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Posts Tagged ‘san francisco’

I sit outside under the magic eucalyptus trees and slowly i come to life. They are trees that call me forth from afar, that come to mind when i think of this place. They do not disappoint although the air is chill and i do not linger out there as long as i imagined i would. They call forth life as small birds sing and flicker above, and if i look carefully, one of the green parakeets comes into view. I am in my oasis, my castle above the city, my sacred place – or so i thought it was.

I come back to the hostel once again, using up the last of my 14 days per year that you are allowed – ones that i had hoarded and resisted using because they were so precious to me. Ones that i had held tight against my chest the past few weeks, though i deeply longed to return – for if not here, then where would my oasis be, and would not having the option of coming here mean that this was the end of my forray in the city? – so i held out – perhaps too long, became sick inside, until that is … i came back to this place.

But now that i write this, all that is past, and i sit inside another here and now, yearning for the calm and serenity that had overcome me. Though my current room is nicer and for the moment and probably the night i have it to myself rather than shared with many others and the mattress and bed are much nicer, it is not as peaceful as it was there, and already i can feel the jitters and inner rush return – not the flow which came back there after the depletion in the place i had been in before – the out of kilter unfocused rush of the city and tenderloin.

I am in a nice place, probably nicer inside, but it does not have the same calming but awakening vibe. i step out the doors for a smoke, and rather than being greeted by grass and trees, perhaps a walker or a dog, i am on the city streets, people smoking crack on down the block, bum a butt, ask for money, others walk through. i do not sit on a picnic table under the trees and the night sky, or in the wind that comes up, but walk around the block instead. Out back of the building is not a path up the hill with a view of the golden gate bridge and the bay and darkness at night and cyclists struggling up by day, all pausing to get a view, and a smile that they have reached the top of the hill, a photo snapped perhaps (how many of others have i taken there over the years?) but the Glide church and community center = with lines for meals a few times a day; around the block for special food bags every now and then, and the most desperate, sleeping on the street at night, and kitty corner from there, another heavy drug corner. Of course next door towards the posher area, is the large Hilton hotel, with the well dressed smoking outside, but with a more nervous or held back edge, not a park where people smile. And here i stay again, on the border between the down and out land and the hyped up tourist shopping zone; and after a few days, my room is no longer my own, but shared with a group of three, who i can tell would prefer if i (not the personal me, but i as in a person who is not part of the group)not be here. but for the moment i have the room to myself, though not the serenity of that other place. I accept that magic place is gone for the year, my 14 nights used up until next January and that there is a reason why i am here.

I had been afraid to use them up for this has been a very special place for me, one that represents peace and tranquility, but also openness and life, a bounce to my step and more – and i remember… though it is time to move on from there in my mind, hold the love, but let it go, and bring that love into another here and now.

like the city, that hostel is partially a place of my imagination rather than one that is very real, and for a while, when i come, i lose sight of that place i have built up in my mind, and focus instead on what is here, the imperfections and the flaws, and how it does not live up to that image in my head – and i wonder why was i so desperate to return.

I go into the larger dorm, it has be rearranged and has new beds. finally the thin patched foam mattresses, ones i had probably slept on my first visit there 25 year ago, have been replaced. For now it is comfortable, but as the new ones slide around on the metal base, and i can feel a coil against my knee as i sit and meditate, i know they will not endure. As is the case with the kingdom i have claimed. And there is one less bunk than there was before, but somehow the feng shui seems worse than before – the beds which had always been crammed, but were placed in such a way to allow the energy to flow through. At first i am disappointed, “it had changed, it was not as i had been” i say to myself, “this is not the place i came back to, it is so ill thought out” i criticize, what happened i bemoan. Still, in my two nights there i sleep well and deep, love my bottom bunk – that personal space – and the cold that i had lifts away. And i do not want to leave.

I remember other nights there being uncomfortable, the cards for the door not working one time, and all knocking to get in and out, my bed being the one by the door, and the snoring symphony i have endured many a time, or the music from the crowded common room seeping in, or the communal bathroom down the hall feeling so institutional, and the huge kitchen downstairs, a place where i actually cook, being out of forks the last time i was here, but all that slowly goes away, as i feel the lighter energy of the place, both inside and out. and in remembering the place, both now and before, it is not that which comes to mind, but the peace and joy and conversations i have had there.

I walk outside, am greeted by the lawn, around the back, to the view of the bay and the bridge, the sounds are of birds, chirps out fromt and the cries of gulls out back, and a few people strolling by. The hum of traffic is not to be found, and i notice when a car pulls up. I walk down to the wharf one day, and then out to the marina and the golden gate bridge another, exploring the realms beyond, and am so eager to return – to my oasis in the park.

