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.
We went to Light in the Grove, the 25th anniversary benefit for the National AIDS Memorial Grove in Golden Gate Park. 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!
The next day we drove south on Highway 1 along the magnificent coast into Big Sur and to Esalen ( 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 (“Open your eyes. See the sky! See the ocean!”) and later went for a massage. 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 in this trip 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
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
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).
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?
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
Walls with hangings rich,
Lisa's studio - cold, rainy day
of many strange designs

No comments: