Monday, September 20, 2010

Play Again

Play Again, Restart this game, and Exit are the choices at the end of the computerized Solitaire game.  "Sorry, you lost this game.  Better luck next time/" it reads.  There are times in our lives when we have to make conscious choices to either "Play Again" ("start a new game" or "Return to this game"), "Restart this game" or "Exit".  Lately, after the great Canadian adventure, I'm ready to "Play Again" and I'm choosing to "start a new game" and also to "return to this game", as both apply now.  Sometimes the choices are presented in black and white, yes and now, etc.; however, sometimes the answer isn't either, it can be both or none.  We have to decide for ourselves what we want to do in our physical experiences and not be led by the constraints that society attempts to place.  I'm not talking about such aspects that some consider restraints such as manners, rules, and laws (however, if those do restrain then they can be changed and we should actively seek to change them), but I'm talking about various religious beliefs, social stigmas, and other thoughts that attempt to confine people into labels and boxes, instead of allowing them to be free to find and follow their own path.

Yes, "Play Again" with the selection of both "Restart this game" as it relates to re-connections and second chances with clients, friends, and family; and "Start a new game" as it relates to learning new things, developing new ways of working and living, maybe even starting a new love relationship.  I'm choosing both, as our past is our future, it has brought us to this very point, and will carry us through into the future.  The ghosts of the past never depart and are always with us, encouraging us to move forward through rememberancce.

"Start a new game" is the selection, but this time the new game is of my choosing.  Having acknowledged to the Universe my desire and openess to a relationship, this past weekend provided the beginning of something that I'm looking forward to developing.  Edwardo os his name and we met at our bi-annual PWA camp out, a place I normally just enjoy with friends and making some new friends.  This camp out was different, as I felt my heart begin to open for the first time in several decades.  For the last few days he has been on my mind, and when I catch my thoughts going in his direction, I have to stop and allow myself to work through anything that might prevent my heart from being open to the new game.  There are times when I think, "I'm not ready," or "I'm not sure I like having my thoughts on another person/"  However, I am allowing these thoughts, and am coming to a point that I like the way I feel.  Where it shall take me I am not sure, but for now the thoughts and feelings are positive and open, ready for something great to come.


Time spent with people close to you allows for learning more about them, and today marked a time of getting to know my friend Edson, my adoptive nephew from my travels in Puerta Vallarta.  He was the only one of three who could make it into New York City today to have lunch.  Originally intending to catch the C train from Brooklyn and exiting at Canal Street, another route had to be taken due to weekend construction on the NY Metro.  Thus, the C train but on the F train route led to exiting the train just to see where I was headed and how I can make my way to where I had arranged to met Edson.  Blocks passed as I walked along 6th Avenue (The Avenue of the Americas) down towards Grand, the phone rings, Edson is only 15 minutes away, so he finds out where I am located, I find a nice little park and wait, reading in the Buddhism book.  Not much time passed and Edson arrives in his Audi stationwagon, the bags thrown into the back, and we were off to enjoy lunch at The Park on 10th Ave.

The nicest surprise was presented when as I handed my credit card to the waitress, Edson suddenly realized what had taken place and yells, "No, stop that, bring that back and take this."  Thus, lunch provided by a friendly, warm, and caring person.  Discussions of his new career, his love life, and his life in general progressed throughout the time together.  It was a pleasure to see this young man grow over the last three, almost four, years into the young man seated next to me.  I'm thankful for the time, even short as it was, to spend with him.  My grandmother once said that she enjoyed being around young people because it kept her young.  I understand Granny, I understand.

Now on the Bolt Bus heading towards Washington DC I type this Blog.  Recounting the time spent relaxing in Brooklyn.  Brad and Michael were gracious hosts and pleasant company, yet there were times when I felt in the way; I had actually hoped for more time with them to become better acquainted.  However, they had work and other activities to attend to so much of my time was spent alone.  The walk through parts of Brooklyn took me past the Jamaican residents, into the the Hesitic Jewish community, and around into the Yuppie neighborhoods with the Prospect Park being the final destination.  Nature provides calming, renewing, and healing energy; thus the long afternoon of walking through the park proved beneficial with time for exercise and time for thought.

