Relax

My wonderful son spent some serious time looking for music that would relax me. He done good! Check it out ->





"On October 16, 2011, Marconi Union created an eight minute track, titled "Weightless", in collaboration with the British Academy of Sound Therapy.

According to scientists at the Mindlab institution (a commercial 'neuromarketing' company) it induced a 65% reduction in overall anxiety and brought test subjects' resting pulse rates to 35% of their usual resting rates.



:D

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Sea

Summers spent on the sound, splashing and playing the day away. Fond memories: sand under my feet, warm brackish breezes, skin tightening as the sun etched smiles onto my face. Shells to be discovered and castles built only to be washed away; beckoning come build on my beach yet another day.  Waves gently rocked our little boat as we anchored in a quiet inlet. Laying on the bow, listening to soft salty splashes there and seagulls singing wistful happy summer songs.

My cares drift away with thoughts of clouds as they float through my memory.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QKEuOO0lQPc

Friday, March 21, 2014

I remember a morning so long ago. I was young and had stayed up all night. We were at the lake my friends and I, and I, wanting to greet the imminent sunrise, sat in the life guard's seat. In the water and above the water I sat still and on my own. The warmest hues of pink and gold stretching across the horizon; heralded the beckoning sun. As its orbit kissed the hilltops, its light stretching as far as I could see. In that moment I had become part of the sun and sky. My mind and my limbs stretched out to mingle with the corona; and in this mingling there was no end to my being and no beginning of the sun and sky to be perceived. In this radiance we had become one. The lake, the sky, and the sun and I; all shared the same eternal plain. We were one and each other. And everything was good. I carry that with me; that timeless oneness of being. And know in my heart there exists in the world and in life (and death) always a new sunrise. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Hero's Journey

Lesson One: The Heroes Journey



"This task is so exacting and its fulfillment so advantageous, that he forgets himself in the process, losing sight of his instinctual nature and putting his own conception of himself in place of his real being. In this way he slips imperceptibly into a purely conceptual world where the products of his conscious activity progressively replace reality."

-Carl Jung, The Undiscovered Self



Let me tell you about a friend of mine. You might say after reading this that the story only began with my friend, but the reality is; that his story, and my story, and that of your own, are all one and the same. It is a story of time, of events and of place, these places and how they shaped our stories. But mostly it is the story of us all. It is the story of humanity. The hero's journey.

My friends' name is Barry and he hails from Canada. He is one of Canada's first peoples, one of the Kamloops nation. Barry is a homosexual. He has been all his life. Many natives on this continent believe that some individuals are blessed with "two spirits" or berdache. They have both the feminine and masculine. Barry doesn't look very feminine; you'd probably never guess he was gay. I, although having experimented with both sexes, consider myself to be staunchly heterosexual. However, I too have always felt the "warrior woman" burning inside me. I am often drawn more to traditional male activities, and consider myself to be like my friend, a person with two spirits. Perhaps this is why we have been friends for so long. We share a nature that defies tradition. We accept in each other, that which is not acceptable. We are kindred.

Barry grew up in a typical Canadian home. Mom, dad, sister, typical house, typical neighborhood, football on Sunday, fishing trips and family barbeques. No trauma, no environmental reason for his sexual orientation. And unfortunately no comfortable way to confront his family with the truth.

Barry and I became friends some twenty-plus years ago while we both were living in Vancouver BC. We became friends, then roommates for a time, and ultimately moved on to other places and other lives. We see each other nearly every year and spend lots of money on late night, long distance phone calls. On one of these recent calls we were discussing for the umpteenth time; the question of when Barry would move back to the Pacific Northwest so we could better share in each others lives. It is my hope that Barry will play a significant role as a male figure, for my son whose father has little interest. Barry has traveled quite a bit around Canada, the States, lived in the Cayman Islands for some years and finally settled in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. There he has resided for some seven years or more. We have discussed his moving back here for at least three years, and I am getting somewhat impatient and am perplexed as to his seeming reticence to relocate when logic would dictate him doing so. He misses his family, is tired of Florida and has no real prospects there, especially after his last failed relationship. But still he doesn't move; there is always one reason or another preventing him from doing that which he professes to desire to do.

