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Posts Tagged ‘santa cruz’

The energy is chaotic here – pulsing wildly – up and down with edge. I am back in santa cruz and feel so off kilter once again – cannot calm or think clearly through. It is contradictory – smooth kindness yet barriers and prickly edges. It feels intense and i know i have felt this way here before – i cannot concentrate of think clearly and i ask myself why i am back. what am i doing here for i know i get caught up in the chaos that not only i feel – a lovely place for some, thriving, but the homeless and the disconnected are many, feeling this energy, contributing to it too. what are these pulses and why do i feel them so? The day is sunny and not as hot as previously, feel energy stagnating inside as well as pulsing through – i feel caught and outside. once again like i did not take a leap when i could, now feel as if i am stuck forever – empty yet restless. Is it being back in a populated area, an alternative town, or what? Being near the coast once again? I don’t know and this does not make sense and i know it is not good for me but how to move through, can i, or am i stuck in this place. my energy becomes chaotic and others see it and thus i do not help to uplift the place though i try to smile and be kind, feel the craziness once again – there is so much around. Is it the activities i engage in or rather the lack of them? Am i just reflecting myself outwards, or am i too much of an antenna, picking up the vibrations around, and what channel am i tuned to? For it is a channel that plays loudly here – to transmute it through – for have met many who also seem scattered, disorganized, fragmented – is it who i meet, but i have done so many times in this place before? When i am here i feel weak, like something is being sucked out of me, and something is scattering me – there are places here – towards the bottom of the hill near the hostel where i feel energy move – lighter, something in the ground. There is an unevenness here that i cannot explain. Does it not exist because many do not feel it, do not feel vibrations or pick up on others, or have made themselves a bubble, contained, able to move through and not get swayed, those who uplift the space, but i also see effects in others around. does one become a self enclosed container or how does one choose what energies pulse through and which get caught and which take over. The calm center disappears here, so why am i here. my writing reflects the scatteredness of the mind, of my own energy, the tension inside. At times travelling through places i feel like the canary in the mine, so sensitive – but we are not disconnected, and what harmonizes with me and how to harmonize with positive energy around. Santa Cruz has a discordant energy and i feel it – is it the natural environment, the built material world, energies built up over time that have been held in place, the variety of people around, a clash in the vibes, not smoothly blending? I know it is not just the moment – the phase of the moon or confluence of the stars for this is a familiar feeling for me in this town.

And i thought i had written this before – and i have six months ago. https://energiesofplace.wordpress.com/2010/04/02/frenetic-energy-in-santa-cruz/ Have i learned nothing in the past six months? I realize that i have not broken free. What is it that i need to learn? To love, to give, but where am i meant to be for i realize this place, and places like it are not good for me. or is this my role?

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I have come back to San Francisco and my energy seems calmer. I felt it becoming that way on the bus up and then on the train, once we had crossed the mountains from the coast. the mountains act as barrier not only to precipitation and the cooler ocean air, but to the energetics as well – for up and down this state the valley is different from the coast – in climate, in landscape and vegetation, and in mindscape. From santa cruz, bus 17 goes into san jose, one end of the silicon valley, and then i hopped on the Caltrain up through the sprawl that leads from there to San Francisco, of what were unique towns now merged together, but with little well-maintained tree-lined downtowns near the stations, and more. so i was already out of the zone, back into one of everyday living, of the day-to-day life – in all appearances pleasantly lived.

I came to the tenderloin – to the youth hostel where i often stay. And despite the misery that surrounds with broken down people on the street, i did not feel as bad – the energy dig not cling to me. Perhaps it is a different kind of homelessness here – one that is more desperate with people who have fallen so far. A misery that in some ways allows me to feel good, or better about myself at the same time i feel sad. I am not a druggy, and as i walk along i pass drug sales on the street, and what is smoked is not just tobacco or marijuana. A disoriented man stumbles down the street ” too much crack, too much crack here” And i stand somewhat apart – they know and i know – i walk by and am not approached in any way. The race is different, more african americans and their background seems different as well – do not exhibit the signs of the fall from the middle or upper class. And so many are physically disabled, with walkers or more. It is a desperation, those who seem so far removed, muttering, appearing as empty souls or have a chaotic energy that buzzes.