And that is what it is for me – an oasis an oasis in the middle of the city, or rather on the edge, a safe haven from which one might leave to explore but come back to the green and more. And i want to stay there – in the peace and the calm – i retreat to my bed and awaken refreshed, brain fog cleared. for here energy is calm but flowing, alive, but smooth, nurturing without smothering, set apart yet joined and connected, in the city but not of the city. And i am so content to be where i am, and do not really want to move beyond though the waterfront calls, as does the bay, the palace of fine arts, the hills and more. Still, i am so happy where i am. I feel like a princess in my castle, at one and at peace. For a while…

But coming back, i also come back to where i was – one year, two years, three years ago – my places on my journey, and how i have moved along, but perhaps failed to move at all. And i remember the stress i had felt previous times, when it was near the time to move on, the looking and searching of where i might go, and the tension that arose when i got into that zone, a zone that i come back to for a short while. And in this zone, i find the flaws, the dirty sink water in the sink, the broken plugs, the lack of light, the loud group and more and disengage from that light i so wish to hold – as if knowing that i must physcially leave, i leave first emotionally and spiritually. But then, as it is time to go, my heart bursts wide open with love again.

For it is a center, and represents that center inside, life flows in and through, life of joy, energy transformed, stays and moves on again, a fort transformed and represents the ideal me. As i sit outside the last night there before the rain begins to unfurl, i realize that this is a park apart, and though i long to, i cannot really live in a park. or can i?

but alas, it is not a place where i can stay. i tried and asked, but my time was used up. I cried when it was time to leave, a deep sadness and loss overcoming me. I leave my bags for a few hours, not sure of where i will go. I walk behind the hostel to where the path provides a view of the bridge, and the winds pick up but i am not ready to journey on. I head down to the jetty in the drizzling rain, look up at the hill where the hostel sits and know it is sacred ground. I walk and all is beautiful in the drizzle and grey, and San francisco comes to life for me yet again. i cry not wanting to go but walk back up the hill, take my bags and go. not wanting to, but leaving that magical center – heading back into the messy world.

I am in that other place, in the center of the city right now – and feel the love for there but have stopped clinging on. I realize that my relationship to the hostel so represents my relationship to the city – the ideal, the love, the knowing that there is much more, of the fading joys when i see the imperfections and the downside, and the yearning when i am away.

But more, it also represents myself, and that center inside, whose light i must carry into the world. And to carry that center with me wherever i go, for though like the hostel, it may have its flaws and imperfection, but is still so full of light and need not be temporary. And like the hostel grounds in fort mason, it has been, and is being transformed, and is in the city/world but not of the city/world, but is connected, and a special place, with energy flowing through and being renewed. And to this center, i can go back anytime, and am not limited to 14 days per year. And it still here, even in the tenderloin.

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There are times we do not see, walk ‘blindly’ down a street, our minds or our gaze focused on other things that call our attention more. But then in a time of darkness, we see a light, one we had overlooked, rushed by, and failed to recognize. I walked by this mural many a time, but it was on a cold, grey, rainy day that I finally saw it there. Perhaps the grey revealed its brilliance more, or perhaps with the grey that had seeped inside i just needed to see it more.

May all beings ...

“May all beings be well and happy.
May all beings be harmonious and peaceful.
May all have the light, the way out of suffering, the way home.
May we each share our wonderous bright nature for the benefit of all beings.”

It warms me against the chill of the day, lighting the candle that lay inside. I am grateful to all those who add life and art to the cities and towns in this way, painting walls of buildings, and inspiring us, bringing the walls and thus the city to life. The artists are not famous, we may not even know who they are, but those who created this, and other art, shared their light not knowing what lights may shine upon them in return.

 

It is not only murals that we blindly pass not realizing the magic that is there, but the people we come across, whom we may not “see” or recognize, but who shine a light if only we would see. But like the colours of a mural or flowers on an overcast rainy day, they stand out when we are able to appreciate them most. And like the murals and public art in San Francisco, they are there if only we look, take a moment, and alter our gaze.

I walk on in the rain, feeling lighter than before, with a smile on my face as i remember other murals and people who have lit up many days.

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I turned my gaze upwards and saw something i had not seen before – a tower looming large overhead. It was there all along, but somehow i never noticed it.I was not seeking it, but suddenly it appeared, i was looking at other things, the twisted branches and tops of trees. But i turned my head and this appeared, the image of a cross and a tower looming overhead, and i began to wonder who is looking down upon us.

Who is Watching Over Us?