Through this time in Brooklyn, the renewed energy for writing the book emerged, along with the desire to return to my educational pursuits.  Thus everything has its purpose and such was this time in Brooklyn.  Sleep would be nice about now and I may take a short nap, but there is a desire to check emails first.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Nervous Silence

Silence, the still quiet of the night as the city sleeps, yet through the open window one can still hear the sounds of car horns, subway rails rolling, planes flying, and people talking.  It's 3 AM on this Saturday morning and sleep evades me yet again.  Thoughts of what the future holds bounce inside my mind while I try to keep them contained and quiet.  There is an excitement, an almost nervousness, about my arrival in Washington DC, which I am unsure of.  Thoughts of the past have been awakened recently, allowing a further review of who I was then.  Looking back has allowed greater focus of the future, for the past is what has brought me to this present moment of being.

Hardly recognizing the person from those days long ago, yet fully acknowledging the presence of that person within the person I have become.  Life lessons have taught many things over the years, all providing growth, a discovery of many new beliefs and thoughts about the Universe, who I am as I relate and am connected to everything around me, and a realization of how I have not allowed deep emotional connections for over 16 years.  The personal, self-imposed exile, I have been locked away within has kept me from feeling the pain.  Yet now there is the re-living of the various pains from the past.  It is time to grow past what was, embrace it as part of who I am, and to move forward.

It's the moving forward that will allow the self to regain something of value that was tossed aside so long ago.  It's time for the prison bars of self-doubt, self-loathing, and fear to be taken down, allowing the freedom to become something more, to experience the joys of deep personal connections.  Over the last few months I've realized just how "I" focused I have become, which doesn't really translate well into true concern for others.  Some time ago, I did an exercise in eliminating the words "I", "me", and "my" from my vocabulary for the purose of learning to listen to others.  That exercise altered my perceptions, however, the focus wasn't well kept.  Now it is time to open myself, to truly be concerned about others, and to let go of me.

What the future holds is unknown, yet from this point forward I shall embrace the past, learn from the life lessons, and come into the full awareness of being.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Changing, I Am.

Chills shiver through my body as I stroll along the Brooklyn city streets, caused by the increasingly cold winds.  Nature knows more and has remained connected to the energy flow of the universe, thus the trees with their changing leaf colors seem to know something.  Winter is coming early.  The cold wind blows, blowing a change, a change in nature, and a change in me.  Sadness, but not depression, has ruled the last few days, as there seems to be an alteration of my mind.  You are what you think and believe, as so many recite, and over the last few months my thoughts and thinking have improved.  There should be a fear about the future, even the morrow, however, there is a peace.

There have been a lot of interesting things happening in my life of late, so the unknown future will begin to play out as it should.  I will no longer resist, but gently go with the flow and allow the changes and new adventures, experiences, to present themselves.  Everything from the horoscopes to the numerology and tarot are indicating that from now until January 2011 will be the most remarkable time of my life, with energies geared towards success, friends, and family; all within a good balance.  Focused too often on either work or play has caused issues in the past, so perhaps this is the time, developed by age and experience, that there will finally be a balance.

Three years ago I started to write a book, not sure how I would get it completed, let alone how I would ever get it published.  For weeks I worked on the book, then it was set aside.  Recently there has been a new desire to work on the book, which has also caused a request of the Universe to attract the various people, events, and other things required to bring this book to its completion.  Tranformation, Architecture, Experience - the Transformational Experience of Architecture.  Many people talk about architecture, yet no one seems to ever discuss how a great architectural design can transform people, create a new experience that connects them to the very space they are within.  This is the subject of the book, and it is something that perhaps I have been meant to write, as the Universe has taken me along an incredible path of learning experiences to get to this point of understanding.