It is a place of those who come here and stay here, and many who will never leave, unless it is to this zone in another locale. And while this area inhabited by many – immigrants, tourists, workers passing through – it belongs to the down and out. yes i read about conflicts looming on the books, but for the moment this is their area. It is a neighborhood where people, no matter how poor or broken down or new to the country are accepted for who they are. It seems to be a place where people can be, are allowed to be. And in that sense it is safe. Businesses and services cater to the need of those on the edge – single room occupancy hotels, social services, food banks, churches, stores on almost every corner selling alcohol and cigarettes, and many laundromats are to be found. Yes, there are cheap restos, and a few real stores. And many of the poor, especially the newcomers, are not strung out on drugs, or on the visions in their minds. Despite it all, there is a life to the streets, people interact and talk or mutter to one another and store keepers seem to know many who come in. And i do not feel at all threatened here, for the energy is not one that connects to me. I try to smile as i look on, return greetings of those who say hi, and pass on through.

In Santa Cruz i did feel a connection with many, though I not allow myself to truly connect. I felt more akin to those who were there – of so many walks – those who sought out the good alternative life, who live on the edge, seeking (or once seeking) something that was higher, truer than what is offered by the mainstream. And there i felt the energy of all – of those who are living the good alternative life i thought that i should live, the one that i (half)believed was my due, and those who sought something beyond, and got caught, and of those who choose to live on the edge.

And it makes me think of the law of attraction which is bantered about so much, to me a simplistic view of the world, what you think/feel is what you attract, but with these journeys i see how like attracts like. How i feel strongly some vibrations, others flow through or brush by, and i’m certain there are so many of which i am unaware, and still other energy forms stand as hard a steel, i see but do not penetrate. In santa cruz i felt it all, similar, compatible vibrations, i felt the life, and i felt the judgements, both those of others, and those of myself – towards myself and towards others as mirrors for who i am.

Here in the tenderloin, i step back into my familiar role as the observer, and imagine myself outside although i know that all is part of the larger dance. And i feel apart – here at the youth hostel, and in the city outside, and in the area, i have talked to and connected to no one. A few simple superficial conversations, but so little that has sunk in. And while i feel less visible, i also feel isolated and invisible, and disconnected. When i was in a place where all rushed through, knocking me asunder, there were many who i chatted with and i did not feel so alone.

While the energy here does not bowl me over, i know that it seeps in – slowly and informs me as i inform that which is around. Today i went walking around the city, and then felt a sinking as i came into this area. The triangle forming the tenderloin can be a swirling vortex sucking in, a vacuum cleaner for the city, and while the pull on me is very weak, i, like anyone, am not totally immune to its sucking powers. It is an area of darkness, and i am aware of that, but i return once again. To remember? To forget? I do not know. But i come back, and see some of the light that is here, and try harder to shine my light while i am here. But it also waves over me, i see the soulessness, some of the walking dead, and i slowly start to despair, become heavier, and draw in some of the gloom. And then i make sure to walk out and away – feeling somewhat confused and very alone. For i know, that this is a place to visit but not to stay.

And i feel cut off, a feeling that began when i rode through the suburban zones, zones where the vibration is also different from mine. For there i felt apart, an alienation of sorts, a different style of life, that i relate less and less to. I am not apart from that, but it seems as distant from me as many of the lives outside my window, and the alienation is greater. I will write about that some day, for i am sure that i will pass through that zone too.

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Energy rushes through and jitters around. I feel it flowing, in spurts, unevenly, through my veins and joints. I feel something off kilter in the air or in the ground, and i know i have felt it before, on my previous visits here – but never so intensely. The energy feels chaotic, and messy. Much more alive than when i was in monterey just down the coast – too alive, kinetic and frenetic.

