Thursday, December 27, 2012

Awakening to Acknowledge Life's Beauty!

I woke up this morning to the audible and persistent voice of my roommate's lady friend, in town visiting from another state. I was at first annoyed that she was insensitive to those that still may be sleeping; namely me. Though, in that short-lived selfish space of me feeling slighted, beauty emerged.

I sit here, less than an hour later and have nothing to think of but love and appreciation. I'm not sure what exactly led me to this space, but perhaps the bread crumb trail of life's knowledge and experience, the voice of intuition - knowing better than to be poor in disposition - has led me back to positivity and appreciation. Perhaps the moonlight walk in the snow last evening with my roommates down by the river helped; perhaps putting on the necklace/bracelet gift from a dear and bright spirit helped; or, maybe it was the early morning Yoga pose - directly succeeding the crude-seeming awakening.

The beauty the lone tree exudes, regardless of what broils overhead - all part of the necessary process!!
Nonetheless, I am so glad to be sitting here, typing, tapping, assembling words on this screen to share with you. Once again, I have nothing but thankfulness for life! In the simplicity of what is, there is nothing I do not have! Perhaps that is another reason why I am glad. I'm glad because someone or somebodies have been thinking about me, and sharing their love from afar - whether in the form of baked goods sent to me, a Christmas card and family portrait, or pictures of sunsets and moonscapes that continually put me in a state of awe and wonder at nature.

The temporary, short-lived, shortsighted-ness of my Ego's fade leaves me here in smiling appreciation. And as I shake my head, agreeing with what flows forth from my mind, through my fingers, guided by my eyes and heart, I feel complete as Jimi Hendrix plays from his soul to the willing reception of my ear drums, my consciousness - the acknowledgment of music - simply beautiful! It feels the longer I sit here, the more I absorb the truth - not my truth, but that which is always under, amongst the essence, the rudimentary, the necessary in life - waiting to be acknowledged by the appreciation constantly brewing somewhere in all of us!

I feel to know now that this love received, via the spiritually-loving airwaves, has brought to enrich my morning. For example, I've been putting off phone calls to dear friends because of strain with work, but now in day 2 of 2 off from work, I feel like being outside of myself and calling those that have helped shape my love for life. This feels good!

Thank you. Thank you for helping me shift my lens and attention to something far more beautiful and enriching for all. As the lyrics to Stairway to Heaven go:

"Yes there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run, there's still time to change the road you're on.

And it makes me wonder..."

Happy pre-New Year's Thursday to you and your loved ones. May the day seem as beautiful as life truly is!

Shared smiles and appreciation,

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Bathing and Meandering in the Out-of-doors

I have developed a habit out of necessity. I do not know how my life would be if this new habit were not so because I am living this and learning to love it with unforced ease. I was introduced to the concept of wilderness bathing by a spiritually-connected friend in North Carolina a few months ago. Ever since this abstraction crossed the outer known limits of my mind, I have idled on what it meant fully in my life; until recently that is. Last evening, while chatting with my dear friends and roommates - the Halliwell brothers, the idea of a wilderness bath was brought to discussion once again. We three, in polite unrestrainedness, all exclaimed(!) how invigorating the wilderness is when we are privileged to experience its colossal love.

For Pete and Ryan, they had ventured often into the backwoods of Jackson Hole, WY to bathe near where they lived in years past; for me, my 4+ months spent on the Appalachian Trail seemed to fit the bill of needed hygiene. In these physically separate, yet allied experiences, all three had sampled the warm, relaxing aurora of the wilderness bath (bubbles optional). I say sample because to truly bathe, one must continue living the life, the cleansing day-in; day-out. Being that our conversation is past-tense now, it is hard to speak for the Halliwell brothers, but I feel that my sentiments to that affect would mirror theirs: when immersed in the loving waters of Mother Nature, one experiences a sense of inwardness, dimensionally-deep and profound in its staggering feeling; voids created only to be filled with awe, inspiration, and wonderment. 