Turning back time isn't something we can do, and there are no mistakes in the Universe as everything happens as it should.  With thoughts of the past, along with re-connections with long lost friends, there comes the desire to return to my educational pursuits.  Ove the years I've been prevented from returning to college, so now I will attempt again to see if the timing is correct.  This would involve working long hours for courses, having to generate more income sources, and perhaps require a relocation.  Is it time?

Changes are blowing in with the new cold winds of the North, changes that are welcomed, needed.  I am the essence of all of my ancestors, my parents, and shall be part of those that come after.  I am part of everything, made from the elements of Fire, Air, Water, Earth, and Metal.  I am connected with all things, I am the past and the future.  I am the present.  I am blessed, healthy, content, at peace.
I am.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Weary Sadness

Weary sadness spreads across the emotional plane at this moment, a sadness of knowing that what has been is all changing, morphing, into something new.  The adventures through Canada introduced many new thoughts, friends, and places for future adventures.  Sadness because this adventure is over, sadness because there is a loss of something, sadness because there is a beauty in the extreme mist here at the Halifax airport, and yet the sadness isn't about being sad; it's about change.  Change is something that no matter how we believe happens, in large steps or small, it happens.  We either go with it or struggle against it.

The old saying, "it is better to flow with the current of the river than attempt to paddle upstream." seems to apply to how my life has been of late.  Going with the flow, living in each moment aware of the beauty in everything around, and growing from the experiences.  Being fully aware during each moment of the day one can see the changes, the beauty, the wonder, the magic, and the way everything is connected.  There are no accidents or coincidents in the Universe, although some might say there are, but rather there is a divine timing that brings everything and everyone to the perfect place at the perfect time.

That fear or doubt of not trusting the Universe can cause much stress, believe me I know from first hand experience; yet, there is a peace, a calmness, in trusting the Universe to bring things about in perfect timing.  The great Canadian adventure has come to the completion of its life cycle and now a new life cycle begins.  Sitting here, delayed for 40 minutes, on the small propeller driven aircraft is allowing me time to write, to relax, and to ponder the many things that have happened over the past few months.

Things of note for myself, which bring about a desire for something more, are:

  • Improve my Spanish language skills.
  • Improve my French language skills.
  • Study AcroYoga.
  • Begin to paint, even if it is just to learn through doing.
  • Express daily appreciation for the physical life.
  • Stay connected with friends.
  • Obtain a new smile.
  • Seek out great travel deals for sailing across the ocean to points across the way.
  • Assist new friends in learning how to build a new business, a hostel.
  • Open my mind to see, to see the signs along this journey that will mark the next phase.
  • Meditate more.
  • Alter ways of being so the self respect increases, along with compassion for all others.
For now, perhaps there is the need for rest.  30 minutes of rest now, maybe more.  Rest, yes, rest is needed.  Excitement builds as the doors are slowly opened for the next great adventure of this my traveling life.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The End of the Great Canadian Adventure

As the great Canadian backpacking adventure draws to a close, thoughts of what might lie ahead whirl through my mind.  There is a strong pull back to Austin to work with clients and be with friends; however, there is another pull towards Dallas and time with friends there and commuting to Austin to work.  The Canadian adventure has taken its toll on finances for sure, as Canada is expensive, so trying to earn the funds for an apartment deposit and first months rent will be something I'll have to address.
Me and the Mar

I'll spend some time researching options, sending out some emails about working in Austin, and overall sorting out where I'm supposed to be.  My dearest friends and clients are all in Austin and I have work there waiting.  Transportation will be required if I'm to stay in one location for long, perhaps a scooter or something.
The Tug Boat in Halifax Harbor

The new friends, the lessons learned, the knowledge gained, and the regained health will allow for greater insight into the world and thus further assisting clients.

