The Day of Venus (VIII)

I am seeing that sitting down to write is the same experience I had when I first started running and exercising on a regular basis. I see that it feels good 100% of the time, and it doesn’t matter how far I go or how fast, what comes out or doesn’t–it just matters that it feels good, the thoughts dancing where they dance, the words laying where they lay.

I’ve got a “fisherman” character living in me that Abby and I have noticed over the course of us being alongside one another. He props himself up onto the kitchen counter in one swift jump, legs wide and chomp-slurping an apple. He sips on bourbon all night long between gulps of water. He isn’t the best at small talk but he’ll ask anyone about the dreams they’ve been having lately. He gets way too loud when he’s excited, and he gives a damn good massage.

Where it’s coming from > .

An ode to all the beautiful people I’ve met while working at the grocery store I’ve been at since last July: Alexandra grew up surrounded by nature–living in a forest until the age of 10, then moving to live beside a lake in the woods after that. She said a friend sometimes drives her to the McMenamin’s in Vancouver and she feels more at home–enveloped by green and looking up to see it towering above you. She wore a rose-gold shawl, and had a gray cashmere beanie that made her eyes look blue. But she said “well actually…” when I complimented them, and told me her eyes are green like mine, sometimes brown, sometimes lime.

Fox has a Pomeranian named Sierra and she is a heart-centered rambler (Fox is the rambler–not the Pomeranian, but maybe the Pomeranian too). A keen sense of kinship is felt between the way I can tell she doesn’t take the shitty parts of life too seriously–she’s got that Aquarius “it’s a spiritual quest to be even be alive right now dude” output.

The Leo Moons of the store included me, the main manager, and a girl with long silk hair with blues and purples, and the coolest pants I’ve ever seen. Loving on others is like breathing, like our hearts wants to hum with every heart it encounters –love on and play, lift, speak life, ignite the warmth of the sun from the inside-out. When we’re down, it is felt, and we rarely explain why. A new day can solve anything anyway. If not this day or the next, then it it’ll be the day after that.

Ruta comes to the store every Saturday, her bags neatly folded in her cart, and her reading glasses around her neck. She told me there is a creek next to her house, and a garden. She works with one of the supplement companies, and she met Dr. Bronnor. She said he is very down-to-earth and sincere-“a wonderful gentleman”. Abby and I were at a park once naming all of the dogs around us, and I named a tall distinguished blonde doodle “Dr. Bronnor” and Abby laughed that crinkle-nose laugh she does where her eyes close and her cheeks flood into pink.

There is a little girl who has a song to sing almost every time she comes into the store. The first time I ever met her I was standing by the register aisles and she ran up to me from beside her mom in produce and gave me a huge hug, then I complimented her dress and she began twirling and singing a song from a movie. She ran up to hug the Leo Moon Manager one day too, catching her off guard and I thought I saw Leo Moon’s eyes tear up, but maybe that was just the lighting and my imagination.

In the every day moments is where we build our lives–not through the displays, the sealed and delivered declarations, or the roles written in stone. Moments like the ones we have on the way to the next one. Where does your mind rest when it is resting?

My Dream: One day I want to have a rabbit and sometimes after I harvest my garden’s vegetables I’ll leave a bunch of them still there and let my rabbit hop around the garden finding them. And may there be a greenhouse in my future too, Amen.

(A continuation on the musings from A Day of Venus VI): I think I learned to speak from the space between my ribs and down to the base of my spine–that gourd always present for us to reach from–partly because of learning how to oli, to chant, to sing. It was in Halau Ka’ulaokalani, the name of our hula group or “troupe”, led by kumu hula, or hula teacher, Wayne Takemoto. From the age of 6 to around 13 I learned through song and dance the stories of Kings and Queens, gods and goddesses, and the celebration of plants, valleys, soil, stars–after that time and through high school we were just called occasionally to go dance at someone’s wedding, or 1st baby party, or community event. I notice when I am in front of people, behind a mic, a camera, or looking someone in the eye, when I am present and calm I speak from this place, sing from this place, give from this place.

As made up as this may sound, it is truth: I remembered the hum and melody of a song around the age of 5-6 that was the melody of a song playing while `I was born, and one my mother played a lot when I was in her stomach. It is the “Song of The Goddesses”, and I still have not found the exact song as it played in my head. (I will have to just sing it myself then eh?) But I will find one of it’s many copies from YouTube and post it here. It’s lyrics are the names of goddesses in repetition: “Isis, Astarte Diana, Hecate, Demeter, Kali, Inanna”, but at the time I only heard the melody and not the words. When I asked my mother “mom, mom what song is this?” and hummed it for her, she asked me to do it again about 3 more times before smiling and then saying “ahhhh” before singing it out for me. I asked her several more times to sing it again, over the course of many years after that.

