Saturday, February 24, 2018

Feeling Marginalized

Last year, when the monumental worldwide Woman's March, in protest to Mr. Trump, took place in January, I participated in one while on vacation in San Pancho, Mexico.

The energy and unity was amazing while 2,000+ women, men, children, and dogs marched down the main street from the soccer field to the plaza. Signs were carried proudly and announced creative comments and photographs dealing with solidarity and woman's rights. I carried a small, 4x6 card mounted on a popsicle stick which said: I ❤️ LGBTQ

Other similar marches took place in every major city (and smaller ones as well) not only in the United States but around the world!

At the time I began being bothered by this label "Women's" march. With so many marginalized groups, including my own LGBTQ one, being oppressed, I guess I resented the protest(s) being often only about woman and their rights! What about Blacks, Immigrants, Latinos, etc, only some of whom are women?

The protests have continued and are gaining numbers and strength and it appears that they will continue! All across the world hundreds of thousands, maybe even millions of disgruntled people are not "taking it anymore" protesting "now is the time!"

I guess the conflict, for me, was similar to "Black Lives Matter" vs "All Lives Matter!" Yes Blacks are overly oppressed, are incarcerated in disproportionate numbers, and are often or usually suspect if only because of the color of their skin but what about police officers who are shot in the line of duty, or any person regardless of skin color who is senselessly murdered?

The conflict with women getting all the attention for their protests with a focus on women's rights and the idea that the problem is one which only women can solve, and women's rights receiveing the majority of the attention, bothered me.

Some (not all) men have created the situation in which change needs to be made. Many have acted immaturely, inappropriately, abusively, and even criminally with their deeds going unpunished; not only against women but in greedy self-serving ways of all kinds. And they have gotten away without notice, attention, recompense, arrest, and/or imprisonment.

Yes this must stop, but only women can solve the problems because men have failed? This bothers me. I began to feel excluded from being part of the solution, and that the current attitude was that only women can solve the problem. Maybe? I but have never been an all or none, black vs white but rather a gray kind of person. Time will tell.

Maybe we are moving away from patriarcy back towards matriarchy. Maybe men have been "in charge" unquestioned and unaccountable for too long and generally not done a good job.

While I am not a history buff, there are accounts of how during earlier times, women were in charge of life, family, and "government" and slowly pushed out by men, the church, etc and eventually relegated to a low place, not through any of their own doing, but through jealousy and fear over their power.

Maybe the pendulum needs to swing back towards total matriachry before it can swing with less force between equality?

After having a conversation while in San Pancho with Gretchen; former nun, activist, mother, teacher, friend, among other roles; she suggested that maybe it is OK for me to feel marginalized so I can really feel what women have felt for so long! I think this is the seat of my discomfort with Women's Marches and I think Gretchen just might be right!

(Miss)Using Words

Words are interesting things. I got to thinking about them this morning. When used well they can explain, clarify, motivate, encourage, cheer; among other descriptors. When used poorly, they can confuse, confound, depress, anger; among other descriptors.

The following is a fiction story which might serve to show how without thinking, we can have various effects on people with whom we use words.

The scene takes place while lying in bed in the guesthouse room, newly awake in preparation for my trip back to the U.S. after having been in Mexico for a month.

Two day's earlier, my host reminded me that I needed to be out of my room by 12:00 so Aurelia could get in to clean it for the new arrivals. I told her I would make sure to be out by then.

Yesterday, this was mentioned again and I acknowledged.

As I was lying in bed I imagined my host coming by at 11:00, knocking on the door and reminding me, "Don't forget you need to be out by 12:00."

If I had replied, "I know!" that would imply that I was not necessarily happy with being reminded. The moment would be about me. (negative)

If I had replied, "I know! You told me yesterday." that would imply that I felt she was nagging, that I was a little miffed at being reminded. Again about me. (negative)

If I had replied, "I know, you don't have to treat me like a dummy. I have a good memory."That could serve to make my host feel badly about our relationship. (negative) You get the idea.

