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Thursday, November 06, 2008

I Am Who I Am

Quick Summary:

Julian & I peddled out of Portland a month ago, parted ways in Arcata, Cali, and I finally made it to the Bay area! And here's the first pic of me ever on this blog. That's Julian on the left. Notice the roadkill hides on his bike. Julian's bike is a fixed gear 1-speed, believe it or not.

Right now I'm actually in Petaluma at my cousin Annie's house. Petaluma is 40 mi north of San Fran. Annie happens to be a nurse at the same hospital in San Fran where my friend Grace's kidney-donation surgery happened. So Annie gave me a ride down there & back here.
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SALEM, OREGON
Starting in the rain, Julian & I cycled from Portland to Salem, first, where we visited Jose (my friend who rode to Wyoming with me) and his parents & sisters. Then we visited my old friend Jerry Garcia, his wife Lynn, & their 4 kids. Yes, Jerry lives! Jerry Garcia's my friend's actual name. And, no, the guy on the left isn't him. Well, it's a picture of a Jerry Garcia, anyway. I hadn't seen Jerry for some 19 years, since we were in the Peace Corps in Ecuador. I had thought it might be awkward seeing him after so long, but it was as if we'd parted only yesterday.

I've included a pic Jose took around Salem (right). He's a fine photographer.

EUGENE, OR
After Salem, we biked southward to Eugene (left). We
foraged zillions of heavenly hazelnuts & apples. In Eugene we visited my friend Jai, whom I hadn't seen for 8 years! Again, it seemed like we'd only been parted since only yesterday. We hung out at her house while we explored Eugene. Eugene has changed over the years. It has joined the usual anal-retention (retaining waste) trend & become the land of locked dumpsters. Jai also took us to Quaker meeting with her husband, Gra.
FAERIE LAND
As Julian & I peddled south, we decided to stop in at Nomenus Radical Faerie Sanctuary (below, left) in Wolf Creek. The first guy we met, Lopi, was so friendly & welcoming. He told us we were just in time for dinner, insisting we eat, and invited us to stay in a camper trailer on the land. We felt so at home it was totally heart-warming. There are about 6 people living there now. Out of all the intentional communities I've ever visited, this one was the most freely giving & so full of love. Truly a sanctuary. They expected nothing from us.
ASHLAND, OR
After 3 days there, we headed to Ashland. We visited my friends Frank & Sara, whom I hadn't seen in 10 years! They have 2 kids now. After leaving their house, we heading out of Ashland, & saw a sign at the university for a free film on Darfur along with a free lunch. As we looked for it, we biked right into a free bicycle clinic, where Julian got his bike fixed up! The folks there invited us to a potluck that evening, & also offered us a crash pad at the bicycle coop. At the potluck I happened to run into my old friend, Trevor, and an old acquaintance, Stevia, both of whom I hadn't seen in 6 years! Trevor & Stevia were gnomes from my tree-sitting days. Again, magical synchronicity, small world! My head was swimming from all the nostalgia of long-lost friends on this trip, as well as all the magic synchronicities.

Oh, yes, we saw the film on Darfur (in the region of Sudan) the next day. I had not realized before that a major holocaust (like what happened in Rwanda) is happening right now in Darfur! Our media doesn't tell us shit.

INTO CALI
Julian & I peddled on to highway 96 toward Arcata. By this time we were eating lots of fresh roadkill - several squirrels and a juvenile doe - all incredibly delicious. I kid you not. The venison tasted way better than prime beef - not a bit of that usual gamy venison taste. (Yes, I might be vegan if I used money, because the animal industry is treacherous. In a previous blog entry I talk about the ethics of eating meat & hunting & gathering & such). We started tanning the hides with acorn water.

We continued through the Hoopa Valley Indian Res (right). That route is paradise. The Yurok we met there were really friendly, and a bit different by looks & personality than the Navajos in the Four Corners area I'm used to. They seem way more affluent than either the Navajo or Lakota. The Yurok joke that they are called Why You Are Okay.