 

It was the juxtaposition of the symbols that caught my eye. As i walked that day, found pyramids and more, that tower kept appearing everywhere. Was i blind, for now it appears everywhere i look, and dominates the skyline and my mind. Perhaps it is calling out to me – communicating from above – calling out to all of us. I travelled about, forgetting about it, then i would turn around, look up, and suddenly it was there. And i wonder, just what power does it have – it is this that we worship the most?

So many times, when something comes to us, it begins to dominate our minds, and casts a light or a shadow over all that we see. It appears, and takes hold, and looms above all be it a fascinating discovery, a love, a worry or a fear – we see it everywhere and in all, and build upon what we envision. This tower represents so much of our current society, and i wonder about the vibrations sent out, and how it affects our bodies and our minds. And then it is time to recast the lens, refocus, cast my gaze elsewhere and call in that which illuminates.

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I was transported across a golden bridge and through a long dark tunnel to another world today. A world of magical mountains with secrets buried inside, guardians of stone, and a light that shone for all to see. … and then i came back.

 I rode a bus to Marin Headlands across the golden gate bridge, the hills that have called to me many a time. I had yearned to go, but put it off, for the bus only runs one day a week, so my timing had to be right. Though it is so close as the raven or the hawk flies, and above my head they did, it is also so far away. Though physically so close, it is another world – especially when you leave the vistas of the bay.

Marin Headlands is yet another old army fort turned part of the golden gate national park with barracks and more built into the hills and a lighthouse at the entrance to the bay; The hills speak to me as ancient pyramids (i believe they lay everywhere) and in a few of the rocks on the cliffs you can see faces (of the guardians there). The sun had come out after days of rain, and slowly the magic seeped into me.

It was not present when i first arrived and focused my attention on the old military installations and the fighter jets soared above the bay. But after a walk out to the lighthouse, my vision changed. I opened up to the call of the land and the presence that was there, being guided in my footsteps, and the magic entered into my soul. I felt like i was truly in another world and time. Faces in and on the stones, the shape of the hills, and the curious relics we leave behind for generations to come all came to life. I came to life as i became enchanted with the mysteries there, and truly felt the earth as a living entity and became connected with the all. It truly felt like another ancient holy place.

 

This is more a description of my day, but what i wrote at first sounds so much more romantic – and i hope to experience more of life that way – enchanted with the world.

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I found it today. i was not looking, and lo and behold it was there. I have written previously that i felt that San Francisco was an ancient holy center, and that the hills that it is famous for are truly the remnants of pyramids of a bygone ancient civilization.https://energiesofplace.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/re-enchantment-an-ancient-holy-place/

 

 
  

Today it was shown to me, the mother pyramid, that which was at the center of it all. She is not the tallest hill, but once i spotted her i knew. I have been near her several times, walked beneath her, but was blinded and never saw. Most likely, i had not come from the right direction, for her magic is shrouded from many angles. But she is a park, and people and dogs gather there and is marked on the maps, but somehow i overlooked her before. Maybe i was not ready to see. 

 I spotted her as i was up on Beuna Vista park, one of the hills that has spoken to me as a very special place, not only with the view of the church and the bay (and the ocean on a clear day), but with the magic energy it has. I was not planning to come here, but after a walk to Alamo Square (the first locale where the pyramids spoke to me) and a bite to eat, i was called there despite my fatique and the threat of rain. And once up there, the winds picked up and the sky turned a darker grey, but i was called to walk up and then down a different way – i said go back, it is bound to storm, but my feet kept on taking me down another path – when over the trees, i spotted it, the hill and park which i knew was the main pyramid.

I looked and saw the green grass covered hill, standing noble and seemingly alone, a few paths up were visible as were the rock formations at the top. i knew it was somewhere special, but did not know how to find my way there. The path took me out of beuna vista onto a road where i had never been, in an area where the streets twist and turn, and i was unsure on what direction to go to reach this pyramid. i turned to my right, and then another street turned down, and there it was, a pyramid for sure to be found.

 

I hesitated, not sure which way i wanted to walk up, walked around at the bottom, first to my left past a dog run, but then took the small path with steps that led to the top. The winds picked up and i could feel an oncoming storm, and although i was not too sure where i was, i pressed on.