The vibrations are disorganized as my thoughts are becoming – disorganized like the lives of so many here that you see on the sidewalk and on the buses and walking around and i have come into that and feel different, sicker every day. Or am i feeling better, clearing out processes and thoughts, all rushing through. In any case the energy is alive and strong and strange. And i feel off balance as i sense the earth shifting below my feet, the world becoming less dense for a moment or two.  Or is this an opening, for i have felt the energy flowing through, the loosening of joints and emotions pouring out and within. Is this liberation, a clearing out of what has been held inside for too long. Is this the energetic restructuring that so many new agers write about? I Felt the spurts in the kitchen my first night here, and wondered if it were the fridge gone amok, but it was outside. And at night i slept and slept, 10 plus hours and wanting more. And it was not just the change in the weather.

Is it the bay, the land, the people, or maybe just the position of the stars? though i have felt this way here before. Is it my activities though they were different this time. I feel a rushing, and a lightness and the earth becoming less dense like it is slipping away for just a moment. And i remember that feeling from the first time i was here, thought it was hunger, but there was also soon to be a small quake. And the energy seems unstable, as it did so many places in Central America – the land of earthquakes, volcanoes, and turmoil, a land that is unstable. But the quality here feels different, its vibration may be at the same speed, but the tone is not. However, it reminds me of what i felt on lake atitlan, and there i felt something processing through, something powerful and of whose quality i was unsure.

And i wonder – is it the energy of the people around – thought forms floating through space, thought forms that i pick up on and feed upon? (but now that i finish this in San Francisco, in the tenderloin, where so many are so far gone, i know that it is not just that for i am not effected the same way here). It could be partially, the chaotic thoughts of many, intensified, but it is more. There is something about this place that draws people in and chews some of them up.

The energy here calls you in, takes you over – if you are open – and possibly churns you up and pushes you away, and transforms you. It twinkles brightly, and then shoots out in spurts. Santa Cruz is a place of eccentrics. Are they/we drawn here by the energy, or does the energy which is here make people more eccentric, pushing too many over the edge. A diffuse energy that opens one up to a sense of the new but that bounces around in a way that some cannot handle. It is a place where so many are different, that it is ok to let go. But is it a letting go, or a push. And can i let go? Am i meant to? What is it in the air?

 Does it take from all who feel it, or have we just not learned to work with it, to be freed by it. Would it be more liberating if we just let go. That there are so many competing chaotic thought forms here that it makes it all ok to let loose. And is it not letting it reach out and push through, an incomplete transformation that leaves to many – well partial? Or is there a clinging of other darker energy that prevents it from taking hold? Or is it just a craziness?

For some of the vibrations are harsh, on the street signs i wrote about, with all the nos and in some of the young street punks, who look so hard, and so strung out. The young punks with dark clothes and multiple piercings and tough looks on the faces. Scowling and every second word seems to be a fuck, rejecting all – how badly were they rejected themselves. and yes the disorganized vibe of drugs but it is more. And i feel like i am loosing it. Or am i?

And the energy is loose and tight at the same time – for while many seem open and glowing, others are scattered and others seem so tightly drawn, protecting themselves,  or hoarding the light they have received.  And that energy that is loose and moving intensifies, bouncing back upon itself, bouncing off the invisible walls. Is it felt in the bounce of the ocean against the land? the mountains behind that keep the vibrations here, that block the flow inland? Is it those who cannot feel it, or in those who can but do not wish to and thus try to shut it down, encouraging all not to break the bounds. but some have, and some succeed, and in others there is the appearance, the words, but the fear of truly letting go – because then what – what if we all did really let go. Would we fall down onto the street, or could we all be uplifted.

And is the darkness within the light, within that which flows and spins, an integral part of it, or has it just been caught, caught in the spin. I feel like i am crazy on the outside, defective but there are so many like me here. And i begin to fear, what if i do really lose it. Is this a breakdown or a breakthrough? Why do i fear letting go? Why are we told to hang on – afraid to think out of the bounds.