If I had replied, "OK." that would have been at least a neutral comment that acknowledged her reminder. (positive)

If I had replied, "OK. I'll make sure I'm out by 12:00." that would have been even more affirmative and would serve to assure my host that I would, in fact, be out by 12:00. (positive)

If I had replied, "OK. Thanks for the reminder." that would have been even more affirmative and also thankful and could serve to make my host feel good about our relationship. (positive)

Or I could just have replied, "Fuck you, you fuckin' nag. I'll be out when I am out and you should be glad that eventually I will be out!" Wonder how that would have gone over?

Friday, February 23, 2018

Another Bardo

Came across this recently. Another look at Bardo, the in-between place. It has helped me greatly to understand what I have been going through in the grieving process since Gregory's death on October 4, 2015. It is a long article!

The Four Essential Points of Letting Go in the Bardo

About Pema Khandro Rinpoche Pema Khandro Rinpoche is recognized as a tulku in the Nyingma and Kagyu lineages. She is 
the founder of Ngakpa International and the MahaSiddha Center in Berkeley, California.

It’s when we lose the illusion of control—when we’re most vulnerable and exposed —that we can discover the creative potential of our lives. Pema Khandro Rinpoche explains four essential points for understanding what it means to let go, and what is born when we do.

We are always experiencing successive births and deaths. We feel the death of loved ones most acutely—there is something radical about the change in our reality. We are not given options, there is no room for negotiation, and the situation cannot be rationalized away or covered up by pretense. 

There is a total rupture in our who-I-am-ness, and we are forced to undergo a great and difficult transformation.

In bereavement, we come to appreciate at the deepest, most felt level exactly what it means to die while we are still alive. The Tibetan term bardo, or “intermediate state,” is not just a reference to the afterlife. It also refers more generally to these moments when gaps appear, interrupting the continuity that we otherwise project onto our lives. 

In American culture, we sometimes refer to this as having the rug pulled out from under us, or feeling ungrounded. These interruptions in our normal sense of certainty are what is being referred to by the term bardo. But to be precise, bardo refers to that state in which we have lost our old reality and it is no longer available to us.

Until now, we have been holding on to the idea of an inherent continuity in our lives, creating a false sense of comfort for ourselves on artificial ground. By doing so, we have been missing the very flavor of what we are.

Anyone who has experienced this kind of loss knows what it means to be disrupted, to be entombed between death and rebirth. We often label that a state of shock. In those moments, we lose our grip on the old reality and yet have no sense what a new one might be like. There is no ground, no certainty, and no reference point—there is, in a sense, no rest. 

This has always been the entry point in our lives for religion, because in that radical state of unreality we need profound reasoning—not just logic, but something beyond logic, something that speaks to us in a timeless, nonconceptual way. Milarepa referred to this disruption as a great marvel, singing from his cave, “The precious pot containing my riches becomes my teacher in the very moment it breaks.”

This is the Vajrayana idea behind successive deaths and rebirths, and it is the first essential point to understand: rupture. The more we learn to recognize this sense of disruption, the more willing and able we will be to let go of this notion of an inherent reality and allow that precious pot to slip out of our hands. 

Rupture is taking place all the time, day to day and moment to moment; in fact, as soon as we see our life in terms of these successive deaths and rebirths, we dissolve the very idea of a solid self grasping onto an inherently real life. We start to see how conditional who-I-am-ness really is, how even that does not provide reliable ground upon which to stand.

At times like this, if we can gain freedom from the eternal grasping onto who I am and how things are—our default mode—then we can get to the business of being. Until now, we have been holding on to the idea of an inherent continuity in our lives, creating a false sense of comfort for ourselves on artificial ground. By doing so, we have been missing the very flavor of what we are.

The Contrived Self

The cause of all suffering can be boiled down to grasping onto a fictional, contrived existence. But what does that mean? If we really come to understand, then there is no longer even a container to hold together our normal concepts, to make them coherent. The precious pot shatters, and all our valuables roll away like marbles on a table. Reality as we thought we knew it is disrupted; the game of contriving an ideal self is suddenly irrelevant.

This is shunyata, which gets translated in various ways, most commonly as “emptiness,” but there is no real correlate in our language, no single word or idea that can cover this ground of disrupted reality. Because “emptiness” in English has negative connotations, shunyata is sometimes translated as “voidness,” “open spaciousness,” and even “boundlessness."

