Thursday, May 17, 2012


From 5/13/12
I feel really content and happy right now, grounded, here, not wanting to be anywhere else. I like that I have the next few days with no plans after work and just the quiet time to myself.

When there are not back to back plans, things can flow the way they would naturally. Sometimes, plans can become like culverts and dams trying to shore up and direct the river. Of course, the water's headed for the sea regardless, but it becomes sucked dry by all the demands of plans, so filled with toxins and trash of overactivity, distraction, expectation and consumption that its flow is not so beautiful or natural, respected and sacred. Until it does not flow.

I know now how important it is to create space and give space, precisely so I am not confining my soul's journey. Being able to create this space and to yearn more for this space than for the addictions and stimulations requires a faith and a trust in what the space will become, or what will become in the space, or what will simply be in the space. It is this intention of giving and creating space, of having faith in the space of becoming, that is so vital!!!

I wish to create a book of poetry and art that pays homage to space and its flow. That helps me be in the space as I make it and help others be in the space as they read and experience the content. This is my current work in progress:

How can images rhyme? How can images and layout of create rhythm to mirror the poetry of words? These are some of my questions.

- Image-making will involve canvas of water (water in a dish in which I can manipulate and place objects on), photography, scanning and photomontaging
- Images will be made custom in response to the poetry I have been writing over the past year, ideally first gut responses, little editing

- To create rhythm, rhyme, and poetic elements with imagery and text (cadence, space, pauses, repetition, beat, consistency, etc)
- To create an experience of space, flow, air, water, fire, and earth

This idea and all within it are created in this space of becoming time :)

House Sitting 2 Black Labs

Dogs tear at rawhide,
Seemingly, utterly, preoccupied,
Until the instant I arise,
From futon to entryway,
Suddenly, all attentions on me,
Two black bodies shadow mine,
Intently fixated as magnets to metal,
For food? For tennis balls?
For the sake of security?
For faith or lack there of?
For fear of loss? For walks?
With hope for love?
For naught, the instant I sit again,
They are asleep at my feet.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Road Trip to Tuscon

From 4/27-4/30

Day 1, Friday, April 27th
Took off early after work - 2:30 - and made it to Big Lake, Sitgreave National Forest Campground in the White Mountains of Arizona (over the state line from New Mexico's Gila Wildnerness). Elk raised their heads as I ascended to their golden meadows from the desert. I set up camp just before dusk - 8:30pm here.

Day 2, Saturday, April 28th
I began the day with the sun and a 3 hour hike on Mt. Baldy Trail # 95, shortly past my campground on Big Lake. Wow! What a diverse hike - from meadow and tall pines, along a stream, up steep terrain and wrinkly giant boulders, up into snow, and snow peaked mountains. Absoultely stunning. I meditated at the top for 20 minutes, then back down.

Then I began my circuitous route to Tuscon, across 260 and down the tremendous descent of Salt Canyon into my first saguaro cacti sightings, skirting phoenix entirely, and heading south on 77. The biosphere 2 was just closing at 4pm so I didn't make it in. I checked out the Original Buffalo Exchange before arriving at my couch surfer's place nearby. My couch surfer, a yoga instructor, was out of town, but she left me the key hidden and her room! One of her room mate's was home, a graphic designer also. We enjoyed sharing each other's work. Interesting guy - he'd lived in NYC for 5 years working at a publishing house before getting burnt out, moving to AZ and spending 6 months in a Buddhist Monestary in southern AZ then moving to Tuscon. I went to bed early since I knew the next day would be full-on exploration.

Day 3, Sunday, April 29th
Tuscon is just a cool beautiful and charming city. Love at first site like it was for me with Santa Fe. By 7am, I was driving around the Saguaro National Park East. Lucky for me, all the parks were free this particular weekend! And many of the cacti were in bloom. I passed lots of Tusconans running, biking and pushing baby carriages along the scenic road. The majority seemed to be active, tan, fit and friendly - and proud of their city and happy to talk to me about it. I met a woman from NH who had relocated here 20 years ago and absolutely adored Tuscon, even the summer, which she said was her favorite season because she loves the heat. Upon her directions and the recommendation of a friend, I was soon on a 3 hour hike around Sabino Canyon. Absolutely gorgeous. By noon, I was resting in meditation in the chapel at the Degrazia Gallery in the sun, feeling a little like I was in Barcelona again.

Then I drove 9 miles south of Tuscon to see the gorgeous 1783 Spanish mission church constructed on the Indian Reservation, called San Xavier de Bac. Mass was just ending when I arrived. In the native Am. crafts stands, I couldn't help buying prickly pear juice (delicious) and a turquoise and silver rose ring to mark the trip.

At 3pm, I was back in Tuscon simply enjoying the down town area along 4th street. Under improvement, the street is filled with boutiques, health food stores, buskers, young people, thrift stores and cafes. I found some delicious made in Tuscon gluten free raisin carrot bread and some 100% raw hibiscus, ginger chocolate made in San Francisco. From this area, I walked across the historic El Presidio Park and wound up at a famous restaurant called El Charro, recommended to me by my boss. Happy hour margarita and an a la carte carne seca taco. It felt great to be sitting still and people watching, anonymous, and unattached.