I leave, run away from the place, could have just wandered up or down a bit, to the sea or the forest, but instead i go to the city. Process it slowly – can i , do i make a leap. And i begin to wonder if everyone was right – if i should just admit that i am crazy, lay down and admit it, and let myself cross that bridge. Cross over – is the next dimension really there?

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Yesterday i wrote about the mean spirit in santa cruz, and today i saw its opposite at the homeless “fair” – one stop “shopping” for a load of goods and services – or at times appointments and waiting lists. Still the place was full – full of the homeless and near homeless – the young and old, some you would see as street people, worn clothes and unkept and others who you would not imagine as homeless if they were not there, (for we are not all fitting a single description and often just look like your (poorer) neighbours), getting forms and fees waived for replacement ids, haircuts, information on transitional shelters and their waiting lists (though you had to ask around for information for the one winter seasonal emergency shelter) and dental care, and eyeglass appointments (if you had “lived” in Santa Cruz country for at least a year), and the sign for employment had info about a resource centre, and there was bicycle repair and lunch and sign up for voice mail or a mail box, and info for alcoholics anonymous and substance abuse services, and how to get a savings only account at a bank and i felt overwhelmed, and ended up with pieces of paper for i do not have a place to stay, even to wait out a waiting list for a place. And then…what.

There are many workers, many who want to help and i can see their frustration, and some of the good programs set up, for Santa Cruz has many – they estimate about 4000 homeless and the services to go with it. In some ways, Santa Cruz could be a place to stay in order to use the resources and i was tempted. But to get tangled into the complicated net, the self-perpetuating web, which really has no way out – to be helped by the system but then to get caught, one temporary “solution” to the next, and back outside, and another line and another form to fill (are you in the target group, and will they get their funding) and another waiting list and another series of appointments and then maybe, just maybe, something if you can fit yourself into the box. And while there is kindness, there is no solution – high unemployment, low wage jobs, a crazy cost of housing so that even many of the well paid workers find it tough to live.

And there were the volunteers, members of helping organizations and many churches, the salvation army and more, and those who served the food and the one who took time to talk and you could see the caring aspect of this community. Those who truly seek to serve, whose eyes do care, who give of themselves and not just to feel better about themselves. But it was a “trade show” or “consumer show” where people were processed through, yes with kindness, but still moved through the line. And there was so much and so little at the same time.

The fair took place in the civic center – a large room with tables set up and confusion – and not knowing the system i felt overwhelmed. I heard about the fair the day before, when i arrived in town and wondered if that was i was led here, why i came – time to face the facts and reach out. It was overwhelming and difficult to go to. I Began to shake and cry, and despite all the services, there was no one to talk to – line-up everywhere, moving efficiently and doling out services. One older woman wearing a cross saw my distress and talked to me, listened, and i could see sympathy in many eyes – but here there are so many on the streets or part of the hidden homeless. The older men serving lunch of spaghetti, rolls and iceberg lettuce salad, offering second helpings wanting to ensure all had enough to eat, smiling and serving.

Still i broke down and left feeling worse than i did when i came, hopeless and feel bad about myself. Feeling broken – i took a walk around the block, crying, wondering what have i come to. i went back, asked about mental health, and there was little, in the area, services for addictions, a waiting list if you had medicaid, etc, and someone to hand out a pamphlet. And i felt like i was breaking down or breaking through, i did not know what. When all around, most seemed calm.

And while there is the caring, a plethora of services, there are loops to jump through. And many of the services inadvertently serve themself. Yes, the sweet woman who invited me to the soup kitchen, and the other man who talked about it, run by church groups so it seems, but so many are dependent on people being down so that they may serve, and it seems that way with the established organizations. Yes, many truly helping, but others just as caught in the web – for all it on and all is connected and interdependent, and the helped and the helpers foster dependency on one another. I felt sad, i felt unworthy, i felt sick, i felt shaky. I cried alot, inside and out.

And today the fair is over and life goes on. Yes, many on the streets here, many helping, and many not liking that all this exists. Some were helped, food and toiletries given, ids to be received, a few things set up and for some it will change how they live but for most it will not, and the agencies will be busy and those seeking help are counted and documented, and some feel better and some feel worse. And it was a day. And i felt overwhelmed, and something inside shifted, but i do not know what.