Nyingmas such as Longchenpa explained emptiness in positive terms inextricably associated with presence, clarity, and compassion. But in the context of death and birth, shunyata refers to a direct experience of disruption felt at the core of our being, when there is no longer any use manufacturing artificial security.

The bardo teachings are really about recognizing the value of giving up the game, which we play without even giving it a second thought.

We’re not talking about giving up our precious human life here, of course; we’re talking about giving up on this subtle game. We hold pictures of our ideal self in an ideal world. We imagine that if we could only manipulate our circumstances or other people enough, then that ideal self could be achieved, and in the meantime, we try to pretend to have it together. It’s the game we play all the time: we keep postponing our acceptance of this moment in order to pursue reality as we think it should be.

When we suffer disruption, we find we just can’t play that game anymore. The bardo teachings are really about recognizing the value of giving up the game, which we play without even giving it a second thought. But when we are severely ill or in hospice, and we have to cede control over our own bodily functions to strangers, holding it all together is not an option.

There are times like these in our lives—such as facing death or even giving birth—when we are no longer able to manage our outer image, no longer able to suspend ourselves in pursuit of the ideal self. It’s just how it is—we’re only human beings, and in these times of crisis we just don’t have the energy to hold it all together. When things fall apart, we can only be as we are. Pretense and striving fall away, and life becomes starkly simple.

The value of such moments is this: we are shown that the game can be given up and that when it is, the emptiness that we feared, emptiness of the void, is not what is there. What is there is the bare fact of being. Simple presence remains—breathing in and out, waking up and going to sleep. The inevitability of the circumstances at hand is compelling enough that for the moment, our complexity ceases.

Our compulsive manufacturing of contrived existence stops. Perhaps in that ungrounded space, we are not even comforting ourselves, not even telling ourselves everything is okay; we may be too tired to do even that. It’s just total capitulation— we’re forced into non-grasping of inherent reality. The contrived self has been emptied out along with contrived existence and the tiring treadmill of image maintenance that goes along with it. What remains is a new moment spontaneously meeting us again and again.

There is an incredible reality that opens up to us in those gaps if we just do not reject rupture. In fact, if we have some reliable idea of what is happening in that intermediate, groundless space, rupture can become rapture.

Emerging Presence

It is said that the great fourteenth-century terton in the Nyingma lineage, Karma Lingpa, soon after losing his wife and their child within just a few days of each other, extracted a treasure of teachings from the side of a mountain. Because of all the spiritual practice he had done, the disruption he experienced sparked a volcanic eruption of wisdom from which flowed The Self- Emergence of the Peaceful and Wrathful Deities from Enlightened Awareness, known here in the West as The Tibetan Book of the Dead.

If I lose all my possessions, my job, all my money, then what remains of me?

That act of revelation is in itself a key teaching, the idea that death and loss are great teachers if we can just open to the experience of profound disruption. Just like Karma Lingpa, encountering death can open us up to a basic level of being—raw, unmanaged, unmanipulated. That natural condition, that unconditioned state, is what shunyata points to.

What’s underneath all of our experience? If there is no inherent existence to hold on to, then what is ultimate reality? Even the most shallow person yearns to know this point; it’s what we’re always looking for. It’s why we fight with people we love about petty little things— because this unanswered question drives us. 

If we lose that fight, what’s there? What becomes of us? If we lose this relationship, what’s left? Who are we? If I lose all my possessions, my job, all my money, then what remains of me? If we don’t know the answer, then the question becomes a primordial anxiety that forms the background of all we say and do and think.

And so the third principle we can learn about death, birth, and reincarnation is this: the extent to which we know what’s underlying everything—the good, the bad, the beautiful, the ugly, that which we can control, that which we can’t—is the extent to which we can relax. To the extent that we know our presence of awareness as reality, it becomes bearable. 

As we gain intimacy with that ground, we can even have sanity when life is hard, even when knowing that an experience is going to be painful. Think how willing we are to bear that pain for someone we really love. It’s how life begins, after all, with our mother, through love, enduring the pain of childbirth.

Why should we be any less willing to bear the pain of death or loss or change? If we’re in touch with the ground of being, perhaps there may be ease and comfort even in dying. That ground allows us to walk the earth with a clarity that accommodates whatever arises. So when we have to lose, we can lose. And when we have to let go, at times of great loss or when we depart from this body, then something else becomes possible. This is what emerges in the bardo—presence as the ground of being.