We decided to take a 20-mile dirt road "short cut" from the res toward Arcata, & we ended up pushing our bikes uphill the first 10 miles, over a high pass! My front tire exploded on the way down the other side. Fortunately, I was carrying extra nearly-new tire & tubes I had dumpstered. In Arcata we camped in the redwoods near the university. We saw a wonderful presentation by the Beehive Collective.

In Arcata, Julian & I decided to part ways. Julian wanted to stay & find a ride to LA, ASAP, & I wanted to pick up peddle speed so I could get to San Fran by the time of Grace's surgery.

2000-YEAR-OLD GIANTS

I biked down 101, then down the Avenue of the Giants. I camped under a couple-thousand-year-old redwood. The beauty was overwhelming. But this small bit of preserved redwood forest is surrounded by clear-cuts, which is heartbreaking.
The banking & housing crisis fills me with hope. I hope it means we stop building more houses, McMansions this nation surely does not need. Another depression, as hard as that seems, perhaps will remind us again to take only what we need & to share, like we all supposedly learn in kindergarten.

As I rode through the redwoods, That common feeling cropped up again, and I thought, "I don't know how I could be more wealthy."

I rode into a visitor center, with campgrounds, where some hiker-bikers came over to greet me. They were ruffians like me. They were hanging tight for the next few days, saying it was going to rain hard. I was tempted to join them, but I surely wanted to get to San Fran soon, rain or shine, so off I peddled.

I stopped at some almost-done apple trees. A local man & his mother saw me foraging & brought me the hugest apples I'd ever seen, & gratitude flooded over me.

CELEBRATING HALLOWEEN WITH ROADKILL & KENDRICK

On Halloween day, a friendly biker named Kendrick caught up with me & we rode together. Like me, he'd been biking all over the northwest the past few months. He was from Bakersfield, Cali. After a bit, Kendrick stopped to write a letter, & I biked on.

I found a freshly-killed doe & stopped to cut a huge chunk out of its rump - food for many days. As I rode on, Kendrick caught up with me again. We decided to camp together that night. He cooked up some quinoa & I cooked up venison with vegetables, wild fennel & other spices. A sumptuous roadkill feast for Halloween! Kendrick said he'd never dreamed he'd be eating roadkill, amazed how delicious it was.

That night the monsoon started. Next morning I said goodbye to Kendrick & biked on in the rain. It monsooned for days, my whole trip to Petaluma. A test of endurance. One of those nights I was grateful to find an abandoned house to sleep in.

Ah, more gratitude as I gorged on concord grapes from the droves of vineyards.

And it was a sense of triumph when I finally peddled into Petaluma to my cousin Annie's house, & gratitude seeing her smiling face when she came home from work late that night.

KIDNEY CONTROVERSIES

I didn't make it to San Fran before Grace & Rick (her recipient) went into surgery. But I was glad to hear she had lots of friends there as support. I spent 3 days there with her & Rick, and got to see my friend Jesse, too, as well as meeting their other three friends (they are all part of the "Jesus Christians" team in the US. I traveled with Grace, Jesse, & Simon last Spring). They feel like family. I'm glad I spent time with Rick, too, getting to know him more. He's overjoyed with his new kidney.

There has been controversy about many "Jesus Christians" ("JC's") donating kidneys. Some people thinking the JCs are a cult and kidney donation is coerced. Even somebody I know wanted to contact Grace & convince her to change her mind.
Grace's mother was there, and Jesse was filming a documentary on it all. He asked Grace's mother if she felt like Grace had been coerced. She said, "By all means, no. Grace and I have talked about this for 8 months and it is totally on her own volition and desire." To those who are opposed to many of the JCs donating kidneys, maybe I could get you in contact with Rick, the recipient, and you can explain to him what a horrible thing it is.

Anyway, I'm hoping to see my "Jesus Christian" friends again within the next few days.