Current research being studied in support of wilderness bathing affirms hand-fulls of medical benefits; including, but not limited to: lower blood pressure, lower blood sugar levels (in diabetes patients), and a decrease in stress-related hormones - as a result of passively inhaling soil bacteria and other microorganisms in the wilderness; increased production of white and red blood cells (sunlight induced), cholesterol conversion in your skin to Vitamin D, which aids in calcium absorption (think strong, dense bones), and finally a refreshing lift in people's moods (especially when in proximity to water). Though, don't just take my word for it; the proof is in the pudding. Take this excerpt from my recent adventures last week:

* * *

Sitting in the woods upon a downed tree, up the gulch and across Highway 6 from where I live: through scrub brush and sage I have traveled into the Aspens and pines: lush green Spruces of some sort - my time and exact knowledge spent working at the Christmas tree farm in Pennsylvania 4 winters ago escaping me. Easily forgetting, or trying despite the narrow swath of audible calamity that is the major through fare of Interstate 70, from the direction which I had came. Sitting and listening to nature around me: this space, the contrasting forgettable-ness of human society, at least for an afternoon. Good for the soul, the spirit, body and mind!

When I first released into this grove of Aspens, the wind noticeably increased directly to my forefront. The trees gently rocked and swayed upon their off-white colored bases, issuing creaks and groans - perhaps alerted to my presence. In this particular moment, intuition - that loving and subtle voice of guidance - spoke. She whispered to me just below my consciousness:

'Open yourself, ye who cometh to this spot!; what are your intentions!?'

Desiring to open and share, beckoning willingly to her inquiry, I opened my heart - spreading my arms wide to let the wind enter my soul, my existence. I half-expected to feel different after such but didn't as I proceeded to the downed tree-turned-weary-hiker's-seat. Resting on my haunches, recollecting in this, my journal, I realized the nature of my intentions in that moment: impure - selfish in their desired outcome; unlike that which is all around me here and now in this nature space. Surely, I am to leave today - returning to the human society in which I belong - having been taught a subtle lesson.

Still recollecting my thoughts, like a squirrel collects and sorts nuts, fuel for winter, I recreated the meandering hike up to this space, thinking as I scribble: Mother Nature places - for good reason - obstacles in our path. In this case, scrubby brush and trees, tight in their coupled occupancy of space; downed trees laying this way and that, providing essentially necessary organic material for the fellow organisms come spring time and new growth. Barriers requesting that those proceeding in love enter; turning, otherwise, those not ready for this discourse back, towards the human association from which they came. 

I think of bulldozers and other human-created machines, that, in their soul-less existence, do not, could not answer or beckon to Mother's request of intention. What is it like to run, to rule one of those beasts, as it tears its way over and through life; ending, terminating. Tis just a job that pays, and that reveals why it happens; at least in one case amongst many. 

I then think of cutting into an apple. With sharp paring knife in hand, given to me by my mother 4 years ago, I dissect the apple into unintentionally unequal halves - revealing the innards that will be cut out before consumption. Committing such discards to a compost, as to assist in renewing the cycle of life and growth that I, we are a small part of; a seemingly insignificant but important action, I feel. 

Bulldozer and Kinfe: two similar exterminators - finite in their end results; though, contrasting in their approach to balance. Ahh, to live in balance; that which we as a human society are not doing very well. Wow. What an unfortunate notion. 
I wonder: will it change? 

Hmmm. Hard to say. I feel, sitting here in nature, guided to an answer of yes. Mother will balance her Kingdom, and everything in it. However, we need to assess how we may organically assist in this, before her temperament runs out. 

* * * 

Forgetting once again what is it I had written in those moments of passive scrubbing, I recall now why it is that I have formed a new habit: to ride my bike to and fro work. Out of necessity for the vehicle that I used to call Freedom Jr.; no longer residing in my possession. In this human-powered transportation of myself, I feel reconnected - on a daily basis - to nature, regardless of sunlight, moonlight, or starlight; warm, or sub-zero temperatures. Connected. To the Eagle River rolling along the bike path, teeming on its course towards the bigger, grander Colorado River; coupled, with the wind upon my smiling-stupid, clean-shaven-for-work face. Undivided. United! 