What makes death and impermanence so painful is our idea of the strict dichotomy between existence and nonexistence. Knowing something beyond that dualism is paramount. At the moment of death, instead of being caught between the ideas of existence and nonexistence, instead of this crisis of having everything that matters to us taken away all at once, something else can open up entirely; we shift our attention to the nucleus of being, to presence itself, experiencing itself.

But when we are not in crisis, recognizing presence as our nucleus and grounding ourselves in the sense of experience itself is a difficult endeavor. The fact is that we are disassociated from our true nature. We experience it all the time—in little tastes, in the gaps between realms, between all of our many identities and roles, and even between thoughts—but since we don’t even recognize it, we don’t know how to be with it, to rest in it. 

We contract with our wounded sense of self and with frantic efforts to create something more ideal, more secure, more definite. In this way, we experience ourselves over and over as both confusion and wisdom—a treacherous and fantastic situation. We taste the ground here and there but can’t ingest it, which creates a dramatic friction, one that gives rise to all the mental poisons as a means of coping with this chronic cognitive dissonance between open ground and contracted being.

Confusion is the raw material of wisdom.

Without some way of managing this experience, this unsettling discontinuity punctuated by occasional disruptions to the very idea of our being, we never know if we are going to show up in the next moment as a buddha or as a demon. We’re like gods one moment, tasting the fruit of the kingdom, and hungry ghosts the next, not even able to swallow it. How confusing—and how fantastic! This confusion is the raw material of wisdom. Our path is to find presence in each of these experiences. In the case of the bardo, when presence is the only real thing left, if we are searching for security instead, wisdom can be elusive. 

It’s no wonder that religion becomes so poignant during times of crisis; suddenly, presence is all we are. Everything else recedes except what is right in front of us. Recognizing this opens up the potential to experience life with awareness of impermanence and the presence it illuminates. So the first essential point is rupture. 

The second is emptying out the contrived self. And the third is the recognition that our experience is based on dynamic, responsive presence. Our goal as vajra yogins and yoginis is to know that ground, become familiar with it, and learn to relax into the inherent peacefulness of not knowing what comes next. When we do—and to the extent that we do—everything changes. We are no longer slaves to primordial anxiety.

Experiencing a loss can be freeing. When we are free of all our psychological heaviness, the accumulated weight of our usual momentum, we have an opportunity to know the raw presence that remains. To be a Buddhist is to dedicate our lives to abiding in that impermanent, empty, visceral presence. 

We can bear with greater ease those losses that we know we will inevitably face, because we identify with the thread of wakefulness that we meet in all of them. And then perhaps, when death draws near, we can relax with ease into the ground of being as we shed this skin, finally let go of this body, and experience liberation— undefended being in groundless space.

The Play of Experience

Longchenpa described the fourth essential point as “majestic utter sameness—the pure fact of being, where mind and what appears are primordially pure.”

The fourth essential point, put simply, is that the world we produce from loss can be created with a light heart as a state of play. Thinley Norbu Rinpoche wrote, “Fish play in the water. Birds play in the sky. Ordinary beings play on earth. Sublime beings play in display.” 

In the raw, broken-open state, this place where we let go of all games, there is actually a great sense of relief available to us, a knowledge that we don’t have to do that anymore, to be that. When someone dies, don’t we suddenly see how unreal so many things are and how visceral the present space is? There can be a feeling of getting to the heart of things, a juxtaposition of real and unreal. That’s the beauty of not grasping onto an inherent reality. 

If we can find ways to disrupt our own habit of clinging to our continuity story, to just strip it all down—without having to wait to lose a loved one, or get that terminal diagnosis from our doctor, or lie on that gurney —then what we find there in any bare moment is creative, instantaneous playfulness. It is this raw energy that spoke directly to Longchenpa: “All that is has me—universal creativity, pure and total presence—as its root. How things appear is my being. How things arise is my manifestation.”

Impermanence is not just an illuminator of loss. It is an illuminator of newness, the ever-unfolding present moment and its creativity.