I AM WHO I AM

I put "Jesus Christian" in quotes because, really, I see them as my friends, as humans, not as any denomination. But I sort of wish they didn't call themselves anything, because just their noble actions say who they are. Denominations (labels, names) divide. Imagine if we saw everybody as human beings rather than as ideas, rather than as organizations & memberships & nominations & religions & diplomas & bank accounts & ID cards & possessions.

What if all I had to prove who I Am is simply I Am Who I Am? The world always wants to know by what authority you do anything. The world wants to see memberships, ID, diplomas, records, possessions. People talk about identity theft. What? How can your identity can be stolen if it is real? The world system doesn't see humans, just ideas, grudges, past records, future promises. The world system sees only ego, never reality. But Reality simply sees I Am Who I Am. I Am Who I Am is the Only Reality. There is nothing else.

On this moneyless path, I used to call myself a "Sannyasi" or a "Sadhu". But it was pretension.

What if the only help or recognition I wanted from people was not because of a name I put on myself, or an office I take on, but simply because I am human, not special above anybody.

What if I refuse to go to war or refuse ownership simply because I Am Who I Am, not because I am a Quaker or Amish or Buddhist or Hindu or Christian? What if you give me assistance, not because I call myself a monk or wear special clothes, but simply because I am human, just like the bag lady pushing her grocery cart?
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What if we became as Nature, and our rain & sunlight fell freely, without charge, on both the just and unjust alike, with zero distinction?
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I lost my ID last spring, & it brought me new liberation, new understanding - despite all the restrictions (getting harassed by cops, often getting refused use of internet, barred entry through many doors). All I have for ID is I Am Who I Am. Nobody sent me but I Am. There is no other Name Holy under heaven. There is no other way, no other truth, no other life:
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I Am Who I Am

10 comments:

  1. Hey what's up man, your blog's really interesting and it helps me to understand you better. I had a tough last couple of weeks since my transplant. I think the difficult hospital experience plus a lot of emotional stuff that came up for me made me really depressed and made it hard for me to appreciate my kidney properly for a little while. But I'm discovering the grace of God all over again and coming back to reality, and and I am so grateful for this kidney (THANK YOU GRACE!)

    I can certainly understand how some people could have had a problem with Grace donating to me, but it was perhaps the greatest act of love I have ever witnessed, and I will never forget it as long as I live. Many of my family and friends visited the hospital, and they were all deeply moved by the mercy and selflessness of it all, and I know that they will never forget it either. I can't blame anybody for wanting to dissuade Grace from her choice, but I believe if that person knew the joy and grace (no pun intended) of it all, and how many lives the event has touched, it would bring joy and thankfulness to their heart as well.

    -Rick

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  2. Thanks for the great read Suelo! Your life on the road continues to inspire me. Not to pressure you into anything you wouldn't want, but I'd have to say that I'd be pretty bummed to hear that you got a job and went back to living in the system's box! Happy 8 years of moneyless existence.

    As I was sharing with you while you were here, I think that we Jesus Christians chose a name for ourselves simply as a reference point for others, and because we didn't want to be confused with what passes for "Christianity" today. That being said, I can appreciate where you're coming from on this issue, and find myself in agreement with the goal of your perspective. In the end, may Jah receive all the glory.

    love, light, and revolution,
    Jeremy

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  3. Very glad we got to know each other, Rick, & to be pleasantly surprised by your deep thinking & unique perception of reality.
    It's not surprising you'd deal with depression after such a major thing - sort of like post-partum depression.

    And thanks for the comment, Jeremy. The comeradery I felt meeting you & Jayme, with your freshness & sincerity, was exhilerating, as I felt with G, J, S, & E.

    This language & label thing we humans are saddled with is not easy. I totally understand about the reference point thing. But I must also say every denomination (de-name-ination) in the world started with a reference point name to distinguish itself from what passed as truth. Most started out fresh & exciting & powerfully truthful, too, like good music bands first hitting the circuit before marketing & record labeling. I truly wonder, can this be different? What if our reference point were simply Who We Are, and we trust that this is enough? What if I Am Who I Am were the only name required, and simply Being published itself, & we find, all the sudden, that the Church or Community we've been searching for has always existed & always will but now suddenly appears before our unveiled eyes? Apocalypse: "unveiling". And if simply Being didn't reference us or publish us, then what else matters anyway?