I ran away from the house and found hiding places when I was overwhelmed or scared. When we lived in Hau’ula it was on a sturdy branch of a tree that swung low over the shallow tide of the ocean when the moon was full, then was easy to just climb onto from the sand when the tide was low. I sang into the wind sometimes sitting on that tree, my voice getting carried so forcefully I couldn’t even hear myself. I remember looking into the water one day when it was particularly stormy–rain making little dents on the surface of the crinkled waves–when I saw a puffer fish beneath me and tried to touch it with my big toe.

Another place I ran to was all the way up Green Valley Road until I reached the fork in the road, and I went left just before the little pig farm to sit on the rocks beside one of the streams. I could step down from the road onto the dirt and rocks leading toward the water and crouch just under the rock wall where I couldn’t be seen. I would sit there until I forgot why I ran there, watching the river carry leaves, bugs, tiny fish and powder-like clay dirt. I made up songs, sang ones I knew, made shapes in the dirt with my fingers.

(to be continued from A Day of Venus VI)

The Day of Venus (VI)

Today and right now I feel like sharing stories surrounding religion and spirit in my life. I remember being in elementary school in the 2nd grade, where most of my classmates were Mormon, and a boy in our class started from one end of the lunch line to the other as he individually asked “Are you Mormon?” and if the person said “Yes” he said “You’re going to heaven”. I had no idea what it meant to be “Mormon”, but I assumed in that Elmer’s-glue-n’-glitter of a moment in my life, it was something I was since most people seemed to be it, and they also seemed so proud to be whatever that was, so, surely, I must be that too. There was commotion in a few parts of the line where, from what I could tell the answer was confusion or a “no” (basically not a “yes”), which caused that person to be severely, and loudly scapegoated. In a state of embarrassment to be in the spotlight amongst my peers, when the boy was directly in front of me, his question repeated for the delivery of my Tamagotchi-testimonial, absolutely strawberry-pink in the face I blurted, “what does it mean?” and was then given the same treatment as the rest of the other-than-no’s.

(These are tamagouchi’s–everyone cool had one. I found mine on the playground and said FINDERS KEEPERS which is something I did a lot and got into trouble for sometimes)

In kindergarten I was in a Catholic school, where we wore uniforms everyday and I dug my nose in the back of the classroom and apparently talked my little ass off, according to the reports my mom kept. Now that I think about it, nothing stands out in my mind about going to school there the way other schools stood out (I went to like 5 schools between the ages of 4-7 because of moving so much). I went to a pre-K on the Big Island the year before that, which I learned later was a Waldorf school. We learned to sew little blankets, had meals together on a long wooden table with fresh and tall flowers in the center, and we each said something thankful before eating. We played in gigantic trees whose branches swang low and long. There was a garden outside where we each had our own section, and I remember once experiencing a slight hypnotization gazing into the face of a sunflower as big as my head. Anyway, there is one thing that I vividly remember about being at the Catholic School, and that is a nap time where Jesus did not leave a goodie bag in my cubby for me because I chose to not sleep during nap time.

My mother taught me of the direct link between my heart and God through a few lessons blazoned in my mind. I remember her telling me about a voice inside of me that speaks, showing me to notice when something feels wrong or “off”. “The more you listen, the more she speaks; The less you listen, the quieter she gets–but she is always there for you, and always knows“, a subtle instilling of the inner awareness of an Inner Guide, God, of Consciousness. A web of ways to communicate were given directly and indirectly–to put my palms and fingertips together and pray, speak sweetly to leaves, appreciate the tastes of foods as I ate them.

I always wanted to be invited to church by Rhea and her family. Between the ages of around 8-10 we were neighbors, and we met because one day Rhea just starting darting rocks at me from her porch, so I started throwing them back until she was the one who got into trouble about it. Instant besties. Anyway, we would load into her mom’s lifted truck that had a/c and smelled like cherry jolly ranchers, and all the way to Hope Chapel we sang devotion songs, her mom’s gold Hawaiian bracelets glinting and tinking in the morning sunlight. Lyrics were displayed on the overhead screen, people were on stage in front of us crying and singing their hearts out–and I sang until I cried too, and it just felt good, and they usually got me a happy meal on the way home.

The Lotus Sutra has a character resembling a heart in the center of the scroll–a place I was told to rest my gaze as we chanted Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo. When I was around 5 my mother started chanting, and it may have even been before then–I’ll need to ask and research. When we were still in Dallas (I was born in Grand Prairie, Texas) she had been chanting before moving to Hawai’i, so may have received her Gohonzon there. A Gohonzon is where the Lotus Sutra is kept–a cabinet that opens to display the Lotus Sutra. There are 2 smaller drawers beneath that, which nestle prayer beads, the tiny sutra recitation books, incense, and then a few other folded pages my mom had in there. It is a flock of birds gliding across my mind to simply remember the red-toned gohonzon we had for years and years. Anyway, I don’t know if the Lotus Sutra Scroll is given at the same time as the Gohonzon, or if she had it before. When I take a deep breath in, and let the words follow the pace of my exhale, the vibration of Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo inside of my body is like giving my arteries, nerves and mind a spa treatment. Before I left Hawai’i in 2017 she gave me beads, a book and a gong bowl, without me asking and without having ever mentioned anything about chanting for a long time since then. It has become a tool I keep close to my side, and I continue to learn.