Emerging from the bardo, we reenter the flow of life with a new sense of groundlessness: it is clear that “later” is not always a luxury that will be available to us; we are also disconnected from the past. That makes nowness starkly available. The perspective gained in the bardo cuts through petty concerns.

It cuts through delusions so that whatever we contact, we do so with a raw presence, without the denial of impermanence. As long as we remain in this illumined state and still remember that grasping is futile, a new kind of openness becomes available to us. We have lost our delusions; to love and live now is to do so with nothing to lose because, for the time being, what really mattered has already been lost.

The Vajrayana idea of death, birth, and reincarnation is not just a matter of preparing for physical death, or dealing with the loss of our loved ones with rituals and prayers, or having the right attitude in mourning and grief. It is the messenger of our own uncontrived being, delivering us into the basic space of pure being. It shows us what comes after rupture. What may be the most poignant thing about the loss of a loved one is that after they have passed away, life simply keeps going. It just keeps going.

Death is connected to rebirth. The rupture of bardo inevitably leads to whatever is next. If we appreciate these successive deaths and rebirths in our lives, then we can value the bardo for what it is—the pause that makes movement apparent, the silence that makes all sounds more vivid, the end that clarifies what exactly we will now be beginning. Impermanence is not just an illuminator of loss. It is an illuminator of newness, the ever-unfolding present moment and its creativity.

Traditionally, we have three different possibilities for what happens after death. There is the default mode of rebirth with all these accumulated, bulky layers of previous karmic propensities. There is also the kind of reincarnation that great compassionate beings, such as the Dalai Lama and the Karmapa, consciously choose for the highest benefit of sentient beings in this world. 

But then there is something else: this more impersonal, ceaseless creativity that keeps multiplying itself in playful modes of being, like the image from the Avatamsaka Sutra of a radiant buddha oozing buddhas from every pore of his or her being, and from every pore of every one of those buddhas, more buddhas giving way to whole other universes of being. This is true compassion, a total responsiveness to what is here.

That’s the kind of life after death that Vajrayana practitioners rehearse in deity yoga. It is a practice of dying to the contrived self in order to arise in the creative space of momentary presence. It is bursting forward into life, emerging with this pure primordial creativity at play in the shifting fields of empty identities. It’s a kind of regeneration, a total recycling, a complete merging and reemerging.
It is a shifting ground, because compassionate responsiveness is not static; we never step into the same river twice. 

But this doesn’t mean that there is nothing there. It isn’t that there is something there, either—but it’s not nothing. Longchenpa calls it the “self-originating clear light” and says that in this light, “what appears is neither concretized nor latched onto, because what appears never becomes what it seems to be and is intrinsically free.” You see? It is not just another construct. It’s the ground that does not need to be contrived or maintained. It’s experience itself.

Bordo 3

Spoiler alert: Heavily constructed sentence😅

Play this while reading:

Sometimes I find when I think about Gregory spontaneously, without having put much effort into the remembering, that I experience our entire bardo, in between space, from the first day I saw him walk into the meeting of the Monday Night Gathering Group in Chicago on January 10, 1976 and was attracted to his beautiful, composed, well groomed, articulate, intelligent person; to the day I said goodbye to his still beautiful no longer needing the other attributes, empty body lying dead in his room at the Lieberman Center in Skokie on October 4, 2015 at 12:00 noon after our twelve year journey together with Dementia/ Alzheimers.


Here are a few quotes from a wonderful book I read a while ago but recently unearthed. They deal with the "Bardo" or in-between place, so often discussed in Buddhist teachings.

Bardo One:

The Tibetan Book of the Dead tells us that bardo means the in between place. Bar means in between, and do means island or mark; most often it is thought of as the place between death and rebirth. However it isn’t only the island between death and life but also all the little in between places, the bardos, of living; for in life, death happens all the time. One thing ends, another begins. It is the point in between that is the bardo. 

There are six major bardo states in Tibetan Buddhism: the Bardo of Birth, the Bardo of Dreams, the Bardo of Samadhi Meditation, the Bardo of the Moment Before Death, and Bardo of Dharmata, and the Bardo of Becoming.

At the end of one’s life a person experiences three bardo states: the Bardo of the Moment Before Death, the Bardo of Dharmata, and the Bardo of Becoming.