    If others want to label us so be it. And who leaves a better taste in your mouth, somebody who nominates herself, or somebody nominated by others?

    I'm guilty of nominating myself/"us" as the next guy or group - but now I'm questioning if there's a better way.

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  5. Hello I AM.
    (is this to be suffixed with the blogger previously known as Suelo - ie Prince /some androgynous symbolism)(I'm smiling).

    It's always enlightening to read of your travels in place and thought. I started out thinking that it was fun to finally get put your face with a name...but I guess I jumped the gun...

    Names. Hummm... Last week I was blogging about the seven names that Matthew links to the OT prophecies that foreshadowed the coming of another "I AM" of old.

    Names seem to have meant a lot to God per the canonical scriptures. Names were used to describe the personal attributes, activities, and accolades of people sometimes (as with Jesus) even before they hit the dirt. I know the native humans of this continent thought names played a similar role.

    I find it interesting that you picked an English equivalent to the Hebrew hyh (hayah) (I am that I am)and the very nomenclature that got the Lord Christ in the hottest water. That's one name that I'd personally be trepidatious in adopting.

    I am sensitive to one's desire to be as anonymous as possible in their service of their Creator, as that was his advisement. But, as much as I see the advantages of anonymity in loving acts, I'm still in awe of holy names so well chosen.

    I would anticipate that God might even have pet names for us in our heavenly home, because he's made a pretty big deal of it down here. In the Biblical record people's names were even changed out for other more fitting names as people inherited spiritual tattoos. I.e., the name changes of Abraham, Sarah, and Israel were modified to represent the promise of the proliferation of the seeds of both family and faith... as was Simon's to Peter.

    Even groups of folks went through similar name changes. I always liked the Acts name for the early Messiah followers, predating the pejorative "Christians", the Way.

    I hope these rambling thoughts will solicit further thought (and perhaps discussion) with you on this matter. Peace and warm regards, "...". (sorry for the previous comments deletion...I left out a crucial...uhhh...name)

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  6. All names that can be thought are just ideas. Ideas are not real. Reality is the name above every name. Not "Reality" but Reality. Not "I Am" but I Am. No word that can be uttered or thought can express Reality, including "Reality." We all know this, when we clear our mind of our ideas, in other words, when we humble ourselves.

    The truth is Now, and all words that can be thought steal us away from Now. The truth is its own word. Truth simply is Being.

    In the Beginning was the Word, and the Word was Being itself and nothing else. Being speaks for itself. Then the Word reduced itself to idea and dwelt among us ideas. The Word separated itself from Being, becoming idea. Why? To give himself up, to show all other ideas how to give themselves up. Why? to return to Reality, so that we too can return to Reality.

    Reality: eye has not seen it, nor ear heard it, nor has it entered human thought. If Reality could be thought, it wouldn't be Reality. It would be reduced to idea, illusion. To know Reality, all ideas must die. All that we THINK is ourself, must die. "The Son of Man comes at a Time when you DO NOT THINK." [literal translation of Jesus' words, in present tense].

    If I am to be true, no word can utter my name - I can only Be Who I Am. Anything else is a stage name. Don't get me wrong, stage names are wonderful - stage names like "Moses" and "Israel" and "Jesus", if those who hold them realize they are but stage names for this Grand Play to go on! But don't all these names have a beginning and an end in time? Don't they have a beginning and an end on your very own vocal chords? They all die. But only by dying voluntarily can they be raised to the One Name Above Every Name - in fact, the Only True Name. All thought must cease to realize truth.

    There is no one ELSE, nothing ELSE, like God, nor can there ever be, Isaiah keeps saying. Yet the scriptures tell us to be like God, conform to God's IMAGE. How can this be? Our only mission in life is to be True. Jesus himself commands us to be perfect. Isn't Only One Perfect? To be true is to be sincere is to be perfect is to be Truth - the only Way, the only Life.