Near Lake of the Clouds; White Mountain National Forest, NH. 
Nature, that thing: perhaps out your back door; at Grandma and Grandpa's house in the country; the organic promenade that isn't a leveled terrace of black top with neatly spaced trees and bushes hinting-yet-failing at natural surroundings; a memory perhaps not quite so vivid as what you received in gifts last Christmas. But maybe I'm wrong.

Maybe the love has already begun to reach you, and your understanding and immersion is on-course with the catharsis that you, I, we! all need do. Like the pile of laundry on my bedroom floor, I, too, am in need of a reminder to go bathe; just ask my sister Stephanie. I suppose I've attempted to ease its inclusion in my daily life by choosing to ride my bike, to human-power myself; to me-power my human-ness. Or, to choose options that maximize efficiency in natural-resourced-fueled transport; like ride-sharing.  

Ohh, tis enough from me; though, how I do plead you, I, we, to heed this call of love enunciating, yearning-to-scream, from the relative distances of nature. Experiencing the full lull and complete care of nature, with nothing but a creasing smile upon our naked, loved-filled faces (with maybe a towel near by to dry off).  

In loving support to you in your steps towards the bath tub of tubs,

Monday, December 17, 2012

Listening and choice in acknowledgement: the affordable guarantees in life!

I desire to write, to sketch out the thoughts in my head, the feelings in my heart. To share the greatness that is life! I cannot think of one thing to be upset about; at least, one thing worth mentioning. There seems to always exist the subtle complaint under the surface - our Ego's sentiments - rounding out the full portrait that is us. To observe our Ego's echo is one option, to admit it, over our lips and through our tongue and vocal chord's movement, is another. The first option acknowledges but does not give credibility; the later, however, sets in motion an ugly beast with many ugly heads wanting to rear themselves in our lives, our person.

Life is a beautiful thing, I think at least. There was a time when I felt and thought differently. As I age and grow - becoming influenced by many other loving souls in this life,  I choose to acknowledge the things that are truly worth mentioning: people (and their loving potential) would be one; mother nature (and it's vast, impressive, indescribable beauty!) another; and, life's great plan for us (that is, when we learn and trust to let go of things realistically out of our control) a final worthy mention. So, let's tip-toe to stand erect upon our two strong feet; to support what is within us; verifying that we are loving-capable human beings!

The Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch Hotel property
So far, after two days on the job as a seasonal Bellman at the Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch Destination Club in Avon, Colorado, I've witnessed some interesting characters. Our guests, many of them kind and engaging, are the 1% that demonstrators this year on Wall Street where remarking about. As you can imagine, they have plenty of things in surplus in their lives: property, vehicles, time to travel, material possessions, and of course large sums of money. They make for an interesting population to observe and learn with. I say with, because I will be engaged in their lives in some way - whether superficially, as in: 'how are you today?,' or 'how may I assist you?'; or, on a spiritual level (if we ever reach that depth). Even these guests, the seeming elite of America, and sometimes the world, are not estranged to their Ego's divulge. In this, we can understand that having everything in life does not necessarily warrant an exception to complaints deriving from the individual Ego within all of us. Though, I smile upon all of this.

I smile because I identify: with them, with you, with life's intricate occurrences! So, as the snow continues to fall outside here in Edwards, Colorado, I immerse into an acknowledged appreciation for life and its guidance. I am thankful for intuition's guiding voice, softly uttering wisdom and love to my accepting mind and loving heart: a complete spiritual presence when I willingly facilitate balance. With this holiday season, find a balance; find a growth that is beyond what you've done before. Life's wonderful opportunities wait for us in the wings. It is my belief that we need turn-down the volume of I, and instead, turn-up the sublime symphony, bellowing just outside the acknowledgement of our conscious, perceiving minds, of us. What a sumptuous notion!

