29 April, 2009

A Heart Appears Before Departure

Faced with an unbelievable amount of things to be done before a trip, I relax after making dinner for a friend. Looking around at piles of things that beg for me to place them in the appropriate places and get them the hell of the way to clean my house. “Because, you knows hows I hate coming home to a dirty house!” Secretly, I placed the piles in such a way to avoid cleaning too fast. Just so I can do it in a rush and forget something only to remember it over the pacific while slugging a glass of champagne. And you would not know it looking at me. I did get my nephews gifts today to pack in my luggage, because we skipped the dad phase in its entirety and I graduated to Grandpa. And you can’t disappoint kids.
I was pleasantly surprised when a friend stopped by with this beautiful ex-voto heart as a gift for me. It most likely was worn on the chest of a clothed saint. We tried to guess which one with the “A” monogram, perhaps El Alma De Maria. No matter who it was, it was a gift from the heart. Suggesting to me once again that Buddhas are everywhere, and I could learn more about giving. I actually feel more humbled. My friend is someone I have learned much from in our years of friendship, and I must never to take his wisdom lightly. Thank You.

25 April, 2009

If You Don't Believe...

With the lyricsIf you don’t believe all the nights while you are gone, I sighed for ya” going through my head when I went to sleep and jumped into one of my crazy dreams. With a set of pointy ears, I was involved in a strange game in a multi-level house. I got the ears as a gift that I made it past the man upset because I pulled a WWII vintage nickel of his collection of stuff I was sorting for him and put in different box. I was helping to sort through all his stuff to get rid of some and sell some. He thought I should have thrown in with the rest of his junk. I do have the eye, so I only made him more money. He gave the set of pointy Spock ears had gathering dust, so much in fact that were like flocked. I took them away and proceeded to play a game in a huge compted house. By that I mean it was faked, the floors were painted paper stick down and the walls foam core board just like I used create packages before they were signed off on and produced. In this fake house was a boy with me tickled by jumping up and down on the floor where the paper did not stick down well. We were play chasing each other like hide and seek, a favorite children’s game of mine. I had him laughing at my ears, too. I was buzzed from coffee I had, that was dispensed in lip-gloss containers with a flavor like Blueberry Chiapas coffee. That you would make by swirling the applicator saturated when you dipped it into the holder and placing in hot water. This dream goes on and on and may be a sign of intelligent life just waiting for a good idea to emerge. Thanks, Deniece Williams for the inspiration.

22 April, 2009

Suffering of Others

While at a volunteer luncheon with many people who put far more hours than I do, I was listening to the hospital CEO awarding them. One fellow was his friend and a volunteer for 20 years. I don’t see him in the course of my volunteering, but began to wonder how these two came to be friends. The CEO/Dr is miles away from the volunteer in pay and stature. I also was wondering why his name was the same as the hospital name where my mom had to hire a private nurse to just to make sure I wasn’t inexplicably expired. That brought back a new set of memories. Never the less, when upon completion of the luncheon I ran into the volunteer pro in the washroom. Observing that he had some deficits, my heart suddenly went out to him. I said, Hi and asked him if the CEO was related to the other hospital. He told me they have no connection. In talking it became quickly obvious he is suffering from something, but I don’t sound all that great either. A simple bond. He told me he has early alzheimer's, while walking out. I thanked him for his service in a real show of heart felt appreciation. Spontaneously, I felt compelled to give him a hug, knowing every day must be difficult and trying. And, I felt lucky again, my concerns waned.

Difficulty is mostly a mental experience. If you enjoy what you are doing, even with serious physical ailments subside with the degree of happiness. It falls true with my speech, if I am rested and enjoy the dialogue my speech or helping others it is so much clearer. I look physically well and fit, but once I speak people often assume I am drunk or deaf. So, I have to get past their preconceptions just to order a coffee. It can be frustrating and often friends who are with me cannot believe that I say the right word, but some people can’t figure me out and my friends will blurt out, He said, so and so. This has been a great way to learn patience and acceptance of others, for me. I often laugh at myself, or practice several times before speaking out loud. But basically, we(me included) all say too much as a general rule, so we can’t expect to be great listeners. If you really listen you’ll realize the suffering of others… even in its minor forms of simple discomfort.

16 April, 2009

Train Market Dedication

My partner and I were chatting, recalling our first meeting, “Do you think that I will be a nice person when we first met? Of course, I said, “Yes!” Our email contact, 8 years ago, while we were both at work for the three months prior to me visiting, I had pretty much come to that decision with great confidence.

I knew that at what he had written to me was truth. I knew about his job, family and life. We had met while I was with friends there, and we planned a trip to the north to see his family. My friends said, “Go, it will be a great experience.”

It was, and was just the beginning. I remember drinking rice wine with his grandfather and later the two us talking about the stars. What I saw and observed was someone who lived his life with honesty and truth. No gaming playing, lying or even being coy.