The rock formations at the top form a different world, and as i went down and up, the wind was intense up there, and i felt like i might blow over at times, but i just wanted to speak with them. They have been painted over in places, to cover graffitti i guess, but i could make out beings in them, overlooking the city and the bay. And i wondered, who is in there? What civilization once was here? For they call back a much more ancient time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  From the top you had expansive views of the domain, the bay, the city center, and the taller hills to the south. You are in a bowl, but not. hard to explain. I went down in one direction, curious to see (and ok i admit to see if i could find a place to pee), and from the bottom near the randall museum, it just looked like a hill, nothing special. I looked up and a hawk (i think) was floating still in the air, and did so several times, majestically floating in the wind (until i tried to take a picture of him). I used the bathroom, and walked back up, talked to a woman on a bench; few people were around, a guy taking photos when i arrived, and a few lone people with gods who also paused at the rocks. The winds picked up once again, and i just knew this was it; i felt awake and alive and somehow at peace, but although i touched and talked to the rocks, i did not feel a call to sit and linger on oneI descended into the valleys, walking along, and felt my energy change once again.
I finally left, and walked down the hill (i found out where i was from the view at the top), and found myself soon on a few streets i had walked once or twice, but from there, you often do not see, or need to know how to look. i looked at its name, Corona Heights Park – so visible, but so hidden in the winding streets, but right on the 49 mile drive.

 but i know she is there, and yes, that this city was once a sacred place. I only wonder when all will be revealed – what this is now and what it was before. 

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Re-enchantment with the city – an ancient holy place or ceremonial city? hills as pyramids of a time gone by?

I am back once again inSan Francisco, that city by the bay, and today it calls forth delight in me. i am re-enchanted with this place, falling in love once again and feeling the joy and radiant energy pulse through. i did not feel this way when i first arrived, coming into the caltrain station south of market and riding a graffiti filled bus (the first like that) across the city. But once i got to the fort on the bluff where i stay, overlooking the water and the golden gate, sitting for a moment under the eucalyptus trees, i felt connected to this place once again. with the new year i can stay in this international hostel (i long ago used up all my 14 annual nights for 2010), and moved back to the room which brings me joy – not the 8 bed female dorm where my reservations were, but the 24 bed co-ed dorm (are there any other women in here?). But i am in my castle by the bay, an original bluff overlooking the bay, once protruding more before they created more land with infill, and the energy is wonderful here.

Yes i walked the wharf and the areas around, but spent my late afternoon and early evening climbing the hills. And there is a special energy to them, and i cannot but wonder if they are ancient pyramids and if the city was not once a holy ceremonial site of an era and a “peoples’ or other race long gone by.

This came to me on my last brief pass through town, between christmas and new years when i stayed in the center. My one full day, i returned to Alamo Square, a peak in the area that brings me joy, and is so full of life and light in contrast to some of what is around, it is on a hilltop and overlooks the city in all directions and as i looked to the south at twin peaks, and just over to Buena Vista park, and at another whose name i do not know, i felt as if i were in an ancient holy place, and if these hills contained a special energy, and still do today; an energy that all help feed, unconsciously, as smiles light up and joy and views are found, with an appreciation for lighting up the day, and the plants that grow and the dogs that play, all help to maintain the energy that way. that same day, less than a week ago (but eons ago to my warped sense of time) i also went up Buena Vista park, another hill closer to the Haight (whose chaotic strung out energy is yet another story), another place that has many times given me joy, and one where you feel that people are more alive, a hill planted with a variety of trees and turned into a park, with magnificent views of the golden gate bridge, the ocean, and the grand st. Ignatius church. I cannot help but feel that there is more to them than the eye reveals.

It is in these places (and more) that the city reveals its magic to me, and at times it is truly a magical place – but as in Alamo Square and today as i walked around telegraph and russian hills, i avoided looking at the one pyramid that feels nothing less that evil to me – the Transamerica Pyramid building, that infamous icon of the skyline, that which also concentrates energy, connecting earth and sky. the other day i looked at it, and the shapes of the steeples on churches, as i did again today; then the grand St Ignatius church over to the west, and today Saint Peter and Pauls and the St. Francis Assisi churches that lay off Columbus street, and saw how spirit and energy can be directed; but that pyramid – which haunts the city – with be the subject of another, darker, entry.

but today i went up Telegraph Hill and around Coit Tower just about sunset; the land felt lighter as i wandered up the streets, and the pink in the sky over the bay that faded away, remained in my heart. Another hill preserved with a park, and that tower that glows out at night; that magical tower where i thought to head the cloudy, rainy night of the lunar eclipse, that tower that inspires frivolous thoughts, and also calls back to a life i might once have had.

I walk down after dark, a cheap bite off Columbus street, the evil tower dominates what i consider to be the lower one, and then i was called up russian hill. I felt a magic return to me as i walked up the steep streets, nowhere in particular, but to the highest points for a view, and for photos of coit tower glowing in the dark and the spire of saint peters and pauls church – none which came out too well. i walk and feel lightened, and start to sing, i turn down a street and stop for a while, and realize it was the very place i stood when the beginning of the lunar eclipse came into view, and tonight i felt the joy that i did then; and of course grace cathedral and the labyrinth that i walked that night, sits on nob hill, a short walk away. And to these hills, the ones that help make san francisco famous, people come and feel something more, and in their delight help retain that energy in place.