Typically we talk about all the fun we will have after his move; shopping at Pike Place, taking in sports and the theatre, traveling to BC to revisit old haunts, travels to Kamloops to attend the annual powwow, and of course visits with his family. During this one particular discussion, I tell him, look√Ę€¦ you have to decide without feeling pressure by anyone, what it is that will work for Barry. Free your mind and think about where it is you really want to be. When you have done this you can then go about doing what needs to be done, to get to wherever this place may be. You're not happy where you are, but something is keeping you from taking the plunge. End of conversation.

I spent some time pondering the matter the next day while enjoying the scenery on my drive to Bellingham, when AH HA! I had a moment of vision and one (I think) of perfect clarity. I remembered talking to Barry about how he fears "coming out" to his father. I realized in that moment that the geographic distance he had placed between himself and his father was a metaphor for the distance he felt in his heart. He had physically put himself as far away from his father as he could on this continent. Look at Kamloops and look at Fort Lauderdale and you will see how he hides from the fear of disappointing the man that he admires and loves most in his life. I was so excited to call the next day and share this great revelation with my friend, hoping that when he came to terms with this reality that everything else would fall into place. It hasn't. But that's only the beginning of the heroes' journey¦..

The next day, when driving from Bellingham back to the foothills; there it was again AH HA! Only this time it was more like OMG! (oh my God!) Where on earth was I, and how did that relate to my life?



***



I was born and raised in Seattle. Since the early 1850's five generations had made this home theirs' before me. I have always felt a deep connection to the place. I had a very happy childhood, exploring all that the city, the surrounding waters, and mountains could offer. Seattle was a great place to grow up and I was nearly content. When in my teens I became restless and decided I needed some adventure. The familiarity and comfort of all the family and history of the city had somehow given rise to a sense that this place was not sophisticated enough for me, nor did it offer the independence that I sought.

My first move was to the mountains. The Alpental ski resort, though small, offered up the newness I required, and at seventeen, I felt I had indeed found paradise. The health and exuberance of its people, the Swiss-like mountain peaks and architecture, the invigorating fresh air, as well as a budding new romance; all served to delight and inspire. I was young, vivacious, healthy, and felt very alive. I was a conqueror. I was spiritually and physically on top of the world. I knew that I wanted to live in the mountains forever, this was my utopia¦. Then the season ended and I moved back to Seattle. What was to be my next step? 

Seattle, at this point seemed ever more quaint. Yet I basked in my freedom, living as an adult with a new (older) friend Lena, we shared many adventures. We were the female Huck and Finn of the city. Nothing could stop us. She then 21, and I with fake ID, we soon were the life of every hip party and trendy nightclub to be found. Men flocked to our door, at our sunny apartment in Wallingford near the lake. Again paradise found. Until one day she left. The party had come to an end.

I had come into some financial troubles, and being too proud to ask my parents for help, I abandoned the apartment. What to do? I remembered one Tequila soaked night, when my friend Lena and I had impulsively journeyed to Canada. The clubs had all closed and we sat in her car on a deserted freeway on-ramp, debating what to do. One sign said north to Canada, so after more hits on the hash pipe, we cracked a bottle of champagne, and north to the border we went. I decided that again, this time on my own, I would venture north. After a short rainy stay, at my (biological) fathers' pig farm in Blaine, I hitch-hiked across the border, and to Vancouver I went.

Wandering the streets, and too naive to feel daunted, I then met a girl from Holland who would forever change my life. We became lovers and co-conspirators on many an escapade. In this exciting new city, I had found a new home. One romance led to another and eventually I met Ian. He was to me an Adonis, and we had a chemistry that burned hot and fast. Happily he and I spent three years together; delighting in each other and all the enticements of a truly cosmopolitan metropolis. My life there with Tanya, then Ian and subsequently on my own; was everything one would expect from a trend setter and rebel of such tender years. My peer groups were drag queens, punk rockers and strippers. Fashionable gays and Mafiosi called me their friend. We did drugs and frequented after hour-illegal bars. We had parties, rode in limos and trashed upscale apartments. There were no consequences, only rewards. The paces of our lives were frenzied and hot. There was nothing more exciting than living in the eye of the storm that we knew. I had traveled the country as I won and lost lovers, but then I met Barry and he would be my friend throughout my last year in Vancouver, and my journeys beyond.