Aboard the Tall Ship Mar in Halifax, Nova Scotia
Soldiers at the Halifax Citadel.
Today is the last day in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and I'm preparing to catch a flight this afternoon to New York City (actually Newark airport and then a series of transports to visit my friend Brad in Brooklyn).  A few days in New York, then I'll find my way to Washington DC for another few days to visit old and new friends, and finally a bus ride to Dallas and attendance of the bi-annual camp out.  September 23rd is the end of all of this, so I have some time to sort things out and determine what course I'll take.  For now, it's time to pack and reflect.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Travels, New Friends, and Coming to an End.

Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto

Thick, white, wet fog looms outside the train window on this Labor Day Monday as we wind our way along along the mountain passes, the river just down the side along the tracks.  Through the fog some lights appear, the train slows, but still steadily swaying and creaking, the interior lights brighten; and suddenly a small village appears through the darkness, yet the sun has been rising for some time as noticed just over the mountains with an ever brightening morning sky of pale blue.  The cresent moon still visible as the train stops, I don't see a station here, perhaps we are just waiting on another train to pass.
New children....

This is the last leg of my coast-to-coast Canadian adventure.  Time has eluded me over the past several days with long, sleepless bus rides, busy days, meeting new friends, intellectual conversations, attending my first Unitarian Universalist church, and leisurely drives from Chataugay, New York, to Montreal, Quebec.  Time presents itself once more; however at a time when my mind is clear of any desire to write, yet write I must.  There are so many things to write about, so many thoughts.  Having believed the train was to arrive early this morning in Halifax, Nova Scotia, I believed the day would be filled with discovering the new city; however, the ticket says 17:10, not 5:10.

View Larger Map

From Toronto the bus drove from 9 PM on Friday evening, making its stops in various locations along the way.  The young college students, Jakob, Sienna, and Olphelia, talked to everyone around.  Asshole, or so the game is called, we played until some desired sleep; then it was a few games of Speed.  One of the young men playing was becoming increasingly drunk (I do not know why Greyhound doesn't inspect all luggage in all locations, as this one practicce would eliminate many problems aboard the buses) and suddenly stopped because he couldn't find his bag of marijuana.  His state of being caused several of us around him to stop playing cards and find other things to occupy our time.  5 AM arrival in Montreal to city streets quiet in a misting rain.  Backpack lifted and placed, the other bags hoisted over shoulders and into the mist I walked.  Breakfast had to be found.  Police cars and orange tape blocked many passages; however, being observant prevented any issues for myself, yet for others less observant the police shouted orders in French.  Thus, around the dark and quiet streets I walked searching for a place to find breakfast.  Nothing was open, only a small convenience store where orange juice and a candy bar were purchased.
The cabin in Chataugay, NY

The sun has risen lighting the area around the still parked train, revealing another train beside us and trees along the way, but no village, only fog.  Sitting quietly while others sleep I type, recounting the events of the last several days. Wandering back in thoughts to Montreal.
The awesome stream behind the Cabin.

Circus, the only after hours night club in downtown Montreal was open, the music's bass beat pounding out of the open door, and people walking around outside on the pedestrian only street; most drunk or high it seemed, some speaking French as I walked by.  The three college students had mentioned this club, a gay club, as a place they were thinking of going to when we arrived; they didn't go, but I informed them where it was.  With an hour more wait at this point, my place in line secured, and conversations enjoyed with others while we waited for the next bus to New York.  The line grew longer and longer, stretching beyond sight around and through the Montreal bus terminal.  Three buses in all were called and brought to the door, two would be express buses to New York City, one would make stops in the small towns along the way.
My new friend.