I hit the road at 6 and ended up driving all the way back to the Gila Wildnerness and one of my favorite camping spots there, the Catwalk, because no where in AZ called. Arriving at the Catwalk recreation area at 10:30pm, I simply parked, grabbed pad and sleeping bag and rolled them out near the river and fell asleep listening to the water. To my gratitude, the trip seemed to be great for my back and neck ---something about being in nature so much, hiking and sleeping on the earth.

Day 4, Monday, April 30th
Woke up at 6am again and began a 3 hour hike up the canyon through the catwalk. Saw lots of spring activity and few other people. I meditated by the stream and sat writing postcards on a rock.

Then I drove north, amazed by the vast stretch of pine forest approaching Quemado. At Quemado Lake, I stopped for a few hours and absorbed the sun. I'll have to come back sometime and camp here. It was still another 3 hours from Quemado back to Santa Fe.

I'm so grateful for the trip and all the time in nature, for the space and the big mind and the soul nourishment. On the last leg, the sun was lighting El Malpais, the arch, the new green spring grass. I gave all my thoughts of the future and the past away. I saw a mother cow nursing twin calves. A second later, I saw a young couple on touring bikes with all their trip belonging packed on back. No other cars had passed in ages and the simple beauty of life in this moment struck me full force. Poignantly tangible. I was in it. Am it.

The River

Once again, I find myself behind, needing to copy material from my written journal to blog. Partly, my back and neck have been asking me to avoid the computer the last month, other than to do my required freelance work and check emails. Partly, I have been busy enjoying the out doors and culture and friends, and most partly, I have been enjoying space and quiet.

From 4/15 Saturday/sunday

This has been a wonderful week. That was my intention at the beginning of it. Today, I took a solo artist's date. I saw the pulitzer prize winning play "Our Town" at the Santa Fe Playhouse. This was my first visit to the playhouse, though I had been meaning to check it out for a while.

At the start of the play, I noticed I still had this slight feeling that I was holding a weight, holding more pressure than I should. The weight of anxiety, totally needless and useless especially given my expectation that I "should" be completely happy right now on my artists date. And I was pretty happy... just not totally happy, something was pricking me. I just felt like I "should" be more happy and content given all the blissful things that have happened lately (a trip with girlfriends to 10K waves followed by lobster truffle oil pizza, Cookies and tea over board games at a mansion, a fun cocktail party 2 nights ago, etc.) So why this weight? I paused and looked right at the weight and realized it was one I have confronted before (and probably will have to again). It is the pressure and anxiety I place on myself to be doing something noticeable/successful/big with my life right now. Me, me, me. Making it happen, rushing the course.

Wait. I told that part of me. I give this responsibility back over to its true source, mystery. It is out of my hands and not my ego's role at all to direct the river. I am exactly where I am meant to be right now. I am on my path. In fact, I can't do anything ever to get off my path. I am on my path like my shadow is always behind me on a sunny day. I can always know that I am guided. The things I am meant to learn and experience are brought to me as much as I bring myself to them. I also believe that if something is passed by the first time in life, if its meant to a be a part of my path, the opportunity will come along a 2nd time or a 3rd time.

Lightness. Weight of my chest. Congestion out of my mind. Underlying fear that I am not living up to my potential recognized, acknowledged, appreciated and let go of. Deep breath. Now I can thoroughly enjoy the show.

And what a show! The theme of the play reiterated all that I'd been coming to terms with the moment before it started. The theme involved beauty in everyday existence, noticing the small meanings of life and being conscious of them while you are alive. Being content with what you have and where you are and being satisfied by the simple daily things: sunrises, full moons, midnight blooms.

Later, after the play, taking a walk to Kakawa Chocolate House to meet a friend, another weight dropped off as I realized, "You know, it doesn't matter where I am, where I go, whether I stay in Santa Fe or go off traveling again, the process will blossom and unfold just as it is meant to. I can trust in this unfoldment to be no sooner and no later than it will be. The river is going to run to the same place. I'll run in whatever river I'm meant to run in."

The pressure and anxiety and feeling of not enough, of dissatisfaction, will indeed return whenever I again get caught up in the mental trap that "I" am the one directing the river. What a ridiculous concept! and yet we do it all the time!  Of course, when that happens, I will feel that unrealistic, hopeless amount of pressure. All I need to do when this starts to happen, is look the fear directly in the eye, acknowledge it, and remember that I am guided and that the river exists already. It is not for me to create it. I can trust it to carry me. I can give myself to it and let it live itself through me instead of trying to live myself all on my own. I can become a channel in the river, of the river, for the river. I can remember that I am on my path when I am doing simple, mundane things or glittering stimulating things. The river is a process, dynamic, in motion, flowing. Both unpredictable and predictable. Predictable in that I will die, that I will transform. Unpredictable in the details. I can trust the river to move through me, shape me, excite me, swallow me, float me, nearly drown me, and, eventually, transform me.

A few hours later, I opened the book I am reading, called "Cutting through Spiritual Materialism" and read just what I needed to hear to sum up the lessons of the day:

"Let be and not care anymore; don't possess the letting be as belonging to you, as your creation. Open, let be, and disown. Then the spontaneity, the awakened state springs out" (169)

"Not expecting anything, we do not get impatient" (174) "Patience also feels like space...being aware of the space between the situation and oneself" (175)

"Letting go of the self rather than working so hard to improve ourselves..." (180)

What a wonderful thing to realize and remember whenever "I" try to take credit or create the river, that self-developemnt is really about letting go of the self! not further grooming and polishing the personality.