The hills are low and we can climb up and the streets go straight up and down; we can ascend and come back down. The layout of them makes me ask, could they have been planned out long ago? There is something more, a lighter feel, connected yet apart from down below. this is an area i need to explore, for once again that insatiable sense that there is so much more. That once upon a time, long, long ago….

tonight i did not descend to that center where too many lives are hollowed out – i will return to help spread light there – but tonight i returned to the bay, and as i walked up the hill towards the fort where i stay i looked over the water below and then out towards the now darkened golden gate, and saw it as the gateway to another world – a world where i feel enchanted, and alive – which seems magical even as i lay in a bunk bed, smelling old sweat and socks, and wish that it could always be this way. but i also feel that this was once a ceremonial center, a holy place, and thus perhaps it is one we come as pilgrims to, to embrace what is here, to give it thanks and love, and to feel the special power of this place, a power to bring forth with us. i will be here a few more days, this time engaged in different activities, and i honour the power of the hills by the bay.

And i feel an interesting pulsing and moving of energy from the earth right now – no not a quake, but an underlying vibration of light, the light that calls me and others here, and that light that is beyond us all.

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The day i left Montara i felt the energies shifting again, the ground less stable and a low-lying feeling of dread – like something was about to give. A storm was coming in that morning, and arrived by late afternoon, but by then i was another world away, returning to the place where i had come from. but like my experience walking the labyrinth several nights before, i did not feel like quite the same person when i got back to the center again.

I had not planned to return to san francisco right away, but it had been in the back of my mind, and my journey led me that way. i had looked up first night on the internet, and thought of going to monterey, but with transit connections, it could be tough, or mean a very long layover, if i tried to in a single day. Now santa cruz was mid way, and for a while i convinced myself that i needed to face the energies there – the ones that had knocked me over and down on previous visits – to greet them head on and push through. But the lord told me no by blocking me path – and i returned to the city by the bay.

Cell reception was iffy at the hostel on the point, a weak signal coming in and out. i tried over and over to call the hostel in santa cruz, but they did not pick up the phone. so i called the orange villa in san francisco – tried to make reservations there – would be easier online, but could not change the dates to “today”, and got cut off several times – but the woman called me back, and left a voice mail, yes they would hold a bed until i got there – so helpful and friendly, i was glad to go.

That morning as i sat by the ocean, a bit in panic mode, i felt something was going to go, and that feeling of quake dread came up, a shift in the land and the air and more. i walked into the little town of montara and caught the bus to pacifica – wanting to get out of there – onimous feelings coming up, and as i rode the few twisting miles on the cliffs by the ocean, i wondered if i were getting out just in time. the transit exchange in pacifica is by the ocean and on low ground. I had 40 minutes to wait for my next bus, and as i did i felt all becoming less solid again – and felt like i did that day in Crescent City last July, when i just had to head inland. a few had warned me of new age predictions for a quake following the lunar eclipse, but from what i felt and watching the animals, I did not feel anything ominous before in that respect despite the energies that were pulsing in. But now i began to wonder, for it felt like something was about to give. I wanted to make it inland before all gave way. I seemed to be in a twilight zone under the grey hazy sky, and the atmosphere of pacifica – poorer and more multi-ethnic – was a world away from the zone i had just left.

I got into the city, riding BART from Daly City – collapse on my mind at first, but after i went through the tunnels that took me to the center, it dissipated somewhat – and as i emerged at powell station – my main question was why am i here? But i felt the call to walk around with the drizzle and all.

I was called to the civic center area, where i have felt “something there” many a time on previous visits to the city. There is a pulse, beyond or beneath the buildings and people and the large open square, and once again i wondered about underground streams or fractures of something more. And i also asked why this locale was chosen for the impressive buildings and governing center. In the area and on Larkin St – i feel a sense of being which i cannot describe.

There was feeling of ground slipping as i walked west on market street between the civic center and the castro. As grey turns to drizzle and to rain, the ground seems less firm, and i return to a twilight zone. The sense of all not really being as it seems returned and i like i felt like i did in seattle this spring the first few days near pikes place market. all feels surreal, i wonder if it will dissolve. The rain comes down more, so i go for a coffee and a bite to eat, and re-emerge on the concrete streets, walking in the light rain. night is coming, i return to my room, and the skies open up and pour down below. And by the next morning i feel something has changed, though the land did not give out that night.