Returning again to Seattle, I had a sense that it was now time to grow up. I went back to school, settled down with Danny and started saving for my future. Still a dream from before; that of a home in the mountains burned in me so, that I sought its fulfillment. Together Danny and I worked and I bought a five acre parcel of evergreens on the other side of the summit. This was paradise beyond my imagination. And I owned it, and built upon it, and spent every weekend working there, dreaming of a day when I could finally abandon the one room apartment that I still shared with Danny. Finally that day came and together we moved. Family and friends in Seattle had thought I should think better; a girl from the city who didn't have a driver’s license, moving to the woods, with no job, in an unknown county. What on earth was I doing? But they didn't understand the dream, the dream of a little girl who read about pioneers in the wild, the dream of a teenager who longed for open spaces. Finally at thirty I was there, again conqueror; living in the mountains. Gone was the makeup, wild leather costumes and late parties. I was home.

In this new life, I soon discovered that Danny was not to be my truest love, nor the father of my future children. He moved reluctantly, out of the alpine cabin; that sweet chalet with French lace, perched on a hill, looking over a running creek. I was happier than I had ever been.

Surrounded by wild roses, aspen and pine; in the little chalet that I had built; I now wore black pointed Tony Lama's, jeans and T shirts. My long wild hair blew free in the wind, and in keeping with some un-named wild western tradition; I named myself Calamity Crystal for all the adventures I'd seen, and those to come. I worked as a barkeep in the local ruff and tuff tavern, and had friends by the number; bikers, hippies, loggers, foresters and the like. I started brawls in bars and had barbeques at my home. I listened to Puccini, and the Chili Peppers and Lenard Skinner's "Free Bird" and the "Monk". I tended my gardens and languished in the sun by the creek. Then I fell in love.

I had a baby, my son John Jacob, named after his great, great, great, great grandfather John Jacob Moss, a notable Seattle Pioneer. I nursed him quietly in the woods, in the snow by the creek. I taught him about flowers and bugs, and introduced him to his crow friends and all the animals that shared our home. He thrived in the country air, as his blond curls grew and shone in the sun. His green eyes held a wisdom as deep as the ocean, and his pure nature taught me a new kind of love; giving my life a meaning that I couldn't have conceived of before. Love without jealousy or spite. Love without boundaries, egos or end. Then one day in December he almost died.

There is nothing in the world as frightening and hopeless as holding a limp baby in ones' arms, what is worse, I won't speak of hear. After that day things began to decline.

My husband was an alcoholic and had problems beyond that. He brought ruin upon us over and over, culminating in my turning him out after seven years. I never thought, as so many don't, that my love for him would fade and I would give up as I did, but I knew that in one sense or another my son and I wouldn't survive him. So out with the dish water he went.

By this time we sold the first home that I had built and so loved. We had bought another in town but the marriage had taken its toll on that one too. Finally we found an acre by the lake, resplendent with fir, vine maple and resident deer. Song birds were numerous and the morning air drifting in from the lake could only be described as cool silk, and is something I will always remember. My son and I lived there for five years in a small travel trailer. Improving the property with a well, electricity and a hand dug drain field for the septic; we lived in a rustic fashion, but reveled nonetheless in nature's beauty. I returned to school, attending daily the university some forty miles away. My son grew to love nature as nearly as much as I; with us building forts in the trees and mazes in the snow. Many a summer day was spent idling at the lake, and somehow Santa always found us, leaving presents by the trees we would glean form the woods. We were happy, although challenged for money and modern convenience; eventually my son grew beyond proportion to the little trailer in the forest.  I applied to Western Washington University during my senior year at Central, and was happy to accept an offer of admittance.

