2010 - In a Rather Bulging Nutshell
More Musings, 2010
The year begins
Hammock sleep is different from other sleeps, it feels like a regression to the cradle... or perhaps it is just that the post New year Eve margarita nap is deeper? Oh yes and to heck with the "hair of the dog that bite you" theory... I'd like to shoot the beast instead!
I believe it is impossible to over-rate happiness; are atrocities or unkindnesses ever perpetrated by someone filled with joy? We can endlessly dissect the word itself, but personally when I'm really happy the desire to control any thing or any one simply isn't there.
A cult by any other name is still a cult.
Some people go to priests; others to poetry; I to my friends - Virginia Woolf (amen)
Is a large piece of super dark divine bitter chocolate in the morning so different from a cup of coffee? I never drink coffee, but go weak in the knees over the strongest chocolate known to man. One of the gifts of being human... getting to pick our poisons.
Workshop over, a huge success in every way. I am in my typical post workshop state of a completely wrung out, dithering, wet noodle. Going to my Amed beach sanctuary to reverse this condition... with Ms Reinhart in tow. In about 48 hrs (and counting) I will be in the exact same spot/pose/hammock as before... glazed smile and all.
Eat, swim, sleep... just what the astrologer ordered. 6:30 am this morning, bobbing around in the ocean watching countless fishing boats in full sail on the horizon, a school of tiny fish started jumping and flying in front of my eyes. I love it when the dream doesn't come from dreaming.
Last (for a while) twilight bath in huge sunken tub, outside and under the coconut and banana trees. A refreshing light rain most generously added diamonds to the picture being tucked away in my memory chip. Farewell Bali, onto California and whatever equivalent goddess-honouring rituals can be conjured up there (just gotta keep her happy).
About to spend the Mercury station eclipse a mile high over the Pacific... and as an astrologer, yes I like it. I'm choosing to take it as a fabulous omen. I gave up electing my own travel dates, I move too much and it got crazy making. And guess what, I'm learning far more watching what the "powers that be" come up than I would if I attempted to tightly grip the astral reins.
Asia can be so like the word itself; both simple and complex, exotic, fascinating, welcoming and a joy to sink into. I experience it as a rare jewel I was gifted at this surprisingly rich stage in my life.
Back in CA (feels nice).
Mercury misbehaved 2X, but brought surprising heroes. Suitcase lock jammed, US customs broke into it for me, and were funny and charming! Volvo had flat and kindly AAA man to the rescue. Hit Trader Joes and got enough food for my village in Bali, it is deadlier shopping jet lagged than hungry. Now deep in my nest for 36 hours to reset all internal clocks (and eat!).
Hiking up some muddy hills I noticed the wild artichokes thriving; last year they were very wimpy and the year before ginormous. Every(one)thing naturally has prosperous/fallow years, I'm guessing the difference is they don't spend any time wringing their little roots in despair.
While hiking I just watched the perfectly round full Moon rise over the mountains as quickly as a giant, luminescent helium pearl. How bewitching & comforting she is as she gracefully wraps & polishes every part of our entire little planet every 18+ yrs. No matter what she is always there, our constant Mother & Muse.
It's 41 degrees here in SoCal and as I zip up my fleece and prepare to face the "chill" I realise how ridiculously soft I've become for someone who grew up in the bitter cold of the north of Scotland... in this instance I'm a softie with no regrets, I paid my dues in shivering years (pre-central heating I might add)!
Having one of those makes no sense, out of the blue days when happiness just rises to the surface of life, like cream on milk, cancelling everything else out. All the problems and niggles are exactly as they were, but I'm in purring cat mode, lapping this up while it lasts.
Wondering how many children today have the same intense connection to the smell of freshly mown grass? It literally makes me want to drop to my knees and start looking for ladybirds; having my nose to the ground and realising the aliveness of this planet were the closest things to "religious" experiences in my childhood.
Astrology Conference, Boston
Started the day with Algerian cab driver, was shown photos of his much missed home... followed by airport interaction with fundamentalist Christian man taken off guard by my profession. I was so mesmerised by his shiny acrylic toupee that I missed some of the finer points he had to share about God's technology.... all this before 6:00 am... love these people observing travel days. Now in rainy Boston.
Just switched to a lovely 2nd floor room overlooking the Charles River with its own little patio... I have this urge to go and sit out there with a towel and my umbrella... or my Uggs and a swimsuit (it's pouring)... how can I be so spoiled and not make the most of it?