The next morning i walked out again, to the library in the civic center area, and then beyond through hayes valley, walking a street i rarely did. i turn a corner, pick up a coffee, and sit down. Suddenly a stillness and peace came upon me – that i had not felt in a long time – a true presence and calm that felt so new to me, and i radiated in that for a while – being truly present and at one with it all.

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i walked the outside labyrinth at grace cathedral tonight and it affected me in ways it had not before. I truly felt each twist and turn as i slowly made my way towards center. I have come to this labyrinth many times before, and had been here my first night in town – walking in warm winter air. I noted then how a group of teenagers sat about the edge and on the circle on the farthest side, and tried not to focus on how my path was blocked, but told myself i would just simply walk around it, and lo and behold the obstacle, or girl, moved aside for me.

Last night was different – i’d had a rough day, one where loneliness welled up inside and i asked myself why i found myself here again – i had tried to go out earlier in the evening, make my way to the park or the beach, but busses and trains were too full to get on, and then after i took a break to eat i was glad, for the rain began to pour down so i crawled back inside in more ways than one – and then finally lifted myself back out and found me walking up there – wondering if i would be able to see the moon. i could it was full in the sky – through a whisp of cloud and then clear. in the quiet park across the street with red lights on the trees, i looked up, wondering when the earths shadow would begin to make its way across, and made my way to the church.

the first time i walked i felt the longness of the journey to the center and back out again – the twists and turns that come onto the path and the feeling that you will never get there. as i stood in center looking at full moon, i felt waves of energy pour into me after the hard day – then as i walked back out – nearing the edge but not getting out and coming back and circling the edge of the center, i realized that i often wanted to be where i was not – and to be both in the center and on the outside and for so long felt caught in the maze between – not realizing that it was a connecting path. i walked out and started to sing “i’m on top of the earth, looking down on creation”

it was to be a little while before the eclipse began so i walked the labyrinth of nob hill – up and down the streets look up and at the city below. going out from the center there and returned as the earths shadow was beginning to cover the moon.

i came and walked again, asking that all my experiences be brought in and integrated, lessons brought forth, the joys and the pains so that i may transmute them to light. i walked slowly pausing at each twist and turn, and did not mind how long the journey took. i stayed in the center and called forth the light as the shadow grew over the moon covering over 3/4 of it – and then i turned back out into the world once again, shining light on the passageways and beyond. As i was about to emerge, thick clouds came in and blocked out both the shadow and the moon, obscuring the all of the eclipse. So i walked down the hill to where i stay, that messy center at the bottom of the hill.

and i realized one of the many lessons that was being presented to me – to remember – just as the earth’s shadow obscures the brightness of the moon, our shadows sometimes obscure our light, but we need to have faith that the light is still there, and will shine bright once more, even if for a moment we cannot see.

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It was a fairy tale – it was all a fairy tale that i believed in, that i somehow magically wished to be true, to come true; san francisco has been a fairy tale in my mind for so long, and although i was shown that this tale was not true so many times, i wanted to believe, like a little girl i had to believe – it had become so real to me that i could not recognize that it was but an illusion. It was the dream that i craved though i never took the steps to make it real, and it was a dream i could no longer find, and came back to when i blew the others away or when they were blown apart by strong gusts of wind. it is a dream i could not name, but like a little girl reading a fairy tale i believed in it; and after the story faded away, and i was conscious of it no more, it still claimed me though i was not aware.

the ideal of Eden, of heaven on earth, the ideal of a place where if you could just make it to, everything would be ok, no not ok, but grand and alive. a place where you would suddenly and magically be able to thrive. And i realize now that i have spent the better part of 10 years searching for this Eden, and the searching and not building up, has left me in a purgatory zone. On one level i knew that such a place did not exist, but on another level, buried deep inside, it was a notion that i clung on to. like the little girl, the teenager of long ago, who would suddenly be allowed to live once she got out of where she was – and san francisco became a place it focused on. it was not only here, but also new york, but that dream was revealed for what it was, an illusion, a long time ago, And even the dream of the place was not really accurate, but a myth i chose to believe, a myth that propelled me forward in my youth and that i returned to when i could vision others no more – the one that held when others, that were more deep, but would require a greater risk, and the possibility of failure, or were said to be too tough, or i just couldn’t believe – were pushed aside. perhaps i am lazy and do not want to work, but i have stripped myself empty coming back here – it is a city, a nice one i admit, but it is not the fairy tale land of my imagination, and probably never was. Perhaps that is why i have been stuck in tourist zone all my times here – for to venture further would be to admit that this magical simple land really does not exist – that it is me, and my own actions that must create magic in a place. and that is it, this, when away, was one of those visions of glory i could hold, a light when all became dark around, the lighthouse that called me forth, and pulled me across the land. But as i wrote last spring, it is an imagined place, and that i have been shown time and time again – and i did not listen, and though i saw, i was blind. For it is inside and out that i must work to create the magic around.