We sold the property that we worked so hard to improve and without party, goodbyes or fanfare; quietly left friends, favorite places and a dying husband/father behind. With two aging labs and a young German Shepard we set off for a new home in Whatcom County.



***



So as I sat here, in my new home, contemplating the nature of my choices, I thought about all the places I have been and the people that I had become. I knew that I had moved here because I sought adventure for my son, but somewhere in fourteen years east of the mountains, a haunting memory of the smells, sights and sounds of the seashore grew. I had longed for home. The house that I had built so many years before, the happy chalet that I had prayed would be my home for all the rest of my life, was long sold, and it didn't matter anymore; because I wanted to come home. I needed to be back by the sea, to smell the salt air, and I wanted more than anything to bring my son here. But why was it to Bellingham, and what did that mean?

When I had left Seattle for Vancouver, I had forever left that barefooted blue-jeaned hippie girl behind. I had certainly left my innocence with her. When I left Vancouver, I had left that late night sophisticate and all her dark secrets. When I moved to Roslyn, somehow those others didn't belong; I was a wife and mother, a country gal, mountain woman. I couldn't possibly be those things, and what I was before as well.

When we arrived in Bellingham suddenly I was nobody. I wasn't the bar brawler. Or the honor student, I was no longer the playgirl from the big city, I wasn't a wife or a community volunteer, hippie, free spirit; no professors to vouch for me, or neighbors to share a beer, I was unknown, even to myself it seemed, I was a clean slate. A bare-naked-empty clean slate. The only remnants of former lives were my son, dogs, a few mementos and pictures, as well as a piece of paper that entitled me to attend a university. The only thing that seemed to frame the future person that I would become was the heavy weight of various chronic health problems, and an overwhelming sense of tiredness. A deep sad tiredness; that of one who has journeyed for too long and too far, in a broken down vessel run out of supplies. That, and a thin, glimmering hope for future adventures and prosperity.

But why was I here, here? Why had I come to this place? And I realized that in all the ways and places that I tried to find myself; always re-inventing myself, I had never truly understood who I was. I had moved and changed, chasing some illusive being. Seeking satisfaction and complacency, I kept moving, waiting to find the perfect place, that which would nurture the perfect version of me. Perhaps seemingly, briefly, but I never really did. And now in my emptiness, as I examined all that has been, I realized that this perfect person had been here all along. And that all through my time here, I have been the same person.

Now I am here as a complete whole, the sum of what has been and what will be; learning, loving, living and dying. It is all one. I am here because geographically this is the center of my experiences. This is where I am now to let layer upon layer of whom I thought I was transcend time and space, and integrate them into a new whole. I am in the physical center of my experience in as much as I am in the spiritual center of my being. That is my metaphor. The metaphor for who I am now, is found in this sense of place. What I am to become no longer matters, as it is what I have always been, and I now find myself being that here.

As I think now about metaphors and myths, about God, life and death, I am encouraged. For some time I had lost faith in my God. My fears and my grieving over losses had corrupted my spirit. Just as Odysseus and other heroes before me, I had, whether purposefully or not, stumbled into the depths of Hades. My soul had become dark, and I was lost in a sea of the monsters of my heart. I felt fear and remorse, and quite literally did not know if I would survive the journey, this journey to the center of my being. With the last mustering of what little strength I had left, I journeyed here, in search of my life, praying that it would find me and drag me from the surf to some safe haven. Now I lay on this beach in this quiet cove, and am thankful.

I see now that our human lives are metaphors for our spirits, our bodies as metaphors for our will, and I see humanity as a metaphor for God. Through place and culture we assign meaning. Meaning that frames the real work we are to do here. As we live our lives we search for answers; we assume that when we die, the truths and mysteries of the universe will be revealed, that is, one way or another. But the reality is that we come here; our spirits coming to this physical place, knowing that the answers lie here. Through culture, myth and metaphor, we create the truths that our souls seek. The places we travel to are the questions we ask of the universe, and our hearts are content when we discover that wherever we are; we are home.



My friend Barry? If there were no answers, there would be no questions. I know someday he'll find his home too.




But I..I am my own hero, and this is my story; my hero's journey.