    The ONLY way to be True is to shed all ideas, all idea of self, all earthly names, all possessions. Call it crucifixion, ever Now. When this happens, I Am Who I Am. There is no other and can be no other. All else is illusion. Not the spoken "I Am" but I Am. Simply Being, and the Fruit born from Being, says it all. To those who ask him what his name is, Being says, "What do my works say?". You will know Being by its fruit. When this happens, folks who are just ideas, who make names for themselves, who are not real but THINK they are real, pick up stones to stone the One who utters I Am Who I Am, because this One is sent by nobody but I Am.

    But only ideas can stone ideas. Only ideas can fight ideas. Nobody real can fight anybody real. If we saw our enemy as real, we wouldn't and couldn't fight her. Reality cannot be divided against itself. Only ideas can be divided against themselves, which is why all ideas, all prophecies, must cease. But Reality, Love Itself, never fails.

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  7. i am sad to say that i have now read all of your blog! i hope you get a chance to post more, because i enjoy your stories and musings greatly. do you take take the photos? if so they're wonderful as well, and the sharing of ancient art and illustrations is so refreshing, it reminds me of my many hours in the library where i saw so many things, beautiful, wonderful things. you're right about money, and the grief it brings and the time and life it wastes, or maybe that's just my interpretation, or my own idea mixed in with yours. your moneyless life is daring and courageous, and i think the secret desire or at least wonder or mystery that many feel. could i be free? so many are in bondage, and want to be free, but hope is smothered in layers of propaganda and marketing. so many new things now are supposedly needed, with more coming everyday, a tidal wave of new stuff we didn't know we "needed" yesterday, and yesterday we were the happier for it, or could have been, but such things dont arise that way. they companion plant the idea of being without along with the thing they say you should need. it's insidious, a sinister sermon, a gospel of goods.

    i wonder how you cook the roadkill you mention, and whether you carry a pot and utensils and such, or whittle a stick on the spot for skewering and roasting a bit of meat over an open fire. that's what i like to think, since it reminds me of a tv show i never forgot, seen some forty years ago, davy crocket with fess parker starring. in one episode it was nighttime and davy and a companion were in the wild and had caught a fish and were cooking it on a stick close to their fire. "so! that's how that can be done!" i thought to myself, as if someday, i might get away with something.

    so many artificial conventions and a growing labrynth of the "right" ways of doing serve to make our "rich" material life a prison, tighter and darker until we fear even a few drops of rain on our hair, i've seen many people wince with pain when a few drops of rain fall on their hair, and they hurry to get away, to get back inside. how sad it is. oh so preachy, too many sermons in my youth, and perhaps too often in the pew wondering how i to make a sing song myself.

    anyway, all the best wishes to you and yours, and please write soon! your life and stories and views remind me of walt whitman in a way, and henry david thoreau.

    ~ d

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  8. Very nice reading your comment, d.

    I'm hoping to put in a new blog entry soon. It's always a matter of getting on communal computers long enough.

    Most all the photos & pics I google up from cyberspace. The one of me was taken by a friend we stayed with in Ashland, OR.

    For cooking this time around I used a small pot and a "rocket stove" (made from a coffee can, using a few small sticks as fuel). I have done a lot of cooking on the end of a stick, as you describe, too.

    Yes, what if this really were the land of the FREE like we're programmed from childhood to think it is? Free means just that: FREE. Unpossessed!

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  9. I can sometimes feel your happiness, while reading these blogs. About the apple and feelings wealthy among the giant trees. How spectacular it would be to see them, and also how depressing to think about how many more there could have been if we could have ceased the demolition.

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  10. Suelo, I am as well bound to your writings, have read most of them, my first interest went to how you managed winter months, then i swapped back to the early ones and then to the latter, to look for changes in 'plot', transitions, learnings. There are many moving moments I have had, thank you for being there, there is some value in blogging emotionality, i have experienced this with your entries. Thank you, bless you...

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