"The greatest tool you have is to listen."  Listening till I smile at life's happenings out my back door. 
Happy Holiday season to you and your loved ones in this beautiful maze known as life.

Always striving in love,

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Comes A Time...

There comes a time when I feel like sharing music; again and again. For whatever reason, music is the ultimate glue, the duct tape that never fails, the mysterious-piece-now-known to my life. This Neil Young song seems to capture a bit of what it feels like this morning, waiting to hear the outcome of my car - knowing that I need to be on the road to Colorado soon. 

I gotta smile though, the patience games brings its pieces to the board of life once again. In this, I find my deep breathing, recalling the soothing feeling of calm it brings, as I settle to wait for life's next move. Indeed, a worthy ally. 

Listen to the song here (on the blog site itself is best; the link will not work via email):
Comes a time
when you're driftin'
Comes a time
when you settle down
Comes a light
feelin's liftin'
Lift that baby
right up off the ground.

Oh, this old world
keeps spinning round
It's a wonder tall trees
ain't layin' down
There comes a time.

You and I we were captured
We took our souls
and we flew away
We were right
we were giving
That's how we kept
what we gave away.

Oh, this old world
keeps spinning round
It's a wonder tall trees
ain't layin' down
There comes a time.

I believe in some ways that we assist in creating our reality. With that in the forefront of mind's possibility, I sip my coffee and smile as I regard the sunshine shinning bright outside; illuminating the whole world that is visible to me in its loving light. Simply and easily beautiful! 

a seemingly magical sunset viewed from an AT shelter atop Killington Peak in Vermont
Happy sunny day,

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Freedom Jr's last stand?

Freedom Jr. (FJ), the self-proclaimed name I've given my green Mazda Protege, has reached its last legs...I think. As I continued on my road trip back out to Colorado from Pennsylvania last evening loud, physically animated protests of disgruntlement were voiced as FJ finally quit and died 7 miles outside of Urbana, IL.

Freedom Jr.: "I can go no further! Tow me." 
The faint noises, first heard emanating in eastern Ohio from somewhere low in the front of the vehicle, gave way to loud, washing-machine-in-spin-cycle-headed-for-Outer-Space-type sounds. At this point, near 400 miles past when the first noises where observed, FJ's check engine light flashed, then turned solid - signaling its final surrender. I had pushed, and pushed hard: often keeping the volume of music up as to not hear the audible complaints for 4 hours on end.

After the tow truck came and took my car, and the subsequent rescue by my sister and brother-in law (thank goodness they lived close!), we arrived to their house around 11 pm. When the task of unloading my belongings - 2 bikes, a desktop computer + screen; hockey skates, stick, helmet and gloves; a spider and Jade plant; books of many types; clothes, shoes and all - was finished, I settled into a long concentrated space of thoughtful amazement. I began to journal, to capture what had just happened. To try and make sense of what little I could comprehend. I was bewildered by the rare happenings of the past few hours. I had taken the car's growing complaints into consideration, but knowing that on a Saturday - late in the afternoon - that my chances of getting my car looked at by a mechanic were slim. So, I drove on; knowing that if I made it to Champaign, where my sister lived, that I'd be able to spend the night and get my car assessed on Sunday or Monday. Alas, though, it ceased-up just short of town; signaling to me that it was spent, finished, kaput.

How is it that I made it that far? Did Freedom Jr. give me everything it had before it quit? I know it is just a cold, hard machine without a consciousness, but as I laid down to sleep a little past midnight, I was still in a daze at the effort that transpired. If the car had quit say 100 or 200 miles earlier, I'd been in for some sort of interesting night - not to mention that assistance of the mechanical sort was miles and miles away. It still has me wondering...

Nonetheless, here I sit in my sister and brother-in law's house, warm, fed, and loved. I'm not exactly sure how Freedom Jr. will fare. That could have been its last ho-rah. Hmmm. I gotta chalk this one up to the powers that be for watching over me. That, and the love and care my family was silently uttering for me from afar.

Thank you for this. THANK YOU, INDEED!


