Friday, December 16, 2016

Love and magic, the sadness, Star of David, I care about/don't care about, courage, post-election

Love and magic
Reading each word, each phrase, each one slowly with reflection. What’s left out?

💕 Love is a feeling, where everything is right – open hearts and minds and communication and synchronicity and commitment and seeing all the beauty and hope and fragility of one another and caring for each other (caring more about the other than self) and the tenderness and discovery and sex and romance and sensuality and acceptance and clear, open communication and depending on one another and softness around one another and around the love and around this life …
💕 Magic – the love is ramped up, intensified (Sometimes talking of love for hours and hours makes sense – what else is there?), kissing caressing making love for hours and hours, intoxicated with one another, pretty much completely in synch, taking the utmost care of one another, it’s the greatest thing
💕 How? Surrender, pay attention to one another, look for all the magic and beauty in one another, believe that magic is real and possible, put selves into magical places and activities, magical music, accept times of less magic, wide-open communication …
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Talking with a little 5 year old mermaid named Beatrice, who asked, "Do you have kissy love in your heart?" "Oh yes!"
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Getting ready to decorate Jean’s and my Christmas tree I got out my small collection of San Francisco Christmas ornaments. Opening the box/the Christmas season triggered a flood of emotion and I cried as I did in the first months after Leslie passed. It’s a hard, consuming crying that goes on and on and leaves me exhausted and sore all through my body. Jean helped me through part of it and left me alone at a good time.
Sunset from the deck
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One of the decorations we put on the tree is a Star of David (for Jean’s husband, David, who was Jewish). Jean wondered aloud about putting a Jewish symbol on a Christian symbol. I quoted from John 14: In my Father’s house are many rooms… Later these lyrics came through the speakers: In my Father’s house are many rooms.
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I care about:
Being a good person.
Feeling good given/within whatever circumstances.
Loving you, Jean; being loved cared about.
Loving David.
In Vancouver
How you’re doing.
Being close/connected/making you happy.
Being beautiful – being beautiful for you.
Just being with you.
I don’t know how to say this, but I care about your vision, your expression, your art (not only what you produce). I’m digging your wisdom, too.
Experiencing nature/natural beauty.
Having beautiful, loving sex – pleasing you sexually – exploring one another’s sexuality.
Suffering in the world.
Justice.
John.
Friends and men in bible study group.
Who wins the election.
La Honda - before a magic night
People being nice to one another, especially parents being nice to children.
Growing, becoming, reaching toward my potential.
Being healthy.
Having or having had meaning – as in a life pattern.
Getting high, especially with you.
Being strong.
Having peak experiences.
Having enough money.
Being respected by people I respect.
Looking good.
Low stress, no conflict.
Being around kind people.
Living life effortlessly. 
Baking and things like that – I care but not all that much about these things.
I don’t care about:
What we eat, when we eat, where we eat.
Where, when, how we go, except that want to go with you.
Under the same sky, the same moon
Where we sit, when we go to sleep/awaken.
What I wear, except that I want to look good for you.
Manifesting much of anything other than decency and safety (Haha – actually, I want to manifest cool).
Who wins the football game.
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In November
Falling in love in these days/this age takes courage. One will pass, one will grieve (though surely not as long, nor as terribly as before). Eyes wide open.
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Political/cultural comment
We came so close, and then we lost it. The reasons are complex, I guess. Someone else can figure it all out.
My friend, Janet said, ”…everything we worked so hard for…” And for so long. Ah, what a beautiful vision we had.
I think we may be on the threshold of a time of tribulation. I have no idea what form(s) it might take.
What to do after Trump election? (Answers evolving)
Live our normal lives, working on love and acceptance and meaning and growth… manifest these things.
Indian Path 
Now, more than ever, be a living mudra (symbolic gesture) of the potentials in life. Lift up (with energy, with money) positive forces, in my case World One Radio (http://worldoneradio.org/), my son’s high school, hospice – especially the Presbyterian hospice in Dallas, Atrium Obscurum, other entities. Be kind to others, friends and strangers.
I need to remember that long-ago boddhisatva vow: to liberate all sentient beings. It ain’t easy lol. I’m not done with myself.