Wow, ice on the river... and the sun is shining. And I am hanging out with one of my favourite tribes, a giant stellium of astrologers! How on earth to see, meet, hear absorb all that is here? Perhaps the most cardinal of all dilemmas... but what a happy one. Love leaves you full not empty.... one tiny pearl on multiple strands of wisdom from the wonderful Tracy Marks. I've loved her books for decades, but this is the 1st time I've heard her speak (she lays low and doesn't seek the limelight), not a disappointment... I'm gifted with more regard than ever.
6:00 am tomorrow morning, bye bye Boston, buenos dias Mexico City.
Mexico City; population 24 million-ish and one (I arrived), eye and lung searing pollution, oceans of painfully poor slums abutting super elegant new airport. Chatted with slight, rather sickly looking blonde guy in customs line. Apparently Tom Shaw of some famous band (whispered to me by a stander-by)... not a clue which one.
My friend has built the most gorgeous home in San Miguel in the year since I last saw her (amazing what an Aries woman with a heavy duty Pluto transit can achieve). Pinch me someone, I'm in yet another glorious location on the planet... this time in the campo with cactus, endless blue sky, the best tortillas and salsa known to man... not to mention the tequila.
If it wasn't for the fact that my heart belongs to Bali... Mexico would be a serious contender. Love the people, love the land, love the food... and its spirit is one I could definitely dance the distance with.
Oh no I'm speaking Sp-indonesian... both my Spanish and Indonesian are rudimentary at best... but now I'm confusing them, and in the process not a soul on the planet can understand me! Still having an amazing time... all is almost unnervingly together and on track for the workshop.
What troupers Jeff (Jawer) and Rick (Levine) are... the Bibloteca "forgot" to tell us there would be a live band in the courtyard outside our room for an hour today... the Boyz didn't miss a beat and had us mesmerised enough to practically drown out the 70's Santana backbeat. As wished (and worked!) for, a heaven and earth seed has been firmly planted here on Mexican soil... and we will be coming back to see what kind of fruit it bears.... Olé Olé.
8 days in Mexico and all my clothes have shrunk!! Margaritas, enchiladas, chile rellenos, guacamole, postres... absolute heaven. To heck with it, I'll eat lettuce and climb more hills back in California. Now off to the largest city in the world (actually it's a toss up between Mexico City and Seoul), and they can only really estimate it within several million + or - either way. Kind of mind-boggling when you realise the world population has multiplied tenfold in just a century. Just now had a marvellous time wandering the streets, it is a holiday so there are street performances, vendors and the bestest people watching... no worries and mini paranoias completely gone:) We also (once more) ate and drank enough to sink a medium sized flotilla. Magnificent Mexico, we the "3 musketeers" had a great day wandering, completing it with ceviche and tequila shots and chile sprinkled limes. Now camping out at the MEX airport Ramada. Tomorrow CA bound, happy times have been had by all, and are now firmly imprinted in the memory banks.
Morphed into Blanche Dubois today... almost missed 2 flights. 1st because no-one told us there were 2 airports in Mexico City, and we showed up at the wrong one! Then K and I were relaxing in Houston airport relieved at having made it... but forgot time change, and made next flight by barely 2 minutes. Thanks to the "kindness of strangers"... a.k.a. super tolerant staff willing to accommodate ditzy dames.
Back in healthy CA
Cleanse, hike, yoga... it was a fabulous time, but now it's time to make amends to my poor body for slowing it way down and stuffing it completely full for 17 days straight.
Perhaps the ties are loosening and roots becoming shallower when I can go to the local grocery store and not run into a soul I know. Once upon a time most of my social life played out in those very same aisles.
And just around the corner... England, home sweet home (of my birth), and "Conversations" between Bernadette Brady, Nick Campion, Liz Greene and Rob Hand. Even if I wasn't the organiser I still wouldn't/couldn't miss it. Plus, it’s settled and decided, I go to India for a month next February on a scouting trip. There has been wide grinning and wild dancing around my room at such a happy decision (and a little banging into walls and furniture as it is a really tiny, tiny room).
To me my world travels are nothing compared to the awe I feel at having made 58+ complete trips around the Sun. All that space and time travel and I still sometimes "forget" that when I am truly sorry, and simply let the person know, things can be healed. I think that before "graduation" I need to take quite a few more spins around that sizzling star.
I know I'm definitely in California when I'm in Trader Joe's and overhear a mother ask her 3 year old whether he wants sushi or a pear walnut salad for lunch. And friends with hot tubs; in my world those are friends with benefits.