Now i know it is not just my personal myth that plays in here, but also that san francisco builds itself up that way – as an international tourist destination – the marketers come into play, and the stories that surround this place in words and song, and that’s what fairy tales are all about. A place to visit, to be free, with hills and towers and fog that sails under a golden gated bridge to an amazing bay, with fisherman and trips on boats and even visit an prisoners island from which no one could escape. and the hills, and cable cars, and fanciful homes, and it is romantic you know – be in italy dining al fresco along columbus street, or imagine yourself to be one of the beats or across town playing in the summer of love over 40 years ago; the town is magical and holds that allure for many, but it is a fairy tale, a place to engage all those stories of make-believe and is not daily life – can it be? but then it would not be a fairly tale no more – it would actually be your life – and how to live one full of love and joy – this – the place per se as envisioned, can bring it on temporarily,
i walked down along fisherman’s wharf last night, on my way to visit the sea lions, and very few were there, and looking out at the quiet bay was when this hit me, that i had seen myself as a princess in a fairy tale and this was the magical kingdom that was my home. And it was there by the bay, that the illusions that had clung to me and the warnings i had received hit me over the head with a full force. i was not sad or angry, more reflective than anything, as i saw what had been presented to me so many a time, and asked just why i didn’t really see before – or why i did not remember what had been revealed to me.

I had gone down to visit that area one last time, to ride the cable cars once again, before the rain came in. i had wandered that day, to the ocean, a view of the bridge, sang with seagulls, and written about the turrets reflecting castles up on the mount of alamo square where that vision of looking down at a kingdom came to me – right after dull thoughts on how my life has led me to the tenderloin, and how i am no different from those who are cast down and i just pretend.

but i pushed that thought away, and later saw the light around. that night i walked down to pier 39, and saw the myths of san francisco again – i cut through union square and then china town – now just stores with cheap goods, which is most likely what it has always been, but I remember back when it seemed so different, before the proliferation of globalization and cheap chinese goods everywhere. we still come back, the banners fly on the street, and tourists smile; i went into city lights bookstore, the place that relives the mythology of the beats and for a moment you can be a hipster writer, and down columbus street, a night with chairs out on the sidewalk under heat lamps, few were around, and i cut through a quiet residential neighbourhood feeling at peace, feeling in fantasy land. And i saw san francisco as truly a place where you can pretend, make-believe you are living grand, and for a while, to visit, it is true. and the joy of those who pass through add to this place.

But it is a place to pass through i feel – for it is a city, one that is diverse, grand, overwhelming and expensive, and i ask myself what would i really do here. does the city as it is, in all its complexity truly bring me joy? What does the city life entail? And while coming here recalls my dreams, and the city represents the ability to dream, are they really held in this physical place. Yes i like the climate, even in the fog and the rain, the nature, the hills, the architecture, the transportation and common areas, but what could i contribute here? and how would i survive? and if i stayed, this place would no longer be one to imagine when i desperately needed to recall my dreams – or any dreams or visions. For it is but a place – that is all. and it can be a very hard place as well.

And it is a place i loved to explore – but i ask myself after all the times here, am i just retracing worn passageways – is it a passion that can hold? Can i stay and still explore, or are the two contradictory? Do i become jaded and exhausted by all? Is it a problem with stopping anywhere – that i must change my activities as well – and to what and how? and that is a question that eats at me.

While the city represents dreams – a place to be me – it is much more in the imagination than in practicality. And it also symbolizes the disillusion with them – as i see what this place is also about – for symbols are contested and diverse – and it is really a place in my mind or heart that i return to, one that does not hold – and the limits of this thought – that i could start living once i found that place – have been long shown for what they are – for life is what happens anyways – and i see the down and out of the tenderloin and others who do not contribute or plant seeds, and i see myself so clearly in them. but is here a place where seeds can really take hold, and plants to grow – and the answer in my heart, or is it my head, says no – and i am still not sure which is speaking to me. have i been telling myself no – or has the place and the universe been telling me so – and to that i wish i had a clear answer – i wait to hear, but i do not.