I felt confused, not only in the place that overwhelmed, but inside myself, and with where i am going and what i have become.

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Santa Cruz, California – the town of the “no” and of control in order to maintain a blissful existence. It is a town where you fear a ticket or more for a minor infraction of the law. You do not dare jaywalk or smoke on the wrong street. It is a beautiful downtown area with wide sidewalks, trees in bloom, tables and chairs in front of restos, and painted, restored buildings with tasteful facades, and full of progressive stores – organic market, on the way in a yoga studio and more. But it is regulated and the liberal oasis comes at a cost of constraint, and it makes you wonder what is meant be liberal anymore.

On the sidewalks, several times on ever block, are fresh signs informing all of the municipal code – no smoking, no alcohol, no dogs, no skate devices and no bicycles on sidewalks. The no smoking is new but the rest has been around for some time. The first time i came here was Halloween a few years ago, when there were even larger signs advising that fines were doubled or tripled on that day (as there were to be festivities in town). So the niceness seems forced, somewhat unreal.

 And while it flies in your face here, i have seen it elsewhere, in Nelson BC, beginning in Victoria and to a lesser extent in other California coastal towns (and i have not been to Boulder in 24 years where i hear it is much worse). But it seems to be endemic to “progressive” granola towns – that wish to regulate all – to maintain an oasis of good, of peace, or something.

On the one hand Santa Cruz has much alternative spirituality and lifestyles, but on the other hand i can’t help but think of it as a cruel place, a mean place, a place without spirit. At least by the signs on the street. But you also meet many who are open, and you wonder about what kind of conflict brews beneath the surface. And it is true, you see a fair amount of people with backpacks and suitcases and more hanging or living on the street – the homeless the street kids and more. But why the war on them (us?), and why are people still here and coming when the cruel policies of the town have been going on for so long.

And i have wondered about this in other places, years ago in Victoria – the street kids mecca in canada – where as the liberal town cut back, and had more limits, more no trespassing signs on alternative stores selling hemp and natural products, a town that removed many public benches etc, and as the services for the homeless were large, other policies were mean – as was here first. And you feel it. But what is the draw of these places – are they ones that claim the light – that there is enough light to shine, and those who come are drawn to it, like a plant or flower bends towards the sun or the way moths gather around a light. Believing that there is enough to go round and wanting to share in it.

Or are those on the street to show and be the shadows help the people reach enlightenment. It is in places like this that i imagine this scenario though i have never actually seen it as such – a well dressed eco women in stylish hemp wearing natural makeup and fairtrade accessories steps out of an SUV on her way to the natural foods store gets angry at a young dirty cigarette smoking youth in second hand nikes eating a donated big mac sitting on the sidewalk with his beat up knapsack for polluting her energy and messing up her bliss.

And i say to her – perhaps this person is here to help you reach enlightenment, to reach nirvana. Yes, inner peace is easy when you are in a comfortable place, warm and dry, with a sufficiently full belly of wholesome food, surrounded by loved ones. Yes, it is so much simpler then. But even Siddhartha left the palace, and went out into the world where there was suffering, no longer wishing to be imprisoned in the golden castle, hidden away, and then only achieved true enlightenment, where one is at peace with all, with everything. And compassion, loving kindness, loving one another, remembering that all are one is part of it. And perhaps they are here for you to practice on.

But the streets are also full or the dark shadows – not the run down poverty and decay of too many towns, or the gangs and graffiti that plaque too many streets. But a reminder of our society, of what could happen to all, or the downside where people are dirty and unkept and run down and at times plain noxious. Any could it be otherwise.
But there is also something with wanting to control the behaviour of others, or forcing people to conform to “our” standards and the more i have travelled, and been in hostels and other places, the more that i realize that people will not always act according to your expectations and that you cannot live your life trying to get people to “behave” – that just as you cannot control life you cannot control others.

