*Before I launch into my adventures I am sad to say that I had a technical “hiccup” and unintentionally deleted all of the photos off of the first 8 posts I have written. I hope you’ve all gotten a chance to see them as they’ve been published, if not, feel free to contact me and I’ll send you some photos*
With all that has happened, both within the microcosm of my trip and the macrocosm of American politics, I feel I must address what has happened in the last few days. Where do I begin?
I begin with love, that is all I can do. I will operate on love, with love, through love and by love to the best of my ability. Strong emotions of despair, anger, sadness and fear have spread like wildfire, leaving many groups in America hopelessly wondering what lies in their future. I cannot speak for them, because I have not walked a day in their shoes, so what I will say is what I have experienced in these last 48 hours since America’s decision. Fear and love reside as opposites, one is binding, one is freeing. People are more easily controlled in a bound (fearful) state, any sort of directions or orders almost seem like something safe to latch on to, no matter how convoluted they may be. When we’re living in a state of fear, safety is the only thing worth searching for, so naturally it’s easy just to put your faith in a ruling figure. Any ruling figure.
What about love? I’m not talking about the emotion necessarily, I’m talking about the mindset of living in a state of love. You can live in love and still have sadness, have anger, but you are not mad, you are not angry. You are love, you are not bound, you are free. How would it feel to be able to hold on to that freedom no matter what happens around you. How would it feel to create that safe place within yourself, when the world around you falls from under your feet? Love is trusting that no matter what, when things change, you are still you.
I have listened to many people over the last two days speaking on how scared and angry they are. Here is where things get tricky; all I can do is be an ear and a support for them, but I cannot let myself move to their level, I refuse to say sink because I do not put myself above anyone else, I just go about it in a different way. I have not detached from the situation, I have not stuck my head in the sand, but I cannot let this situation tear me apart, I have to hold my strength. Politics baffle me, so more often than not I choose to acknowledge it, but then take action to bring positivity, instead of stewing in the negativity. As a teacher of the beautiful art of yoga, I feel it is my dharma (purpose) to continue spreading the message of love and strength and self- awareness. As a teacher, I must have those qualities in working condition within myself if I am to articulate it correctly to others. The bottom line plain and simple is I have to practice what I preach. I have to be that safety for people, but instead of leading them astray, I lead them back to themselves.
So within the last 48 hours, I will be daring and say that not much has changed for me, except I have more conviction to bring peace to my fellows, be an inspiration for as many as I can reach. I do not feel fearful, I do not feel angry, I feel more inspired to share love. I don’t know what’s going to happen in the next four years, but I do know this; I can and will remain stable, because this country needs more peaceful leaders, no matter how inconspicuous.
You could say I’m naive to the “minorities” and the problems they face, but trust me, I have acknowledged them, and my answer is to continue to reach as many as possible in my immediate circle, in the hopes the message will eventually reach them, that is all I can do.
I got to see my friend Sarah again a few days later when we went to a concert in downtown Santa Cruz. We planned to meet at around 7 pm before the show. I wanted to avoid paying for an Uber to take me into town so I got a ride with one of the painters working on the house. The tricky thing was the only time he was going to town was noon. So I filled seven hours with walking up and down the main strip in Santa Cruz, perusing many bookstores and looking at antiques. I ended up in a coffee shop with a pot of tea and one of my favorite activities; people watching. The show was a lot of fun, I danced my butt off, sardined in between lots of people. We managed to push our way up the very front, it helps to be a little person.
My last day of working on the house was great, the painter who drove me to town actually hired me for the day, so it was nice to make some money and learn a few things about sanding and putting putty in the walls. It definitely took me quite a long time to do a simple job, but I wanted to do it right, and the wood I was sanding was expensive.
I traded the tall trees for tall buildings, heading from my serene camp in the woods, to the concrete jungle of Los Angeles. The night before I left, the neighbors of the house I was helping to build offered their spare room to me so I could pack up camp the night before, making it easier so I could just get up and get to the train station. I thought I’d sleep so well in a bed for the first time in a week and half, but it was the complete opposite. I missed the sounds of the woods and my little tent, but was still extremely grateful for the neighbor’s generosity (I even got a shower!!!)