I have my first GPS, and it has this odd little mantra it keeps repeating, "recalculating, recalculating". After only one day in the relationship, I (rather perversely) already always think I know best... so I just keep on going in the direction I want. I did see some very pretty remote scenic backroads... but obviously it and I have some work to do.
Is unrequited love between equals actually love, or something else entirely? The older I get the more I feel adult love as an energy circuit that requires receptivity and equally involved participants as much as intention (and way more than yearning) to exist and regenerate~ Disclaimer: simply my perspective (says the woman with Pluto on her Venus).
Adapting to someone disliking us with grace and acceptance is undeniably tough; it leads into the most complex and scary of primal mazes. But if one keeps standing tall, and looking towards the centre, it's a prime opportunity to add strength and flexibility to the love thyself/backbone. Appeasement can be much pricier.
A solid commitment means such different things to different people; for me it is buying a ticket to Mumbai for next January, with another flight out of Bangalore airport (to Bali) 5 weeks later and having not a single clue where I'll be in between... but by heavens I'll be there.
In exactly one month I'll be flying east to the land named after a mythological princess with a crush on a bull. One suitcase is already fully packed: I suffer from premature preparation due to elevated levels of anticipation and excitement. And between now and then my mantra will be a lullaby: "hush little volcano don't you wake', and I intend on learning it in Icelandic for extra good measure!
I am ranch sitting. Out at dawn feeding horses and dogs and collecting eggs. It's really fun to experience a slice of a friend's life and walk in their cowboy boots for a few days. Especially as momentarily I'll be donning my winged flip-flops and flying around the planet. Feasting on the smorgasbord of my life. Since I was young the choice, "money or your life" has been presented in lots of different ways (not always understood at the time). For various reasons I've always opted for "life". I'm daily more grateful for this; I've always had an adequate amount of money and an abundance of life. I'd never want it the other way around.
I think we should only say sorry when we know what it is for and when owed and appropriate. Conciliatory gestures or apologies can seem benign and harmless, but they can in fact strengthen manipulative muscle in others that serves no healthy or helpful purpose for anyone.
There is a unique and special connection with a past lover/partner morphed into present day friend... who you know will always be in your life as a deeply loved fellow traveller. Here's to those loves that don't die, but rather do the caterpillar/cocoon/butterfly thing and become completely different shapes and colours.
In 27 hours leaving for 6 months. 2 more clients, bi-annual haircut and colour, packing entire US life into car (again!), packing and mailing 5,000 bookmarks, and somehow alchemising about 200 lbs of essential workshop stuff down to within a few ounces of permissible measly aircraft weight allowance. May "the force" come visit and hang with me for the day.
Fish and chips, crop circles, hedgerows, marmite, pubs, best humour on the planet (in my opinion), rain (for sure), Ribena, swans, castles, great friends, sheep, attics, canoeing, a guaranteed flood of childhood memories. Priming for the next chapter; deja vu and the unexpected new.
Dramatic Valley exit with Karen in a hi-speed freeway chase to catch the Airbus (we caught it)! 90 minutes after landing I was looking down on Stonehenge. Now basking in buttercups, daisies, leafy lanes, and the most gorgeous sun-drenched English countryside. Tomorrow the train north to Shropshire. Thrilled beyond words to be here... from the Tame West straight to the heart of pure Jane Austen-land.
Even in the English speaking realms the worlds could not be more different. At times I feel like a human octopus; a tentacle in each world but my central body belonging nowhere and hovering somewhere in its own realm... and not uncomfortably so.
In the town where I lived from age 15 to 18, I'm amazed at what a busy "memory super highway" it remains to this day. The complex intensity of those years lives on in palpable emotional ghosts lurking in physical places, which unexpectedly like to leap out to shock and surprise. Just back from the "Loggerheads"... great old pub that it's believed dates back to the late 1600's. Bit like spending the evening in an animated modern day Brueghel painting, if you know his work you'll know exactly what I mean.
Heard a rumour of... cygnets! Ran from Castle Walls, past Traitor's Gate, along the river, under the English Bridge, down to the Welsh Bridge... and there they were, 8 grey, fluffy, unbelievably adorable floating treasures. Mother swan however, had the look and stance akin to a Green Beret ready to strike, so there was definitely no getting too close! But they still made my day.
The water and air here in England has an uncanny similarity to that of Mexico; all my clothes are shrinking just like they did when I was there! Surely it's environmental and nothing whatsoever to do with all the fish and chips, baked beans, Cadbury's chocolate and frequent visits to the pub one is forced to endure when "in (English) Rome"?
