Sunday, September 30, 2007

Gina's wedding

Went to my friend Gina's wedding this weekend in her home town of New Orleans. It was really nice to see her so happy. Gina and I met through work when I first moved to New York. She is a salt of the earth kind of girl. Very good person with lots of humility and sometimes a little crazy. My kind of mix! Jeff - well I've only met him once before - but all reports are that he is a good guy. New Orleans weddings are a little different - more standing, eating, drinking, dancing than the Newcastle weddings I've been too -well except for the drinking - Newcastle has that covered!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Wolf Fetish

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Well I took a trip to the Museum of the American Indian at lunch time and found a little wolf carved in pipe stone with turquoise eyes and backpack. He's a Zuni Fetish (what???).
The Zuni Pueblo Indians, from New Mexico, feel that animals are endowed with unique spiritual powers, and that the fetish is the embodiment of these spirits. These carvings are believed to contain the animal's spirit and possess a power to help, protect, and guide its owner. The owner may summon their own similar attributes from the carving. They are used to remember or enhance connections with nature. Carved from rock and semi-precious stones, Zuni fetish carvings are used in daily life for good luck, prosperity and health. The heartline of turquoise represents the living essence within the stone body, while the backpack is an offering to the animal spirits. Apparently the Wolf stands for enlightenment.

I also read this about the wolf which I liked:

Early American Indians and settlers existed together in harmony with the wolf. Respected as a wise and cunning hunter, many of the wolf ' s ways were adopted by these pioneers. It wasn't until the white man became a "shepherd", later to be known as the rancher; raising livestock for food instead of hunting wild game, that the wolf became a threat to him, and therefore his enemy.
The inherent nature of the white man is to control that which he does not understand, otherwise destroy it. As he began to hunt wild game as a sport, this further decreased the wolf's popularity. As a result, he set out to destroy the wolf and nearly succeeded. As civilization rapidly progressed, he continued to distance himself further from the wilderness, while the wolf remained a wild predator.

The wolf is associated with the East & the color white.


Yesterday I was feeling a little worn down after a long, arduous week at work and spending my weekend indoors with a particularly trying set of executive class students (yes it was perfect beach weather on Sunday). My energy levels were at a low. So I decided to throw some cushions out on my fire escape and read a book on Shamanism as the sun went down. Very peaceful; and well worth the 5 mins prep time that usually puts me off climbing out onto my fire escape. Shaman draw spiritual strength from nature. They perform rituals using representations of earth, wind, fire and water and also form strong connections with animals. They collect totems which they use for strength. Often crystals or representations of animals (anything from a ceramic figure of a bear to a wolf’s claw or actual wing of a falcon). The rituals they perform with these totems are said to draw the strength of the animals into their own souls. Interesting stuff, particularly as I have been finding increasingly, of late, that spending time in nature has a profound effect on my spirit (just as the office, watching television, dealing with other people’s nonsense and the like, saps the energy from my soul). I decided that perhaps I would give one of these Shaman rituals a shot. I’d started a vague hunt for a suitable totem once before. At first I’d started collecting shells and twigs I liked, I tend to find such treasures often when I dive or hike. I’m guessing trees have powerful energies but shell fish not so much. I decided to start small and planned to drop by the Museum of the American Indian on the way home from work. I was planning to find a wolf like Herman Hesse’s Stepphenwolf (a wolf who scavenges on the steps of a town). A loner, too tame to run wild with the wolves and to wild to live at peace in the town. I definitely have an affinity with such a wolf. More later.

Dad's Black Eye

My poor Dad walked into his bedroom door in the dark this week, when my mother woke him up to go and see why the cat was crying.
He has had to explain to everyone that he waked into a door (Ahem.. likely story).

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Lennox MA Sept 9/10

Cat, Allie, Sue and I had planned a girls weekend in Lennox to see the two intuitives we'd seen last time. Unfortunately Sue and Cat couldn't come. Allie and I left early Sat morning and got to Carols for lunch. We then went to see Sheilaa. I enjoyed it, and spending some time thinking about me. I had a drive in the rain while Allie went in and then we went for a run/ walk near the nature trail where we'd ran the last time. I was not feeling fit - we decided we must be at high altitude (yeah right!) as both of us felt crappy running. I was kind of pleased to take it down to a stroll. We saw tons (well around 6) little tiny red salamanders on the road - one squashed. They were cute and probably babies as they just looked stunned when we came near them. I think they were the babies of this puppy:


I lifted one of their little feet up with my key and it just let me. I have decided that I am a stroller not a hiker. You miss too much hiking and get all hot and sweaty.

