Watching this three year old girl board a plane to Hawaii a couple weeks ago, I was brought back to a time I was that small on a plane. Helping the flight attendants serve drinks. Sporting those little plastic wings on my shoulder. Getting a tour of the cockpit during flight. Back when their doors were open. So much has changed. Not just in the world of aviation but in the world of that fearless little traveler with the pink backpack and long blond hair.
I’ve spent the first summer in six years not on the road. I realize that in writing this I’ve just returned from a week vacation in Hawaii and will be leaving for Black Rock City in a matter of hours, but this summer for the first time in a long time I’ve decided to forgo the itch to move, the need to dance and the love of festivities for something more. I’ve spent the last four months working almost every day on the novel I thought I’d completed a year ago. After letting it sit for eight months it was an entirely new game. It’s grown another hundred solid, fine-tuned pages and the more work I do on it, the more work I can see needs to be done.
I’ve fallen in love. Allowing myself to follow my heart into a kind of solitude to work has allowed a kind, loving and talented man to find his way into my life. Always when you least expect it, they say. I don’t know what the future will bring. I am tumbling down a steep path of transition this month but I trust that as the path unfolds out of the dark before me, I will continue to find light.
Next week will be my ninth consecutive year at Burning Man. I will burn the past and light the future once again. Burn the heartache and unworthiness. Burn the fear of success. Burn the loss of loved ones. Burn anything keeping me from evolving into my highest self. Great things are coming. Big colorful magical things. And now is the moment that we get to live inside of with love, gratitude, hope and inspiration. I have lived so many ways and so many places. I am utterly thrilled to see what more this life will bring.
Okay, I’ve been back for a whole week. It’s time to pull words from head and tell about Hawaii so I can sleep again. It was predictable in the paradise sense of things but also so much more than I had imagined. My hilarious and industrious travel partner, Jackie and I spent the first two weeks at a commune called Cinderland, before seeing the light and moving up the hill, literally and metaphorically to another ecovillage/commune setting I’m going to leave unnamed. Not to be selfish but I’d like to be able to return to the latter locale and find a bed open and waiting for me.
Day One at Cinderland we thought we struck gold. I’ll pull an excerpt from my journal to give a taste of life there:
“I am so in love with this place. Healing. Eating conscious food. Yoga in the morning. Picking avocados out of the foliage around our house. A medicine wheel on the front wall. A mandala as our doormat. Showering between the banana trees. Sewing up the holes in the mozzy net that covers our California king-sized bed. I haven’t been indoors in days. Playing dice by candlelight and learning old folk songs on the guitar. Looking forward to the Sunday drum circle at the nudie beach. A farmer’s market in Pahoa. An open mic night at the kava bar. Slowing the pace and the days feel more full than ever. Hunting for a blank wall to paint as part of my work trade. Hitchhiking between beautiful places. Multiple jaw-dropping whale sightings. Saying yes to what comes and letting go of everything else. Fear, stories, suffering. Releasing what I know about myself and seeing what’s left. Who I want to be. How open I can be. What happens when you say yes to life instead of forcing it down a certain path? The sound of drumming wafts to me from the nearest living space. The Zen Den. Or maybe Middle Earth. Four beds and a small kitchen. A bookshelf overflowing and endless murals adorning each open surface. Including the floors and the benches. Knee to shoulder-high walls enclose a small outdoor shower also covered in intricate paintings. We renamed our zone The Goddess Nest. A rainbow maze of art that is each wall-less building connects through the jungle by winding red gravel paths, lined in fruit trees and a lacy network of spiderwebs that dangles close overhead.”
The two words that sum this trip up for me are rhythm and flow. The hitchhiking adventures, sunbathing and grounding are punctuated by gatherings involving the pounding heartbeat of drums. The flow is what I keep falling into, pushing myself into, desperately trying to give into. It’s a beautiful experience to venture outside of your comfort zone. It is something that people should do much more often. I could feel that fiery Pele energy. The one that will call to you and pull you to the islands or will rage at you and kick you out until you’re ready to come back. There is an obvious escape aspect to this bippety boppity, off the grid, into the jungle lifestyle and there’s also a realm of deep healing. That looks different for each of us. Some can’t handle the trauma and stress of Babylon. Others need a quiet place to heal before returning. Some are literally hiding out from the law, or their family, or debt. Some are here to build and grow with the earth and each other.
I am breaking through barriers that I’ve built between myself and community. Working on patience and knowing when silence says more than words. Saying yes to this moment and having faith that it will lead me to the exact perfect next moment. Letting go of needing things. The baggage. Even this much stuff is way more than I need. Opening up to see how closed off I’ve been and wanting desperately to push beyond that. There are no accidents. Every step I take is in the exact right direction. I found myself unable to break away from the activated and inspiring people I was continually surrounded by in Hawaii to find the solitude to write. I could absolutely see a life there, but in this moment I am feeling pulled inward. To find space and quiet to officially finish a polished and complete draft of my novel and to get that out in the world is my only goal at present. I thank Pele and the Big Eye for giving me that clarity and I know I will be back just as I am always going back to everywhere. What a fun and rainbow ride.