A tiny English country village equals unconditional friendliness/generosity. These people have never set eyes on me before but are offering to lend us anything and everything we might need for the workshop. The local pub even gave us a couple of their tables and stools as laptop tables for the speakers!
Almost there, after 2 years in the planning; astrology lovers from Australia, the US, South Africa, Brazil, Germany, Czech Republic, the UK, all about to meet in the sleepy, lovely Shropshire village of Church Stretton to spend a week with Liz Greene, Nick Campion, Rob Hand and Bernadette Brady. Astrology Heaven on Earth!
The workshop is far better than I ever expected... and I expected a lot. Then it’s over (or is it just another beginning?), freshly inspired by the astrology, in love with the speakers and the treasures they bestow, great group, new events and ideas brewing... completely exhausted and elated and in that weird but far from unhappy place where it feels like all my cells are vibrating and rearranging (as happens after each one).
Early tomorrow morning off for 2 days canoeing down the River Severn, with zero Internet (withdrawal shakes notwithstanding really looking forward to it). We'll be staying at the Unicorn Inn, Hampton Loade tomorrow night. Tonight we were at the Loggerheads, my city slicker daughter is having a mind-boggling culturally shocking time, but appears to be fully absorbing and completely loving it).
River trip breathtaking, weather perfect, very shallow in parts (you know you are in trouble when the ducks are walking in the water:), some mini rapids, stalked and harassed by hissing, flapping, speeding irate father swan for about 2 miles... not particularly funny at the time but quite a story to relate after the fact!
Tip: NEVER look for a cab in London when England is playing in the World Cup, needle in haystack takes on a whole new meaning, fares are meaningless to UK cabbies at times like this! Tara and I are in a room the size of postage stamp opposite King's Cross; we're off to Greenwich on a fabulous adventure.
Michael McDonald and Al Green at O2 (fabulous!), National Gallery (glorious), Harrod's (and Top Shop!), London Eye (what a view!), St James Park (good tempered black swan!) Buckingham Palace (poor men sweating in bearskin hats), walked from King's Cross to Kensington (phew). London is having an intense heatwave and feels like it's melting like a candle.
Soaked up the Pre-Raphaelites at the Tate, cruised the city sitting at the front of a red double decker bus, under the venusian influence of my double Libra daughter I now own leggings covered in roses, and shoes with more on the toes. London is apparently hotter than Bermuda; off to Bali in the morning where it may actually be cooler.
Can’t remember the last time I was able to close a suitcase without sitting on it first... could this be a not so subtle metaphor for my choc-a-bloc life?
And next stop after quaint and olde England, exotic and tropical Bali. What a time to live in, when airports are our harbours and life is packed to overflowing.
Good Morning Hong Kong; my favourite airport, restful, super traveller friendly, loungers, showers, great food, free Internet and a 360 degree view of the island. Only 6 hours from now and I'll be kissing beloved Bali, even after all this time "coming home" still evokes the same flutters and elation as reuniting with a great love.
The baby banana tree in my bathroom is now full grown (with a baby all of its own:)... and the fruit are almost ripe. I can even irritate myself with my own gushiness, so I'm holding back... but even gripping the reins on myself I'm still completely over the moon (I may even be over Jupiter!) with joy to be back.
Every 5 yrs the village has v. important cremation ceremony. It's on July 14th, 2 dys before my workshop. The men are building white wooden lions, 32 souls taken from their graves, placed inside lions, cremated and the ashes taken to the river, all amidst the most exquisite, breathtaking celebrations. This is my home, and when it's time for me to leave the planet if only it could be in such a beautiful way.
An older woman just died (peacefully) in the village; my friend Nyoman tells me it is common for a lot more people to pass right before a cremation... perhaps a desire not to miss a ride on the beautiful lion?
White lions are incredibly rare and in Africa they are considered "Lions of God - who came from the stars". How I love these cross-cultural mystical messages that can't possibly be decoded, yet say it all.
13th Heaven and Earth Workshop launched, 30 souls have arrived from all round the planet, including 12 repeat attendees. The threads of wisdom from which this workshop will be woven are already being spun, with Brian and Melanie as our waft and weave. Astrology, Healing and the Soul.... what a happy rice field astrologer am I.
Soaking in my sunken tub in my open air tropical bathroom reading Eat, Pray, Love for the 2nd time (it really is very good); ever so slightly gloating that Ms Elizabeth may have done the love bit here for 4 months ... but lucky ducky me is on the live, life, love, laugh, never leave (at least not for long) plan... okay I confess: double, triple gloat.