Having only two hous before the first stop, I sat at the front of our nearly empty bus, quickly falling asleep.  "Anyone for Prattsburgh?"  "Anyone for Prattsburgh?" the bus driver called, awakening me from my deep sleep.  Raising my hand and asking if this was it.  No this wasn't Prattsburgh, it was the border crossing.  Waiting a bit, a Home Land Security officer boarded the bus and began asking questions, informed us to take our passports, leave all of our luggage on the bus, and for us all to go stand in line.  The overall experience at the border crossing left a sick feeling in my stomach as I realized just how ridiculously stupid the United States has become because of fear, fear caused by political leaders so they could attack another country for oil.
New friends, Kathryn and Ted

Fear isn't a good way to rule, it only proves that when a person instills fear in others it is for selfish purposes.  Yet the citizens of the United States allow such control, and even allow unrealistic fears to govern.  Many people are becoming increasingly unhappy with the current state of affairs in the United States, crooked politicians, political parties that bicker worse than children, and an ever failing economy; thus it shall be either reform and change or a revolutionary enforced change.  Shouldn't people take notice and change on their own, why should it be forced upon them?
Me on the VIA Rail train to Halifax.

The border crossing lacked any form of organization.  Through the chaos, anyone could have slipped through the process without ever being noticed, only those respectful people waited, remained in line, and processed through.  No wonder the United States is in such trouble, government doesn't work, chaos and fear rule.  I believe it is time to become extremely active in political affairs, it is time for major governmental change, something that was hoped for when Obama became President.  However, with a two party system mostly situated to only make the other party look bad, nothing good is accomplished for the people and the country's state of affairs worsen.  It's time for the feuding to end, it's time for politicians to stop favoring parties and start working for the people who elected them.  Term Limits of 2 and your out should be adhered to preventing career politicians, some say this could allow for better government.  Some call for a new Constitutional Convention, as mentioned in the conversations at the Coffee Party's website.

The sun shines brightly orange, yellow and red through the morning fog now, the mountains rise skyward, the fog wrapping them like a shawl, the train moves forward, rocking, swaying, creaking.  The sign on the road next to us says Campbellton this way.

Can there really be governmental reform without a revolution?  Cannot the politicians see that their actions or lack of actions are causing the people to become eager for something better, will there be a revolution?  Why shouldn't there be?  The middle class was what made the United States strong, and now it dwindles into nothingness, thereby weakening the country.  Government reform has to take place, the citizens have to regain control of the political system, freedoms have to be provided once more, or the state of affairs will decline into chaos, such as we see now with business failures, bank failures, unemployment not seen since the great depression, and government that doesn't work.

The houses, cemetaries, forests, rivers and mountains pass by outside the train's window now.  Altholville.

Living in the moment, trusting the Universe, and being aware (alive with an open and active mind) brings about such great opportunities to meet new people, to see new places, and the freedom to know that where you are is the right place for that very moment.  Thus, not spending any time in Montreal allowed the opportunity to meet Kathryn and Ted in Chataugay, New York.  The only connection being a current client in Austin, Texas; Kathryn is Marie's mother.  Their graciousness, open minds, and intellectual pursuits allowed for learning, kindness, and new experiences.  Their summer home here is a 100 plus year old log cabin with incredible ages old (beyond age into primordial) energy.  The intellectual conversations about government, the Coffee Party movement, Religion, education, history, and love caused the time to quickly pass.  I so enjoyed sleeping comfortably in the warm bed, even though my dreams reached into that primordiall energy and didn't allow for deep rest.  I hadn't expected to connect with this primordial energy, but glad now for it has changed me, taken me to a place which will allow for greater awareness and further education.  The conversations assisted this aspect by causing a stronger desire to know more about the issues our country is facing, more about life in general, more about people.  Throughout this adventure, the basic human goodness has shown through from many people into my life.  The affects shall reach far and wide, unknown to any at present but the very participants.  Noticing that the congregation of the Unitarian Universalist Church seemed to be more educated, either by degree or by life experience, generated an interest in learning more about this church; the Universe had invited me to such a church years ago when a dear man, Lee Heck, had invited me to attend with him in Dallas.  I have searched for Lee over the years, always curious as to his whereabouts and well being.  He is another one of the people that had a profound affect upon my life.  Thank you Lee.

It's time for breakfast, is the restaraunt car open or only the small cafe?