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Lay it all on the line at the right time. No need for fear… we’ve all faced at least this much before.
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And the bodies move and we sweat
And we have our being
Van Morrison, Daring Night

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Light in the Grove, Esalen magic, Nouwen quote, magic, my last patients, beautiful night

Esalen campus
It’s been awhile since I posted – much of my writing has been personal.
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We went to Light in the Grove, the 25th anniversary benefit for the National AIDS Memorial Grove in Golden Gate Park. http://www.aidsmemorial.org/ We got there early and sat in the car talking – a sweet time.
Light in the Grove
We made the most beautiful entrance I’ve ever made – when people arrived they were each given a glass of champagne and a candle in a glass vase and then walked down the switchback path to the Circle of Friends area – like an endless line of people, of lights. The path was lined with lights and every 20-30 feet there was a person standing greeting everyone warmly. The redwood grove below was beautifully lighted and there dancers in the glade (I think on this night the faeries were on the side of the hill). At the Circle of Friends everyone placed a candle in memory of someone (for me, Rueben). Then down a path at the edge of the glade where names of people who died projected in a moving, never-ending list on the trunks of the redwoods.
It was all deeply moving.
Esalen campus - class 
At the end of the path was a huge tent where there was a nice buffet, wine, drinks, etc. David and Charles got there a little later and sat with us for a bit and then they were off to connect with friends. We left not too long afterward. We sat on a bench beside the path – what a night!
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The next day we drove south on Highway 1 along the magnificent coast into Big Sur and to Esalen (http://www.esalen.org/). Here, hidden from the world, giants of the counter-culture had walked, studied, meditated, taught, opened… Aldous Huxley, Alan Watts, Fritz Perls, Allen Ginsberg, Virginia Satir, Joseph Campbell, and countless more.
Esalen showers
Our room opened onto the headlands above the Pacific rolling, crashing against the rocks below. We unloaded the car and headed for the hot springs baths, where we watched the sun set over the Pacific, blue water, white foam, crashing strong.
We talked about a time six years before when Jean had scattered her husband’s ashes by “David’s tree” beside the path to the springs. We talked about how the night before, less than 24 hours before, we had been at the place where my son and I had scattered my wife’s ashes less than a year before. What a life we lead!
Room at Esalen
In the morning we made love and went for a massage – “Open your eyes. See the sky! See the ocean!” Like everything else, the massage rooms hang above the Pacific. A timeless massage with the waves rolling and crashing below… and then to the baths, where we made love (not physically) for three hours with the waves crashing below. Late lunch, nap on the lawn, drive to Carmel Valley for a glass of wine with Steve and Susan, then the long drive home.
I’ve dreamed of Esalen for half my life. Although there was a little weirdness with the presence of too many web developer millennials (a little too much loud talking, some even wearing swim suits in the baths - eww), still, the magic and beauty were there. We just created a cocoon around ourselves and opened to the magic, the love, the beauty, dreaming our dreams.
Esalen baths
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When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. Henri Nouwen
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Last patients, last day of work
These kind of things keep happening. I need to remember to record them. Jean texted that she was on the way home. I texted back that I would put a candle in the window. Less than an hour later this song came on the radio: Put a Candle in the Window. Home to this warm home, to this temple, the walls, the walls, the…
walls with hangings rich,
of many strange designs
(Robin Williamson).
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Listening to U2’s New Years Day live, thinking of my work, about how I was there deep, deep in the richness and difficulties of the flow until the very end. I wondered what was the last photo of me at work? I looked and here it is – on my last day, my last patients. Taking the photo was the Mom’s idea.
Thanksgiving 2016
I met the woman on the left years before, very shortly after she got here from Mexico. We were in an apartment (a typical refugee/immigrant apartment) with some people, maybe her husband and someone else and two students, and somehow it happened that there was a modesty issue and I looked away without lingering. I always had the sense that she appreciated that. I took care of her and her daughter (in pink) for years. When I saw them that last time (photo) her daughter was about 13 or 14, wearing a shirt that said, Why Not?
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Esalen!
On a rainy day we went to visit a friend who lives in some mountains not far from San Francisco. The plan was to have dinner, have a sauna, and spend the night. He wasn’t home when we got there, so we got around the gate to the road to his wife’s studio (she is Jean’s good friend, traveling ATM) and walked down the road to the studio. The door was open and we went in and built a fire in the wood-burning stove (first photo) and put our feet up. Our friend came home a few hours later and we went to the house.
Nice dinner, great company, good sauna, back to the studio. It was cold and rained all night long. We set up the wood for the night, got the big air mattress set up on the concrete floor, then our new two-person sleeping bag, a bowl, a glass of wine, up every two hours to add wood to the fire, lot of bathroom runs, re-inflate the mattress a few times. One of the best nights of my life.
With John Kemp at Indian Rock
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Walls with hangings rich,
Lisa's studio - cold, rainy day
of many strange designs