I wrote this last night and then i was tested, and once again i understand how the closededness happens – for i am not any different from those i criticize, and maybe that is why i criticize so much. For i do not have the generosity of spirit if i am disturbed or bothered, i myself do not reach out and help all in need.

Last night i was asleep in the dorm, grateful that the woman who i thought might snore did not (again thinking about myself) when after 1 am there was a loud pounding at the door. Again and again and again. At this hostel there is an 11pm curfew after what time the door code shuts off and you cannot get in. Instead of being sympathetic and concerned about a person who was locked out, i became annoyed at the noise, the incessant pounding and her loud voice when one of the guys in the other dorm let her in.

She was not registered, did not know the code, and was coming in, long after the office and the dorm buildings closed. She said she had paid that day on-line which i knew was impossible because you must do it three days in advance. I became worried about my safety and the safety of my possessions. I did not want to complain (but inside i did), the office was shut and it was raining. I became annoyed, and was not generous or nice – and then i questioned myself. Why do i not do as i preach, a generosity of hospitality, welcoming the stranger in the night, opening your heart and home. but even i, who lives on the edge was closed of heart, and self concerned and stingy more worried about myself than about another. Getting uptight for infractions of the rules.

And i lay there, not liking my feelings and emotions for it spat in the face of what i just had written. For i am not pure, i am closed and therefore maybe i can feel compassion for those who are closed as well, who do not give. I see myself as different, but i am the same as both, as the person who sneaks in in the night, and the person who turns them away – and if i can hold the contrary sentiments within myself, then what change and justice can i expect in others.

Did i become this way because i had earlier sensed that energy – or rather the blocked and hoarded energy that does not flow? Or did i pick up on that energy (when there is actually much positive and giving around) because i possess it within? Or both, for i remembered a time, some years ago, in another hostel, a large anonymous hostel, where another had brought a guest into the dorm room, yes breaking the rules, but again i was not open of heart, tolerant of another, pissed off instead of welcoming – and again it was on the same night that i had pondered my fate and imagined myself camping out on someones land, and wondering why they would be upset if they were not using it, if i was only sleeping. And god tells us to be kind, for it we all truly were, then we could live in peace and harmony. And how many open their doors in the night, and how many have given me a break and how grateful am i. So how to open up my heart.

Yes, maybe she had been out partying, maybe she was high, but she needed a place to sleep and i did not welcome her – even though i know too well it could be me. I tried to justify to myself, telling myself, if only she had snuck in earlier, or quieter i would not mind – but would i have. I exposed myself to be just as self protective as those with the large empty houses. And why – what is it that i really have to lose – what skin is it off my back? She sleeps, in a warm bed, clean after a long shower, and i should have been nice and helpful to her. But it is that energy that keeps me in my place as well – that closes me – for if i do not reach out how can i expect others to reach out to me. And the closedness and fear breeds itself and no amount of meditation, yoga, organic foods and fair trade can make a truly “great society” if we do not get beyond it. And that is the lesson i have had to learn here.

After i wrote this i still spoke up, tattled on her to the manager and feel bad inside – for i should have helped. I let her sleep and worry about my stuff, my ragged clothes, the broken down knapsack, the thinning possibly bug infested sleeping bag, and i think how narrow and sinful am i. After all, that is just stuff, things, material possession, oh so few, hoarded here upon the earth, and that is a person, yes, banging at night, but someone with who i could share my heart, but i showed myself as stingy.
And how to change it – what i have done, and this is not the first time, but the first time i admit it in writing – that yes, i have been selfish while expecting others not to be. May i learn here, own these feelings, not press them down and deny them, but transform them, and truly live by what i say.

I finish this in a coffee shop, one that welcomes the unwashed who come to buy a coffee, sit and chat, where they smile and serve though you might carry a backpack. And there is much of that here too, kindness, services, help to others, and a desire for light. May i open my eyes to see that – the hostel that exists, appreciate the stale donated food, the information, those that serve. For in this place, in santa cruz, the contradictions come into play – the dance of lightness and dark, and to shine the light, and believe in it though the sky has turned to grey.

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