Tibetan Buddhists say there is a kind of uncertainty regarding one’s sanity or insanity—confusion or enlightenment—in the bardo state. There exist within the bardo, if one is prepared to enter it consciously, the potential for all sorts of visionary discoveries that occur on the way to sanity or insanity. There is definitely a quality of uncertainty, even paranoia in a bardo. It takes courage as well as one-pointed purpose of mind and heart to exist consciously in the bardo state. It takes all the strength one has.

Bardo 2:

... I couldn’t think of how to help you in any other way. In fact, the only way I knew how to “be there for you” was to not be there, to go away and let you thrash around in this alone...

I’ll walk through this with you or wait on the edge of it. But I want you always to know — even if you aren't feeling it— that I’ll be standing there with you when it’s over. 

I can’t always be with you in the shadow of your fears and angers, but I’m always right on the other side, waiting for you to emerge.”

Bardo 3:

O son of noble family, now what is called the Great Luminosity has arrived. You are not alone in leaving this world. It happens to everyone, so do not feel desire and yearning for this life. Even if you feel desire and yearning, you cannot stay. You can only wander in Samsara. Do not desire, do not yearn. O son of noble family, whatever terrifying projections appear in the Bardo of Dharmata, do not forget these words but go forward remembering their meaning; the essential point is to remember them and recognize everything as projections of your own mind. 

Enter now the Bardo of Dharmata and say this prayer as you tread this dangerous path: Now when the Bardo of Dharmata dawns upon me, I will abandon all thoughts of fear and terror, I will recognize whatever appears as my projection and know it to be a vision of the bardo; now that I have reached this crucial Point I will not fear the peaceful and wrathful ones, my own projections.
Bardo 4:

Is death bad? (Is there such a thing as good and bad?) ... It’s just what all human beings spend most of their life trying to overcome, avoid, or do away with. Don’t you see? We decided death is bad. Death is bad here on Earth, where all we can see and know is life. Ego likes life, hates death ... Its the value we give it on Earth, not it’s real value. It’s all the same Energy, channeled through different conduits. 

The way the Energy expresses itself is affected by the conduit’s complex parts. When the conduit is a human being, it’s the person’s personality or his shape, his consciousness or ...  lack of consciousness. 

But the Energy itself isn’t (good or) bad. The Energy itself—even in its most humanly undesirable form—is still the same energy. And later, after time goes by, humans often find the meaning of the ’good’ stuff that was an indirect result of what they at one time judged to be ’bad stuff.’ 

Bardo 5:

“I don’t like the way this sounds.”

“You might be surprised. Who would ever say anything good came out of AIDS? But here you are discovering things about yourself and It that you might never have discovered had you not become sick. That’s not to say you would choose to be sick, but since your are sick you‘ve chosen—that is, directed your individual form of the Energy—towards developing yourself in the most conscious way possible. No one would ever have wished you to be sick, but that doesn’t mean that something positive hasn’t developed as a result of it.”
Bardo 6:

EG sits up in bed. The room is dark. No light comes from the window. No one is there. He tries looking about the room, but it is useless. There simply is no light in the room. There has never been such darkness, such blackness, such a vacuum of lightlessness.

... This must be it, he thinks. This must be the moment. Of course, he thinks, the panic giving way to ironic humor. I would go now, when the room is dark and everyone is gone. Of course, he thinks, the very thing I have always dreaded most comes to pass: being alone at this moment. I must remember this all is a projection of my own mind. There is nothing wrong with being alone. This is fine. This is perfectly all right. It simply doesn't matter. I have to do this alone, anyway, no matter how many people are in the room.

...I will not be afraid. There is nothing to fear. Everyone is here somewhere . I don’t see them, but I believe that they are here somewhere.

Then EG (main character in the book)  hears a quiet laughter coming from he side of the bed. ... You are here after all!

It was just a little flash. Like a time blip into the future. You might think of it as a preview.

What does it mean?

Nothing. It means nothing. That happens sometimes when your getting close. You handled that very well, by the way. We’re all quite impressed.

Who is?

All of us. Just lie back and rest. It’s almost over. We’ll be right here.

So I’m not alone?

Oh, my child you’ve never been alone. If you only knew the crowds you move among day in and day out. You’ll see. You’ll see. ... You’re only alone when you think you are. It’s all illusion, my boy. It always has been.