Sunday, September 25, 2016

Just the facts, Yosemite, an ancient forest, illness, twilight, the way it is

Above the fog, above Golden Gate
There is zero embellishment, exaggeration, or anything else other than reporting the facts here. Driving across GG Bridge in the fog and then up into the Marin Headlands and when we were close to the end of the Headlands, parking and walking a short trail to where we sat/lay on a sarong in the scent of chaparral, in the place where fog and sun meet, at the edge of the world, around the bend from Shangri-La, and across the bridge from paradise – going home in paradise with the moon floating in misty beauty above. Paradise, where yesterday we lay naked and beautiful in the warm afternoon sun streaming through the temple door.

At the edge of the world
Yosemite: Beneath the Royal Arches, Washington Column, and Half Dome we lay cozy and comfortable beneath the trees, by the river and then walked quietly on soft pine needles in ancient forest with mossy rocks in faery circles and playgrounds in soft mist in these sacred groves, this “Sanctum Sanctorum” (John Muir).
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She said, “I honor you.”
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Three basic questions about serious illness:
What is it?
What does it mean to me (e.g., treatment, suffering, disability, dying)?
Can I do this?

Things that add up in the time of dying: First and always, good control of symptoms such as pain. Sharing heart space, all. Sacred meals shared, even if less than a bite. Drinking from a sacred vessel. Sleeping together. Opening a window. Music. Reading the old prayers. Whatever is possible…
Mystic forest
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From a slow train Moulmein to Rangoon, 2007
Mountains above,
Padi fields below,
Andaman Sea in the distance!
In mystic light.

Through a village in a forest,
A beautiful, graceful girl,
With thanaka on her cheeks,
And a basket on her head,
Walks out of a dark path among the trees.
Then another!
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Yosemite Valley, rainy day. Left to right:
Royal Arches, North Dome, Washington Column, and Half Dome
The night before I left Berkeley we had dinner on the deck – the Turkish entry in our ongoing ‘round the world salad challenge – and watched the sun go down behind Mount Tamalpais across the Bay and The City beginning to sparkle and we can still see GG Bridge and Alcatraz. Then Indian Rock at twilight – twilight, the mystic time of day in the mystic days we share. There were maybe 20 other people on the rock, their murmuring voices around, behind us and we’re sharing the cherry cherry wine, drinking from the bottle. These are the days!
El Capitan
“It’s getting dark – maybe we should go down.” We laughed at the unintended double entendre. Awhile later we decided to go down and whoa, it was really dark! We got down fine (slow) and sat close and warm on a park bench in the darkness…
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More facts (the bottom line):
Walking down by the river over the bridge through the trees and meadows and mountains and the soft forest floor with faery rings mossy boulders everything felt so right and so good walking along the street in markets in coffee shops in stores a café and a band playing dancing in a meadow so high in the sunrise in the eternal moment on the beach in the sand saying all the ways of loving and being talking of myth of art of mourning of euphoria of dancing of our generation of truth laughing in the golden light in the mist in the wind sea breeze in the fog in the sunlight making love in the forest in the temple fixing coffee breakfast dinner listening to WorldOneRadio wine on Indian Rock in the park in the dark on the San Francisco Bay kites flying dogs a man performing ritual a man playing a trombone on the highway telling the stories of our lives I feel ancient beautiful reborn prayer ceremony bliss love living a blessing crying dancing laughing serious happy sexy goofy singing loving …
Jean - Washington Column to left, Half Dome on right