Friday, December 7, 2012

A road tripper's ramble

I'm on a 3,200+ mile road trip from the West to the East and back again in 5 days; not to mention the 1,700+ miles that I drove 3 weeks ago to get out West from North Carolina. So you could imagine that space: vast stretches of seemingly endless roads, tractor trailer after tractor trailer, gas stations, fast food joints, and neon signs out the wa-zoo; characters of every sort, including character numero uno - me. 

In this space of time and life, I've had many things stick, and subsequently many things not. I do not have an associated feeling with this. Though, often in the absence of original thought, music comes through in ways indescribable. 

Taking my first shower this afternoon in over 5 days I had the following Incubus song enter my brain as I began to think about my short, 24 hour duration at home here in Pennsylvania:

Will I ever get to
To where it is that I am going?
Will I ever follow through with what I
With what I had planned?
I guess it's possible
That I have been a bit distracted
And the directions for me
Are a lot less in demand, in demand

Will I ever get to where I'm going?
If I do, will I know when I'm there?
If the wind blew me in the right direction, yeah
Would I even care? 
I would

I take a look around
It's evident the scene has changed
And there are times when I feel improved
Improved upon the past
Then there are times when I 
Can't seem to understand it at all
And yes it seems as though I'm going nowhere
Really fuckin' fast, nowhere fast

Will I ever get to where I'm going?
If I do, will I know when I'm there?
If the wind blew me in the right direction, yeah
Would I even care? 
I would, I would, I would

Will I ever get to where I'm going?
If I do, will I know when I'm there?
If the wind blew me in the right direction, yeah
Would I even care? 
I would, I would, I would, I would, I would.

So many emotions enter and leave in a 1,000 mile stretch. What seemed as genuine and real as the cold, hard concrete underfoot often vanishes as easily as it came - leaving me in a space of beautiful nothingness. Beautiful because I am choosing to call it and accept it at that. 

Life leads, I follow...thank you for this!

Happy miles,

Saturday, December 1, 2012

What direction shall I go?

Today is not any special day in particular. Just another day in a life of wonderful opportunities. While such has not been short in my life, and the people helping to facilitate said wonder as well, the direction has. I felt led to come out here to Colorado, and I don't regret that. Not in the least. I'm only admittingly involved in the patience game now.

I've been without work, almost entirely by choice, for almost 7 months now. I thought with the 6 month threshold that work and purpose would ensue. Now, easily past that threshold and approaching 7 months I still wonder. Though, in my wonderment, I hear the calm echo of patience rebounding back toward my conscious and perceiving mind.

My friends in Western Colorado have taken good care of me; often bending over far past horizontal, so-it-seems, to accommodate and accept me into their lives and living spaces. I cannot truly express how this is the support structure I thrive on, and without it, I feel I'd be down and out. I also acknowledge the role my family plays. While it is less than in times past - most likely due to my distance from home - they still are my strong foundation, from which I have chosen to roam.

Writing and floating through the day seems to be what calls me. My drive is steady, but my intensity seems low. Perhaps I expressed myself overly last evening while dancing with friends to a funk band playing in a Crested Butte bar... hmm.

The sun is out today and vast acres of open land are within easy approach; though, I remain here, pecking away at a black keyboard.

I think to openly query the powers that be about the status of my life's purpose, but I know the answer, again, will reverberate patience. This is calming at my core, the level of my heart. Though, the chaos of this acceptance, in the peripheral and cerebral space of my body, nudges at my inner tranquility.

For too long now, it seems, I've been showering and sleeping in places not my own. I've slept in a real bed once in the last month and a half - opting willingly to lay down on my Thermarest sleeping pad; the same one I was sleeping on the Appalachian Trail with, for the sake of an established and consistent comfort familiar to me.

Sigh, what to do? What direction shall I go? If I turn, will I put distance between me and my seemingly displaced-or-out-of-touch purpose? Questions bring curiosity; curiosity eventually brings acceptance. Here and now. A few deep breaths and I shall continue on; not knowing where but willingly going forward.

Thank you for allowing me to share.
Good day,