How refreshing. We had no intention on either one of our parts to be anything more than friends, but a month later we had gradually fallen in love. We both had previous long-term experience, so we knew what we desired in the other. He had met my friends both Thai and American and they too, liked him.

The rest is history, and not without a few difficult times that we crossed with flying colors. In fact, those same difficult times reinforced our love and our heart felt intention. We have rings and much more than that, a commitment that shines brightly when things are tough for either one of us. Last year, we traveled again to where our honeymoon was in 2002, just to reaffirm it. I am a better person from what I have learned from him and it still continues to be fun and growing.

He has picked up enjoying reading from me, and spun it off when he found he liked history besides fiction. We have traveled to a few countries, and want to see many others.

He took these photos of the Train Market for me to put on my blog, hopefully my love of photography has inspired him. This blog is dedicated to him.

13 April, 2009

12 April, 2009

Why Did I?...an update.

Update on a blog post from late December. I was outside doing some clean up on some trees around my house. The female officer who responded to my call back then, to go back and look at the man I helped home, stopped by and said hello. She told me that they did go back to his apartment and admitted him to the hospital. She could not tell me any other details, because of privacy concerns. But she was able to communicate his well being and my contribution to it. I replied, I am glad and thank you. I knew that night when she came to my house that beneath the hard protective layer there was a heart of gold. Her male partner thought I was crazy, but she intervened and took off to his house after talking to me. There are so many good people in life that we only get a glimpse if we are lucky. That is why it important to not pre-judge others.

08 April, 2009

In Reflection: Tossing Out Mental Unease

I’m on my 7th month of meditating a minimum of 30 minutes per day, and yesterday did 45 minutes at the gym before yoga. I have been meditating for years, but not as regularly as this in my life. I have moved way past being annoyed by people talking, banging weights, jump roping, etc near me. At first I would hone in on the disturbance, but months into this practice I realized that whatever happened, even mundane gossip near me was not worth my mind going there…it was all empty. I can easily get relaxed after quickly “downloading” any currents fears and worries. And after six months have been able to on many occasions getting to a place where my mind seems like a blank, black canvas seeing the space between thoughts or no thought. It has actually helped me in yoga, to synchronize my breathing in yoga, holding poses with a more relaxed breath. It also can laugh at myself more, and while sitting in front near a mirror laughed at this old guy(me) doing these poses. My mediation practice brought me closer to the others in the room, and allowed me to more connections and friends. I’m more consciously aware of others suffering, even being minor frustrations. In listening to their breathing, or sharing some common bonds with them.

After class, a fellow classmate and I bumped into each other in the locker-room, I joking made it more pronounced, and he turned around and gave me a hug. It was not at all sexual in nature, but much more just a friendly way of saying, You’re OK, and I don’t feel threatened by you. We have talked over the last three years, so we friendly in the gym and share a few friends in class. I do hope that as time goes on, and my practice gets deeper that I connect more with people in such a way. I have had more people come to me, or warm up to me since I have been meditating. A sign that I have reduced my self-concern, and worked out some of my mental unease kinks that would normally have shown up in body language. I become more and more aware of what was once a path to help myself is now allowing me to more beneficial to those around me. By quietly thinking about how I think and react to life, analyzing my mistakes and successes. Lately, what has become more profound is really how can anyone think that no one else suffers? From life’s little inconveniences to the grand question mark of our upcoming death…regardless of how much money they have.

03 April, 2009

God-Headed Peoples

Like an old faded, square 70’s photograph with the date stamped at the bottom, a difficult childhood memory popped up. It feels just as foggy as that discolored photo because I was so good at filing it away. While watching Jonestown on PBS again last night brought this back. Growing up gay in my time was not really fun, so I began to hone my survivor skills. I did other things, and just ignored it as best as possible. After my horse phase in Junior high, I got a motorcycle at 14, because it was legal to ride under a certain CC size.
That bike gave me even more freedom to get away, than a horse did. I rode around with neighbor friend, but often alone to stare at the clouds and think about how lonely I was, since I could tell anyone what was really bothering me. Even though my friend was experimenting with sex and his friends, I astutely realized that he was not gay, and knowing no love could come out of it. ..only more pain and potential exposure. So I never told him. I did meet a kid who was nice to me, and exposed me to his Christian youth group friends. I met them but avoided any bible study because I knew it only condemned me. I would agree, or just change the subject. I just wasn’t going to drink the kool-aid. One night I drove to his house for a party with his friends. There was a point later in the night, when my friend and I went to his room. He said one girl liked me and what did I think? I think I confessed to him that I like guys, and the night spiraled into hell. He made a scene like I was no friend of his and I left driving home with a red face. This was my first real coming out. I never saw him or his friends again. Now, I can say confidently it was their loss.

02 April, 2009

Father's Ghost Appears

I was at a friend's house for an impromptu dinner when I surprised them with a bottle of wine. While catching up over a glass of wine, I saw this a hint of my father appearing(like his light series prints). It seems fitting because these friends are similar to friends he had. 
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