But with the disillusionment – it first came on when i briefly visited in my 20s – one summer trip – and the city was not that of my teenage dreams (and even those were a myth) – and i know once i ended up staying in the mission or soma (before it was called that) when nonprofits still could afford to be in town – back in my radical days – and i felt sad and yearned to move on. And when i came back in 2001 – the day before 9/11 – it is meaningful that i woke up to that here – at the beginning of this journey – and saw the city as a place for the rich, the tourists, and more desperate down and out that i have ever seen, and in the past 3 years i have migrated back here many time – with mixed feelings every time – liking it best when i can staying in my enclosed castle by the bay (fishermans wharf hostel) – and then i am enclosed. but the layers of the story have been written over time, and once here all come into being – the neighbourhoods and life of stability which has become so foreign to me – and like all cities, even with the common areas and diversity – it is a place where people pass by and do not interact – and i feel lonely here – but i do not interact myself – what to hold onto – and is the living vibe really me?

but am i called to the center – those faces that haunted me back in 2001, have become more real to me – and does this place also reflect the nightmare that has hung on to me for so long, as well as the dream – and are they two sides of the same story – the fairy tale land and the deep dark forest that threatens around? to be honest, both claim me here – and can san francisco be anything else? should it be?

as i write this i realize that it has been the haunting of that nightmare, of ending up alone living on the street, that has driven me and my travels even more than the dream – and that the two are so intertwined, inseparable almost. The belief that if i followed my passions i would end up on the street – but i only partly followed them, and often backed away, and am now kinda homeless anyway. but have i truly come to believe, that one is not possible without the other. is it really fear that has driven me all this time?

I think back to waking up here on sept 11, 2001 – and walking down on market street, that day and those that followed, when all the stores and offices were closed – and what i saw were those cast aside, living on cardboard on the street – and it recalled not only one of those intense nighttime dreams that i have had – the ones that take hold of you and whose remnants remain, but also of new york and going there to my dream, not just stepping over sleeping bodies as i made my way to the subway at night or into the first place i lived (which was i all could find, without skills in apartment hunting, huge deposits, or references) but which was sneered at so), and the martha washington hotel – a women’s residential hotel that is no more where i ended up, after moving around and getting caught in an illegal sublet – with both some low paid office workers and students like me, but also the older ladies in odd dress who asked daily for the mail or messages that never came, or the odd screaming from women on other floors, and the rats in the hall at night – but now i also remember being happy there – though i ran back home at the end of the year.

was it beliefs that were engrained in my when young, that if i set out, i would fall down bad, homeless – that it was best to play it safe, and not venture forth – and then the worries followed me. and i have been homeless for many years – and all i could hope for here – is a room in a residential hotel once again – and i see all those who beg on the street – not merely those who are so far gone – but the young and middle-aged who find themselves stuck here – penniless – having once sought out their dreams.

And as i walk around i am reminded of this nightmare, one that is probably more powerful that the dream – and i ask myself which really drew me back here this time – it was the need to dream again – to throw off the heavy weight that clung to me in Salt Lake – but i also know the nightmare was there – as the winter and the cold came in – and i walked through shelter land on the way to a gallery -not a diverse area like the tenderloin with so many of all kinds about – and asked myself what if i get stuck on the street right here where there is no easy way out and there is real winter? Just truly what was it that drew me here this time. San Francisco has come to represent both the dream and the nightmare so clearly in my mind – and in my heart.

This city is so complicated, no longer a simple fairy tale. And i am no longer a little girl – but she is still there – and she wants to believe in fairy tales once again – and occasionally she can – for a short while – until.

And i ask myself – have i always believed that i am only able to visit my dreams?

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back to the rain

I forgot about the rain – how the sky turns to grey and the mist hangs low and calls you within – how the drizzle turns heavy and you get wet quickly – and how the dampness enters into the bones. How it closes in and you crawl inside and explore no more. The rain began today and is supposed to hang on for many more and i ask just what am i doing here.

It held off for most of the day, and i was able to explore a bit, but then it turned to a world of umbrellas and i hid out inside – and if i am inside, does it really matter where i am – the expansion of thought and feeling that occurred when i was riding the train, all but disappeared when i went in and sat down. I was thankful that i got out earlier and rode the muni trains around – out to where they are at street level and you can see the neighbourhoods around. Still i got off but once, to walk and explore, in one of the many areas to the south where i had never been – but a chill got into my bones, and i hurried back to where it was dry and warm. Faced turned towards the ground as the rain picked up a steady stream – and yes, this was the other coast i remember all too well – the one that does not inspire my imagination at all.

But earlier i took the train down church out to Balboa park – and so many place i would like to take a stroll – the homes in different colours and styles, with so many whimsical motives, and parks to walk, and stores and commercial streets, and trees to Ingleside and more lived in places, neighbourhoods of different types. with the time of year, it is not only the skies that are grey, but they turn dark so early, just before 5pm, shortening the day even more. i was inspired, but i felt blocked, and ended up back in the center of town again. I wished to explore and this place calls me forth, but am i to remain unto myself. the rain is predicted to be even greater over the next week or so.

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