I don’t understand.

Now don’t lose confidence here at the end. Will yourself to it. You’re doing fine. Rest, child. Rest. The most difficult part is ahead.

But you’ll be here, right? 

We‘ll be here, It’s up to you to remember that. Everything now is up to you.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

An Unexpected Gift of Kindness

Every Tuesday, San Pancho (Mexico) has its Market Day which includes local art, jewelry, food, bread, clothing, herbals, teas, local medicines, and this week a MAYA performance piece to top it off.

In addition to locals, Ex-Pats, Snow Birds, and Monthly there are many young people, whom I call Hippies, who are here from Europe, South America, and other parts of Mexico. They add a confident, young, good looking, interestingly dressed, carefree attitude to the general population and some very interesting jewelry at the Market!

Besides the beautiful, creative jewelry they make, the jewelers include on their cloth covered tables; precious and semi-precious gems, fossils, beautiful rocks and more. These are the rough materials they use to make their jewelry but they also sell them as is. These rough pieces are the ones that are of most interest to me and which I usually purchase, especially since I do not wear 

At one vendor's table, in the center, was a beautifully brocaded yellow silk diamond shaped piece of material. In the center of the diamond was a black, highly polished petrified Nautilus shell, balanced on it was a finely carved piece of Amber in the shape of an Aztec God Head. At each corner of the triangle was an interesting natural rock, and around the outside were twelve gems representing the Zodiac.

I asked about the price of the Amber piece and the vendor, hippie, young man explained that it was not for sale but rather part of a personal alter (oferenda.) 

One of the west facing rocks caught my attention and I asked if I could pick it up to look more closely. He said, "Of Course." The rock turned out to be a piece of meteorite that had fallen to earth in the shape of a nickel sized round piece approximately ¾ inch high. It had markings on the top, bottom, and sides which could have been mistaken for carvings, but they are not but rather part of the raw meteorite. The piece had a slight polish if only from being handled.

Besides the creative gorgeous alter, the young man was beautiful as well, with Rastafarian hair piled high on his head, a well groomed bearded face, a loose tie dyed T shirt and orangish shorts. The shirt was a bit short so his belly and treasure tail were clearly visible. His eyes were bright, sharp, and honest. 

We talked a bit more and I left his booth to pursue further adventures and treasures. The meteorite piece stayed in my mind for a week until the next Tuesday Market. I again stopped by his booth (sorry too say I did not ask his name) and noticed that the meteorite was in a different place. We smiled at each other, he picked up the piece and gave it to me saying, "I can tell that this piece is very important to you and I would like to give it to you as a gift. It will give me joy in sharing the spirituality of the piece with you."

I was struck dumb and so moved at his kindness that a tear or two leaked out of right eye. I gave him a big hug and he hugged me back. (He as about as tall as Gregory so it was a very comforting hug, as you can imagine.) I thanked him profusely and enjoyed his smile, hugging him one more with his strong reciprocation before departing.

The feeling of his unexpected, generous, spiritual gift to me has stuck with me and continues to do so.

Monday, February 5, 2018

New San Pancho Park

Very walkable from the guest house is a park. There used to be nothing special about park until recently. Coke put in a major playground with creative equipment which will have a grand opening celebration on 2/25, the day after I leave. The water fountain is in place (think I'll avoid that.) A concrete skateboard ramp is three quarters finished. And murals are being painted on the long wall in the park These photos show some of the art work and in fact an artist painting a new one.

More Mexican Color

Mexico. San Pancho. Italian dinner

A Day at the Beach

A Day at the Beach

With waves that stood still
without you.

With sunshine that dimmed
without you.

Childrens’ calling silent.
Musicians’ Mariachi unheard.

Oh to sit with you to witness
Without needing to use words.

Without even needing to hold hands.
Just to be there with you.

To be able to see, hear, and witness

PLEASE leave a comment or some acknowledgment that you have been here. It can be totally anonymous. You do not have to leave your name. You could use your first name only, your initials, or nothing.

Under each new post you will find the word COMMENT. Click on it and a window will open where you can leave your comments.

It asks you to SIGN IN, but you can also click on ANONYMOUS.