(The Lotus Sutra–see the heart in the center?)

My mother had two books laying around the house that greatly influenced the way I thought of the bible–The Red Tent by Anita Diamant, and The Women of the Bible by M.L. del Mastro. She did send me to vacation bible school for two summers, so basically I was taught the basics, but “basic” certainly ends there. I was also taught that Jesus’ life was partly spent amongst monks and holy priests of many places in the world–studying, learning, but most of all enjoying life. When missionaries came over, most times my mom would invite them in, bring food out or make them plates, and I’ve often heard her start discussing his life with them, them being left with questions of their own. I would actually do anything to be able to go back and listen with the mind I have now. She had a painting of Jesus next to our Gohonzon, completely throwing them for a loop, but also intriguing anyone who noticed and asked. At Christmas time there our tree would be, right next to the Gohonzon, and there my friends would be asking, “Wait, so do you believe in Jesus, or do you believe in Buddha?” I’ll never forget in college when taking a “World Religions” class, learning that the passages that were in place during the time of his life would have made it highly likely Jesus journeyed with traveling Holy men far and wide, learning techniques, meditations, all forms of prayer–not to mention then being exposed to many herbs, medicines, songs, dances, cures, expressions of love and compassion. Time spans of his life left out of biblical texts, compared to texts written during those same times suggest the high probability he was in India learning from Brahmin priests, and then spent time in Tibetan Buddhist Monasteries. I remember studying this with my peers, feeling a deep respect and pride for what I was once slightly embarrassed by when it comes to knowledge of Jesus and the interconnection of faiths.

I started reading The Autobiography of Malcom X when I was en route to Texas to be near my sister and nephew as he was being brought into the world. It was one I had been carrying in my to-read box for a long time, and I had time to kill. I remember telling people “It has been so long since I obsess-flipped through a book that fast!” Not only did my mind expand in learning about history, I became captivated by The Quran and learning about Islam. At that point in time I was doing research on schools to teach at abroad for the following year, either in Thailand or Japan, but the agency I was working through sent me an email asking if I’d like to teach in Abu Dhabi.

(to be continued..and probably further edited)

The Day of Venus (Ⅳ)

Dreams don’t have collars or strainers–they are big chunks of cardammon and star anise in your teeth, so what do we do with that? We find a way to have it slide into and out of our mouths, and back into The Bowl.

Behind the words you say I want them to be true. I want the curtain to be drawn back to see the stage as you say it’s set. I want to float under the sky without caution, with my eyes meditating on the moon, in a harbor you’ve created. ~ I want the words I say to be as true as a curtain drawn to reveal the stage set exactly as I say it is set. I want to float under the sky without caution, the moon in my body, in a harbor I have created for myself.

Energy is transported, transmuted, transferred, received, given, and stored. But never lost, and never created without the alchemical process involving what has already been created.

Oh how the very things that break our hearts bring us closer to ourselves, closer to God.

It counts for something–your eyes giving squinty smiles to people passing by, the encouragement you give to a stranger in line at winco, the wise crack you exchanged with your coworker, the graceful departure, the supportive gesture, a note for your lover beside the coffee pot. The invisible work is the way you move in the world–not your title, your degree, or your craft.

I found a lion whispering in my stomach, no roaring for days. The quiver in my voice is what I banish, and I am learning to say it straight from my ribcage, and from the red of my womb.

I trust myself enough to follow the feeling of ecstasy to it’s end.

I reclaim time, by giving myself my time–playing my music, typing like this, paying close attention to what I am participating in, being selective, and re-directive.. How To Redirect Yourself: Draw attention to simple sensations that make you feel good about your world, yourself–start with the simplest of things such as the way the colors in the sky contrast, how orange the moon is, how soft the fabric is against your skin. Look at any distractive or destructive time thief of a thought and say ‘NO’ the way you would to someone about to step into oncoming traffic, then with relief take a hold of your shoulders and walk yourself home.

What I notice in another, is within me as well.

Your breathing is your own, is your messenger, is your teacher, is your anchor. I honed in on the pit of my stomach that feels like fire and I imagined it spreading through my body via my blood. I pretended to be a woven basket of tangerines and lemons next to the clothesline.

The fixation on one perspective is to be studied–catch it like a slippery fish–that moment where your mind is heading toward choosing an idea to look for within the words others say, the world itself

We create what we fixate on.