I traveled to LA by train, it was my first time on an Amtrak, and I loved it. I felt like I’d stepped back in time, it had an old-time feel about it, with the attendants dressed up and the old sliding doors. We trundled along, snaking our way through mountains into tunnels and then out again. We passed a beautiful cliff overlooking the ocean and an amazing sunset. I got to LA in the evening and heading over to see my friend from pre-school, Sam, at his apartment near USC where he attends school. It was great to catch up and meet some of his friends, it was funny to think that about 17 years ago we were building sand castles, now we’re building our futures, how things change.
While I was in LA I got to visit some other old friends; Ruthie and her adorable daughter Piper. I used to babysit Piper back in Maine when they lived there. I won’t go into too much detail about how this plan came about, but I left Sam’s apartment and found myself an hour later with the keys to Ruthie’s car and apartment, on my way to pick up Piper from school. I went from not driving for a month, to navigating through the streets of LA…with a small child! The traffic is outrageous, it took me about thirty minutes to go 9 miles. It was great to visit with friends from home and think about the weather we could be subjecting ourselves to 🙂
I left LA after a short visit and headed to the Irvine/Newport Beach/Laguna Beach area to visit a few classmates from AVI. It was such a beautiful area to be in, the beaches and landscapes were spectacular. I stayed with Kristen, and extremely inspiring classmate of mine, who was so welcoming. We went to a yoga class that was taught by one of our teachers from AVI (I got to go the next day too!) It was great to have a full yoga practice again after being confined to my tent where I could barely sit up. There was one day that I tried to do yoga outside on a tarp, but I spread the tarp out and almost starting doing yoga on a black widow spider!!! I roamed the
beaches and boardwalks while Kristen took care of her dog who’s the friendliest thing, but suffers from a heart condition. Kristen and I spent some time with another classmate, Barbara, who lives very close by. I was very happy to spend a lot of time with her too, sharing life stories while walking on the beach, and getting to know her wonderful family and sharing a delicious meal with them. I got to enjoy some delicious food during my visit, there’s abundant produce everywhere of course, and so fresh. The weather a lot warmer here than my camp in the mountains, so I’m finding that my cravings are much different.
I want more fresh food and cold drinks, instead of tea and oatmeal 🙂 Barbara very generously drove me to the train station at the end of my visit and saw me off to Oceanside. The train ride was about an hour long, but one of the most beautiful! The train ran past the ocean for miles and people waved and jumped up and down from the beach.
Now I’m in Oceanside for my next workaway, already enjoying it a lot. I know, I know, not many details, but I’ll leave that for next week!!!
I’m still in disbelief of how many generous people I have in my life, I can feel the love from everyone I’ve come in contact with this trip. I was on the phone with Simon recently, talking about how I must have struck some sort of generosity jackpot before I embarked on this trip. Everyone has made sure I have everything I need, weather it be the carpenters at the straw bale house making sure I have all necessary supplies, any one of my amazing classmates, and even my family supporting me from my home base. I feel like I have an amazing support system, built by the best team, that will be there no matter what.
I have such gratitude for all of you, I hope you know how much you’ve helped me, whether it’s giving me a pair of sneakers, pointing me in the right direction, or giving me a simple but profound smile that comforts me immediately. All of it, material or not, is equally appreciated. I hope that you too get something out of the deal, I hope that my journey and company have brought you as much joy as you’ve brought me. I hope you all know how much your steadfast support has brought a new sense of purpose into my life. It’s another layer of inspiration to keep doing what I’m doing, not because I get “things” out of it, but because of the love that it brings about. I feel inspired because I want nothing more than to pass these favors on, it goes back to what I was saying in the beginning regarding the recent political decision. I am deeply inspired because if I can support others, and make them feel the way I feel, nothing can touch them. Connection is essential, support essential, human interaction is how we will make sure no one ever feels alone or fearful, ever again.
In the words of Trevor Hall…
“Where there’s no more you and me, no more they and we, just unity”
I love you all, thank you.