Then we had a good dinner on the porch at NAPPA and a quick drink in a local bar. We'd hoped for live music, story telling or poetry reading. Instead we got drunken 50 something men drinking pints of Black Russians, red wife beaters and lots of ogling.

The air was fresh and we slept with the window open which I love to do. Breakfast at Carols followed by some time with Vicki. She had an old Cat like bigsy (not as handsome, or young looking - ofcorse) and we talked about spirit guides and Mexico. While I waited for Allie I drove to a spot we'd passed on the way in called Olivia's outlook. I lay on a wall overlooking the Housatonic river. The view was framed in trees and the backdrop, rolling hills. Very peaceful here. I toyed with the idea of a snooze but ended up just lying down and listening to the the humming of the insects and singing of the birds. I moved on when an ant crawled onto my waist. Nice weekend. Allie was easy to spend time with - after hours of driving two lunches a stroll and a dinner you'd think we would have exhausted just about every topic of conversation under the sun. But I'm pretty sure that we'd have had more to discuss if the drive had been longer!!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Thoughts on moving to Mexico

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream." -Mark Twain

Scene from the Wizard of Oz:
Glinda: [Dorothy] always had the power to go back to Kansas but she had to learn it for herself.
Scarecrow: What have you learned Dorothy?
Dorothy: Well I've learned that if I ever go looking for my heart's desire again I wont look any further than my own back yard, because if it isn't there I never really lost it to begin with."

Perhaps Dorothy had to go to Oz to discover Kansas, like Siddhartha said to Buddha: "not for one moment did I doubt that you were the Buddha and that you have reached the goal that thousands are striving to reach. You have done so by your own seeking in your own way, through thought, through meditation, through knowledge, through enlightenment. You have learned nothing through teachings, and so I think O Illustrious One, that nobody finds salvation through teachings. The teachings of the enlightened Buddha embrace much, they teach much - how to live rightoeusly, how to avoid evil. But there is one thing that is clear, worthy instruction does not contain; it does not contain the secret of what the Illustrious One himself experienced - he alone among hundreds of thousands. That is what I thought and realized when I heard your teachings. That is why I am going on my way - not to seek another and better doctrine, for I know there is none, but to leave all doctrines and all teachers and to reach my own goal alone... We seek release from the self... if I were one of your followers I fear that it would only be on the surface and I would deceive myself that I was at peace and had attained salvation while the Self would continue to grow." Siddhartha chose to return to the life of the world - he wanted to learn through his own experiences of life how to become like Buddha: "I, also, would like to look and smile, sit and walk like that, so free, so worthy, so restrained, so candid, so childlike and mysterious. A man only looks like that when he has conquered his Self. I will conquer myself"

And I am not sure that many have compared Dorothy Gayle with Siddhartha!

9.1-2.07 Jorney to Holbox...

We arrived at Village Tanka and left almost immediately to take the ferry to Playa Del Carmen. We were joined by a long time customer of Roberta's Ed and Monica (originally from Mexico City, worked in the Fury office). We met Roberta and Jose in Playa where they had already rented cars. Jeff drove us to Chiquila via some small shanty towns. It is amazing that people still live this way. Mayan style wooden slat buildings with steel roofs and dirt floors. Most seemed to house families in only one small room - smaller than my bedroom. Probably hammocks would be hung at night for the family to sleep in. A rain storm had come through just before us and huge tarantulas, bigger than my hand, crawled out of the undergrowth to dry off on the road. We saw a monkey chained to a tree in a yard. People all looked well dressed, however humble the dwellings.When we arrived in Chequila we were picked up by Abraham (our whale shark guise) and Francisco 'Chino', our boat Captain.
The ride to Holbox was pretty with the sun setting off the port side of the boat. The ocean was flat calm and the boat dropped us off right up on the beach at our hotel 'Esmiralva'.

Allie and I shared a room overlooking the ocean.
We took golf carts to dinner as cars aren't allowed on the Island. The town was a little like San Pedro, Belize - but cleaner and with nicer people. Back at the hotel we saw a bug the size of a banana:
In the morning I got up early and walked on the beach. The sound of the waves lapping the shore was hypnotic - little shells lined the waters edge and the water trickled through them as it made its way back from the shore.

Snorkling with the Whale Sharks 9.1.07

Unfortunately I got a little excited during filming this clip:) The whale shark was amazing, gentle, curious, huge, a little scary and beautiful!!! The local fishermen call them 'domino' fish and for years no-one realized that these domino fish were whale sharks. We took turns for 3 min swims in sets of two. I went in with Jeff first and then Monica twice. You could see him keeping one eye on us as he slowly swam in circles around us. He must have found us somewhat amusing as there was no real reason for him to stay in the area. I was a little wary of his tail, so tried to keep close to his head, off to the side so he could see what I was doing.