Quiche, fresh fruit, coffee, bacon, and toast was enjoyed in the restaraunt car while seated across from an older Irish gentleman who calls Toronto home now for over 40 years, with his Irish accent still strong.  We discussed traveling, retirement, living free, being free spirited, and the commitments of having a home, a family, and cars.  He asked if I enjoyed Montreal, with his question came my response and story of not being able to stay in Montreal (not able to book a hostel or inexpensive hotel due to the Labor Day weekend) and my resulting enjoyable stay with Kathryn and Ted.  I'm not really sure why I was to miss Montreal, other than viewing it from the car, bus, and train windows; however, I trust that the Universe allowed me to meet the people I needed to meet, and to see what I needed to see.  He mentioned that I would enjoy Quebec City with its great histroy and old town Montreal, so I mentioned that I had intentions of returning one day.  He further inquired if I had visited Europe, and I haven't, so he informed me of how beautiful and relaxed Ireland is, green from farming, feilds of cattle and sheep, and quaint little towns scattered along narrow country roads.  My comments were that one day I shall visit Europe and Asia, probably to adventure there for years, and with the probability of not returning.  My mind still ponders the many adventures of traveling through Europe and Asia, living there and learning the cultures of centuries old.  One day.

French is such a beautiful language as it gently rolls, thus the announement of our arrival in Nova Scotia also brought about a time change.  Another hour passed in a blink - 8:20 AM became 9:20 AM, but now I have no idea of what time zone I'm in, so I curled up in my seat with blanket and pillow and slept.  Slumbering for hours provided needed rest and a break from the hours yet to travel.  It's now 10 minutes till 1 PM, four more hours to go.
Kathryn as we drove to the Unitarian church in Prattsburgh.

This adventure has prooved challenging, yet brought about the desired results of improved health (mental and physical) and has provided many thought provoking ideas for further review, research, or consideration.  Acroyoga, introduced to me my Tom in Banff; new ways of speaking about deaths and funerals, introduced to me by Sam in Calgary, and the question of how to expand my consulting to include Hostels highlight.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Awareness is a Mirror

Closed minds filled with doubt, worry, and fear cause so many difficulties for individuals and society as a whole. Such limited and fear based thoughts prevent the individual and society from moving forward and from freedom. Doubts, worries and fears imprison a person, eventually causing obstacles and challenges for society to progress.  Overcoming such a closed (unawakened) mind requires constant re-programming to overcome years of incorrect, but believed, statements from others about life, behavior, and religious beliefs.  Probably well-meaning parents, teachers, and others say things to children without being fully aware of how their words affect that child well into the future.  From an open mind perspective we can objectively review these thoughts and behaviors handed to us and begin releasing anything that isn't grounded in truth.  Not an easy process, for it demands questioning everything as it regards your beliefs, viewpoints, and understanding of what was and is reality, about the world, your family, your friends, and even what you believe about yourself.

For days the struggle raged to remain in an open mind state, the old thought patterns trying to regain control.  Upon acknowledgement that I cannot and should not control anything of my own accord or will power, finally put to rest, at least for now, those old thoughts, especially those negative and false thoughts about me not being worthy to enjoy this physical presence.

Upon releasing my fears, the Universe was again allowed to show the path.  A call and request of a friend, a conversation with Patrick, owner of ABCC Hostel, and calmness reigned once more; along with the excitement of a new project - the seed of something new.  Now the work will begin of a 3D model of the hostel and some suggestions for possible alterations.

Aboard the Greyhound bus, packed to full capacitiy, we travel again to Toronto, thoughts about watering and cultivating this newly planted seed into a new aspect of St.Troy Consulting - Hostel Consulting.

Patrick termed the word "seed" as I said gift, actually he said, "think of it as planting a seed."  So now, with an open mind, I move forward.  The days of mental struggle resolved, the ability to enjoy the wonder and magic of the Universe renewed.  Today's thought is from the "Present Moment Wonderful Moment" book by Thich Nhat Hanh (obtained free from the Niagara Falls Buddhist Temple):

Awareness is a Mirror,
Reflecting the four elements.
Beauty is a heart that generates love
and a mind that is open.