Just booked hotel in Mumbai for Jan; might spend my 59th b'day in the Bombay slums. Found these young guys who fund their NGO showing visitors industries they have set up. Could be a 19 year lunation thing; 40th b'day dawn was spent in a chai shop, on the border between India and Nepal, waiting for the border guards to wake up. However for the life of me I can't remember where I spent my 21st ... and that's true.
A large furry fruit bat is literally "going bananas" over the now fully ripe bananas in the bathroom. I'm perfectly willing to share; although I'm not so sure it is, every time I go in there (after dark) it does aeronautical stunts around my head. I'm pretty sure they're harmless ... unless perhaps you're Carmen Miranda.
Back in full working astrology mode; as opposed to running the workshops when I get to be a happy knowledge sponge! This is the best occupation imaginable; how could dancing and communing with the heavens, and unearthing hidden treasures of the heart and soul daily, be in any way classified as "work"?
I am doing every single thing "they" say not to on a mercury retrograde; buying new computer, buying airline tickets, planning trips, making contracts, signing documents, and possibly even buying a car. Why? Because I always do; a quirky, perverse Aquarian thing? Maybe, but also because life goes on and it is far more about paying attention and consciousness than what some planet is doing ... or anything else.
Time to batten down the hatches ... here comes the rain! These tropical storms rise like an emotion; whispering, retreating, stirring, returning, moaning, darkening, rattling, and on arrival drowning everything else out until exhausted and empty. And then the world is even brighter than it was before.
Got up at 5:00 am this morning and lo and behold the moon had come down and was taking a bath in my lotus pond! She was just lying there, gleaming and contented as could be. I just double-checked on her, but it seems she has already dried herself off and moved on with her day ... or to someone else's night ... or lotus pond.
Running off to the beach again; planning for part of a workshop to be held there, so it must be done. I have to force myself to bask there for a couple of days and get a true feel of the place for research purposes. I have SUCH a demanding job.
It seems an Aquarian blind spot can be a primitive inability to discern between compliments and flattery (a confusion that actually starts in our own complicated Uranian/Saturnian brains). I've been noting this in others of my "species" and realising that maybe the cap could fit me too.
Imagine how much silk it takes to fill to capacity two 23 kg suitcases, and that's exactly what I'm packing! I could probably repave the Silk Road.
Back to the US
In Hong Kong airport, where the East feels more western than the West. And wondering who decided which way is what, because I am most definitely traveling East ... but I'm actually leaving the Far East going back to the most westerly part of the West.
2:00 am ... just arrived at charming California nest. I'd forgotten what cold feet are: Havianas bye bye, hello Uggs, and the very first thing out of the cupboard was trusty hot water bottle (leopard print fuzzy cover and all). "Home" and happy, but extremely !awake! ... time for da magic pill.
For almost 7 years I've divided my life between Asia (particularly Bali) and the USA; and it seems these 1st and 3rd worlds are rapidly starting to collide in the 2nd - heading in radically opposing directions. I truly believe I should be staking my stability where my heart already is. If the world had a heart it would be Bali. I love my friends here in America; but I'm missing the pulsing, hot, moist, spiritual rhythm and heartbeat of Mama Bali so much. And the smiles, the offerings, the gamelan, the frogs, the simplicity, the everything; I think that without warning me, my soul completely defected.
Off to Chicago to see Tara-daughter; last minute plan; the frequent flyer gods deemed it be so, they threw me a ticket for the day before Thanksgiving! Now who can lend me a hooded, mittened, feet-ed, one piece down baby suit for a 5' 9" giantess?
Wow; officially in 2nd Saturn Return ... how did that sneak up on me? Maybe because my Saturn is conjunct Neptune, in the 10th house, and my business is Heaven and Earth Workshops ... another light goes on; the astrologer's own chart needs to come with bells, whistles and alarms.
Eat, pray, love... movie very disappointing. Bali and India are way too magnificent and complex to be the pretty backdrops to a simple American, spoiled, ego-centred neuroses. Yes I'm being bitchy, and I really like Liz Gilbert, and I know it's just a movie, but it's how it hit me.
Having a great time with Tara; saw THE "American Gothic" at Chicago Art Institute, very cool! But the truth is there isn't a single city slicker cell in this body of mine; I feel like a panda in a rowboat, if I had to stay too long I'd for sure get seasick ... or fall overboard.
I salute those quietly, deeply, creative souls who still understand the importance of holding energy in closed, contaminant free, egoless containers until the process is "fully cooked". Relieved to be reminded that Alchemists still walk amongst us, despite the twitter and the tweet.