What a fantastic weekend. (Or ten days) Telluride! Beautiful people, incredible music and absolutely stunning landscapes. Sitting once again beside an ice cold waterfall in Town Park, cleansed by it’s earthly delight. Elephant Revival blew it out of the park. Trampled by Turtles night-grass was a life changing experience. I am happy, refreshed and inspired. I am in love with people. It hit me again the other night just how completely bat-shit crazy my life is. I am a peripatetic vagabond and I fucking love that. What a world to explore. What a time to be alive. What an amazing journey to continue diving headlong into. I find bliss in living each day to perfection. I am so grateful to my muse, my wanderlust and my infinite supply of friends and family that support me on my path. I ride the wave that is the open road and thank the universe for divine serendipity in all I do. Thank you thank you thank you! Right place, right time, even when an hour late.
I am but a player on a stage and that knowledge has the power to set me free in this life. Life is a game, play hard. As the sun and the moon dance in turn across the sky, so I rise. As the dust eventually finds a place to lay, so I too may settle someday.
I am endlessly amazed by the people I find myself surrounded by. Going down in elevation from family oriented Telluride to wompy rager in the woods Electric Forest was a true eye-opener. Through the dark of the night and the less than human side of this festival party scene there is still a radiant light of consciousness shining through. Rainbow creatures dancing up a storm of dust. The bright and inspiring few who know how to pick up their own garbage. Exploration. The excitement and wonder of what you’ll find around the next bend. Music that can transform the way you view yourself and the world. I am forever grateful for the life I have created. I take full responsibility for its ups and downs. We are all-powerful. Let’s keep it good and make it gooder.
The Native American spirit is spilling out of every adobe doorway. Even the gravel on the sidewalk is calling to my ancient wolf mother psyche. The red clay earth and the woven afghans remind me of Kingsolver’s imagery and the homesick nostalgia therein. Home as the Earth. The source that we are so far removed from and so yearning to return to.
Stone walls and houses made with hands. Hands of your family. Hands of your neighbors. Villages, or Pueblos, pieced together, wall by wall. Room by room. To accommodate a community.
Once again I am overwhelmed by a hotspot of creative inspiration; an entire city, capital city no-less, totally devoted to making and sharing art.
Utterly inspired. Honestly I came to LA expecting superficiality, skinny jeans, indie rock and egocentric superiority complexes and somehow I found something beautiful. Maybe I’m high on vitamin D. Maybe I am uncharacteristically over-emotional at the moment. Or maybe this bring-me-to-tears feeling of absolute creative inspiration is a legitimate reality. Maybe So-Cal is actually onto something… at least in a few select locations.
I am constantly in awe of how often I find myself in the right place/right time. Tonight has been no exception. I’ve found myself a private guest to a private and very special gathering honoring a truly incredible musician and featuring a few of his equally talented peers. An acoustic set in a living room overlooking the entirety of downtown Los Angeles.
California makes me high. It holds a place in my past, before a loss of innocence, before a confusing and stressful adolescence, before I ever experienced an actual winter. A golden state. Sunshine daydream, beaches, bicycles and poolside barbeques. I get so giddy when the temp stops climbing at a sublime 70 degrees and the palm trees sway at each overpass. The promise land. California. Where dreams come true. California. If not for the traffic, earthquakes and droughts I’d surely still be a California girl.
Sometimes the long and weary road seems daunting and sometimes it looks you right in the face and says, “You are on the right path, journey on. Now is the time, the time is now.”
This place where the river runs North. Medellin. A sprawling city nestled between a few giant mountains. I’ve realized since arriving in Colombia that the streets are specific-product oriented. Looking for a new phone? Maracaibo es el calle para ti. There is one street of all hats, and the next is lined with lighting fixtures.
Today, wandering behind that church, the ornate black and white one, the one with all the big ole Botero statues, I found the street of dictations… Seven or eight old men sitting on crates behind old-school typewriters, eagerly waiting to take dictation, type out your c.v. or help you finalize that silly handwritten love note you haven’t had the heart to send as is. Supply and demand folks. Give the people what they need.
I took the metrocable up the mountain (to the North-East) today. As you get higher and higher the houses change from crumbling red brick to strapped together, recycled wood shacks. From rosy ceramic tile roofs to sheet metal. The paved roads become more intermingled with the red dirt ones. Laundry hangs from the line everywhere you look. Puppies rumble in the streets. A young boy asks me for money so I give him the soda in my hand. It’s all I have to give at the moment kid but it’s yours if it’ll make you happy.
Large black carrion birds scrounge uptown, or down river, from the city. A newborn on the train who’s ears are already pierced. I cherish these moments of introspection laid upon me by this (ever-shrinking) language gap. Once in a while it’s the less you understand, yet the more you take in.
What a beautiful place. I got in last night, calm as a kitten, despite my embarrassingly pitiful rendition of the spanish language. Arrived at the Cranky Croc, a hostel in La Candelaria. A funky little establishment with a quaint cafe, communal kitchen and mossy courtyard inside. Wandering around the city today I found myself coming to street corners and choosing my direction by looking for the next patch of trees or a photo-worthy piece of graffiti. Bought a compass for a dollar and a chocolate croissant for fifty cents. Looming over the city is a lush mountainside mostly shrouded in clouds. Wild flowers grow on the rooftops and besides all the road construction, the run-down, paint-peeling architecture invokes an exotic sort of nostalgia. Once again I find myself, a stranger in an unknown land, the scent of adventure at every turn.