” still feels special to me, the trees more alive, the energy high, and the boulders and rocks special – but is that because i have seen? because there is a path that leads here? Because i have come to believe that it is special? Or is there something truly there at all times? I have returned again and again, especially in the early morning, when the sun slowly lights up the cliffs, and the area is quiet – the people have not yet come in, and the falls are almost silent from the path, and i sit and drink my morning coffee and take in what is here.

And i think of cycles and the cyclical nature of so much or maybe of it all. We have been taught to perceive of time as a linear progression but the falls show that it is an illusion – the falls are not progressively, linearly growing stronger or shrinking away, but if we arrived in the spring or lived less than a year we might imagine that they have gone – but we have faith in their rebirth. The sun is rising over the valley floor, and we do not imagine that it will continuously grow stronger, the walls will brighten and then the sun will fade. and i think about waves and tides, when it comes in will also goes out, and the moon which is close to full will fade away in our eyes (but with the sun and the moon, when they are out of sight, we believe they have not disappeared). We see these cycles, and so many more, but still imagine time and history as linear and often fail to conceive of cycles much bigger than ourselves, or of ourselves as we exist on earth this time. And the falls are a cycle – i cycle i have seen, one that others read about, and a cycle in which we have faith, faith that the snow and rain will come and the falls will appear once more. but is any less faith required than that for other cycles that we have not seen, that are longer than us.

But it is not truly a circle – a labyrinth, a spiral of sorts perhaps? for the walls of the valley alter over time, rocks fall, cliffs fall, valleys are carved, people come in, paths are built, a crash – not always a smooth movement like what we see as the flow of water over stone – but movement that is at the same time barely perceptible and with huge instant changes.

I look at the dry creek bed and find it hard to believe that it is the same creek that i saw in the winter frozen with patches of snow or in the spring rushing along. But then again is it? Is it truly the same? And i must say no – though some of it is. I have faith that the creek (which looks like a path of stones) will be filled with snow and water once again – but it will not be the same snow or the same water as before, and even when it is full, the water is in motion. Thus will it be the same creek?

Still the rocks remain and endure. i assume they are mainly those that were there before – many which were hidden away beneath the water and are now visible. And what endures is exposed to so many conditions – rain, drought, cold, heat – and they thus appear (or are) different over time. Now they are all dry not wet, and their temperature is not the same – so are they the same rocks – parts eroded over time. Or is the cycle merely much longer? I look at the face of the cliff, the moss that grows and the damp spot of the lower falls, and the lines of darks and oranger stone which mark the path of the upper falls, and see what is hidden by the water, and is now revealed. While it looks enduring, it changes too. And we assume that this stone wall is still there even when hidden by the snow, ice and rush of water.

And i think of each of us – what is that part which endures and what merely passes through? And does anything endure at all – or is it always in the process of change – and if something disappears do we not expect it do return, or do we count on it coming back as it was. For even when the falls are full, they are never the same – each moment is different as what we see as drops of water fall over the cliff.
At the base of Vernal falls was a rainbow – both on the way up and on the way down – the seven colours, of the rainbow, or the chakras, of the energies we perceive. but it appears and disappears and moves around, showing all colours of the energetic vibrations of life. and all this that we see is but energy made visible to us, the word made manifest. we see the falls are gone right now, but “know” that they are there. They remind us that there is much more than meets the eyes, but also that all really only exists in the now.

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This was written over several days during my retreat at harbin. more that was written during that time is to come.
I think of my trip in the times between here – and the story i wrote. i had been given the opportunity to rewrite the story or to write a new one of the same old places, and while to some extent i did, i also got caught in the familiar plot lines – or was it the theme. but in many locales i created new experiences and stories and added them to what was – did i alter the script, was i trying to recreate the old? and as often, i did not fully understand the opportunity i was given, did not fully appreciate it, and did not fully use it. did i cling onto the old or by returning to the familiar places, like actions, was it inevitable? for as i read what i have written, and remember what remains unwritten, the ‘place’ and my moods and visions went through several alterations – i would remember, but often would pass on through – or would remain caught. but what story came up to me and which did i make so real? which was real, and the remembered, the story, becomes real and perpetuates itself. And in the process of writing stories i came to this discovery. For not only conscious memories of “my story” came up but also those that were unconscious and i saw beyond it all too.
What is this story i have written of my life and how often do i live in the book that i have written rather than continue to write. but the story does get written, but only after the fact and i continue to live in “the” past – but “the past” is also but only a partial view of what was, for it has been interpreted and reinterpreted, certain scene played over and over again while others are forgotten about, only to reappear at random moments – not random, but when called forth by some thing or thought form in the present. but the past continues into the present when it exists in thought forms in the now – for it becomes the now. and what is the quality of this script i have written. how do i alter it, reinterpret it once again, or can i abandon the script altogether, the need for a cohesive or even scattered story that tells me who i am. for as long as any script exists can i be truly present and write something new. is abandoning it but mere delusion if it does exist but i fail to recognize it. or can i see the script as just that, a script and nothing more. and does failing to write about my experiences here make them less real, and does writing about the past serve to hold it in place. but writing is an action in the here and now, it is creation – of something.
Do i alter my story with actions bit by bit? if the thought forms are similar, does the script get altered, it must, but does the story line stay the same? how to change the direction mid-plot – can one do it without rewriting what occurred before. Can i start a new story part way through my life? a dramatic twist of plot without the theme remaining the same. yes, it is the theme that is to shift. can i rewrite the story with a different thematic slant – yes i can – my life so far an adventure of learning and exploring, of moving closer to god.
a journey of learning to gather stories of others, or seeing and feeling the world at large.
I have posted so little in the past month for i grew tired of what i had written as “my story”, but i cannot help but write. but to write it in the now, not cling to a script of a grand drama. the script may enter, but to realize all that i write need not follow it, be set in sequence, have a plot or a theme, just to write it fresh. to write it fresh.

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