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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Well I'll Be Quirky

I hitched down here to Albuquerque from Taos last Friday & am camping by the Rio Grand in the woods with my splendid new friend, James.

Taos


Taos was nice, besides the bumper-to-bumper traffic. I hung out at both the Hanuman temple and the Peace House. I made good friends with the temporary care-taker there, Annamarie. I got to be involved with Food Not Bombs a bit, too.

I also went to the Taos Pow Wow last weekend. It was not so touristy like I thought it'd be. I actually found my eyes tearing up, listening to the Taos singers & the drumming that went to the core of my being, & watching the dancers. Part of those tears were from the intense beauty, but also from grieving over what our culture did to native peoples.

There were a couple free bands in the Taos plaza last week, too, along with acrobatic shows. It was all so beautiful. I was again awed by the music, especially with the band "Last To Know" & the acrobats. That music was so heartfelt & those women acrobats were so beautiful, so graceful, it really moved me. And I couldn't get over the joy on the faces of the people watching, the children playing. I couldn't help but see the Divine radiating through everybody, as well as the latent pain behind it, in everybody. Seeing that, how can we ever look down on or judge another human being? I found my eyes tearing up again. I don't know what's gotten into me - I'm getting just like my sister, crying at the drop of a hat.

Albuquerque

Last friday i felt it was time to hitch to Albuquerque. I stayed my first couple nights at the Catholic Worker house. They kindly put me up & gave me grand hospitality despite the fact that I showed up on their doorstep totally un-announced.

My main reason for coming to Albuquerque was to meet up with a dear friend & Mystery I had never met in person before, named James. Here's the story. One day at the cave, months ago, I had realized there's only so much we can learn on our own. I was feeling like I could use an enlightened teacher. And I wanted to learn Tai Chi. But I wasn't going to force things & go out looking for it. It would have to be totally free, and it would have to come to me. This was my thought, my prayer. Then, days later, I went into town & got an email from a guy named James, who said this blog & website resonated with him & he very much wanted to hook up with me & live with me to learn some things. At first he didn't tell me he was a Tai Chi instructor, but I was realizing we had a deep spiritual connection. His wife believes so strongly in his vision that she'd bought him a plane ticket to fly out & meet me. This is the James I met at the airport yesterday morning. Though he came out to learn from me, it turns out he is really my teacher, & I am humbled. He's true blue. I have already learned so much through him I am awestruck. Yeah, my eyes have been tearing up again, with gratitude.

James & I plan to hitch to the Gila, NM area tomorrow to meet up with another person I've never met, Wind, who, I've been told, lives off the land & can teach amazing skills. My friend Prema has been raving about Wind to me for a couple years, wanting us to meet. So this is the time when I sit under teachers, who give totally freely, and I am flooded with utter gratitude.

Details Misgivings

I thought that Chris' article in Details magazine was well-done & respectful, and I would be putting on false humility if I pretended that my ego doesn't like it. It's nice to be heard & noticed. Every human being on earth knows that. But being in a little limelight makes my path more dangerous. There is really no danger on earth but the ego carrying us away.

However, there are a few things in that article that can give a false impression. The main is that my life is not really the life of an ascetic. Chris told me "this life seems hard". I told him yes, but I also said that my life is easier than it ever was when I had money, and that it's easier than most anybody's life I know. In reality, I was living in poverty & asceticism in the money world, as do the masses who live in it. When you force yourself to do what you do not want to do, when you force yourself against nature, so you can get a paycheck, you are a self-torturing ascetic. Your life is unbearably hard. I decided I didn't want to live the life of self-flagellation & unreasonable hardship anymore. This is why I walked away from it. Self-proclaimed Christians often tell me that I don't understand Grace & don't have to be such an "ascetic." They totally don't get it. It's the other way around. Living without money & possessions is the way of Grace. Grace is literally Gratis. Who is the possessionless one who implored those who follow him to give up all possessions, to live simply? "Come unto me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." These words mean what they say. Let that sink way way way down into your soul, you who call yourself Christian.