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8 September 2017 0 Comments

Spiritual Practice, Sensitivity, Self-Observation & Socialization, Part 3

Spiritual Practice, Sensitivity, Self-Observation & Socialization, Part 3

continued . . .

One of the primary meditations that my Teacher recommends is to breathe in the all pervading life in space; breathe in the energy and life force, the wonder and beauty, and everything, and aim to feel that life force as an actuality, in one’s body. The results of practice are the little beginnings of this change, which I am tasting and talking about. Then we breathe out, focusing on the heart. Out of all the different energies and impressions, we focus on love, then intentionally select divine love, and breathe that divine love out of the heart., feeling it This is a powerful and beneficial way to meditate. It’s very direct and cuts out intermediate IMG_7789or unnecessary steps in development.

Of course—as with everything in this sphere of experience—there is a danger of doing the practice just in the mind; thinking that we are doing it instead of doing it with full body experience, energetic connection and emotion.

Working with breathing in and out the qualities of the different elements—earth, water, fire, air and ether—and sensing the differences between those modes of experience builds muscle when it comes to experiencing different energies directly, through the body. These modes of experience (symbolized by the elements) of course are always happening simultaneously in every moment, although the exact balance between them differs to shape each moment. By separating them out and doing them one at a time we can begin to get clear about each one and feel them more directly.

It is good to remember that there are certainly likely to exist many other elements that we may not have defined, just as there are dimensions we do not experience.

This type of practice is very helpful. The most difficult aspect of practice is to be able to sustain genuine self love. If I criticize and judge myself for being at the place that I am on the path, I will recoil and shut down. My self observation will stop, and I will be just like anybody on or off the golf cart, distracting myself and staying busy, or numbing myself to keep from managing the strong feelings and sensations that come up. If I can ALLOW the strong feelings to come up, and maintain self love, and the importance of tuning into and sensing my essence underneath all of the personality traits and fears, etc, then it should be a lot easier to do the same thing with other people. And with strong winds and moving clouds.

I’m sure I’ll still need ample time alone to manage my sensitivity. And that’s fine, because it allows me to fully open up. We need to wear some layers when we are around other people, and to be aware of the socialization that allows these animals that are also human to exist with one another. We all have coverings of socialization over the natural animals that we are underneath—all the instincts and drives that accompany having a mammalian body. Socialization has an important value, to help mediate these instincts and drives. We can respect the purpose of socialization without losing our self awareness—either of the instinctual self or of essence. This balance allows us to be, as they say in some spiritual circles, “In the world but not OF the world.”

It’s an adjustment to be able to see and recognize social conditioning for what it is without identifying with it to the extent that we lose our ability to truly observe ourselves as we are, or losing parts of ourselves to it. In other words: having a choice.

As I write this, using the voice memo function on my phone, several people have come by. It’s been fine; I’ve been comfortable because I took up those layers again. It’s key to be able to intentionally shift into the layer of experience that works for what we are doing at the moment. For the most part we get a lot of practice with the socialized parts and less practice with the parts that generally remain in the unconscious or superconscious. It takes time, openness, love, and often silence to access these layers in pursuit of wholeness and unity.

How do the habits and compulsions of your socialization impact your ability to be in touch with your deepest motivations? (For example, can you watch your responses to things openly without shutting down if you think they are not “nice”?)

In what ways do your socialized skills and habits impact your ability to be in touch with your unadulterated core essence?

1 September 2017 3 Comments

Spiritual Practice, Sensitivity, Self-Observation & Socialization, Part 2

Spiritual Practice, Sensitivity, Self-Observation & Socialization, Part 2

continued . . .

I’m contemplating these things and up over a little hillock comes a golf cart with a couple of people on it. I feel something recoil a bit, and I watch myself and ask myself, ‘Am I judging something? Am I making anything up?

I intentionally stay open. I watch and notice what I feel is an enormous welter of different impressions, all coming in. I’m not referring as much to my impressions of people as much as reading the energetics that show up along with them. And I’m not TRYING to read the energetics—I’m just feeling the energetics of the people through my being, and it feels intense. There is nothing wrong with these two people; they seem just fine. At the same time, I feel overwhelmed experiencing their layers: of mental assessment, egoic levels of P1150339artifice, and layers of social conditioning that stem from how they need to carry themselves based on what they tell themselves and what they have been told by other people and how they think they should be, and all the basic stuff—which I have too, but I may be less conditioned and more aware of it.

At that point I feel a little bit of distance from them, a little bit of alienation, a little bit of sadness about feeling those things. At the same time I know that this kind of thing is something that anyone who is truly a mystic goes through, at least from time to time. I want to feel more love. This feeling of wanting to experience unity is not only about wanting to feel love in the abstract, but of course I want to be comfortable embracing people as they are. At the same time, when the people at hand don’t really know themselves or love themselves, the divine Unity and essence within those people is being hidden by all those layers of derivative experience. By “derivative” I mean that it is derived by some process of thought as feeling as opposed to being a direct and complete experience in and of itself, like the bird, or the way a Zen master experiences things. The things we tell ourselves and what we derive from others make up layers or veils by which the divine in each of us becomes hidden from ourselves. It takes so much love to embrace all that and still keep love primary!

At this point I start thinking about my spiritual Teacher because he’s someone I’ve seen do this in practice, not just in theory; embracing everyone on the inside and experiencing unity with them. I know this not from words but because I’ve sat with him eye to eye in direct attunement, feeling one another with the simplicity of that little bird.  Moreover, after spending time with him I’ve experienced some of the things that he talks about and apparently experiences.

After my last retreat with my Teacher, I wrote the poem “The Rose,” which I put in my blog post on May 7th. I was walking the streets of San Francisco and I felt connected with everything and everyone in a loving way. I did not feel this discomfort about the layers. So there was no sense of alienation at all in my sense of mysticism in that specific state of Being. I ask myself, “What does it take to generate and sustain that kind of a loving state for myself?’

Of course, doing my spiritual practices regularly will aid in that direction. Various fears come up, about how a major shift might change the particulars of my life. I know that fear is normal at this spiritual juncture.

What fears come up for you when you consider immersing yourself deeply in spiritual practice?

To what extent does this fear influence how or whether your practice?

25 August 2017 0 Comments

Spiritual Practice, Sensitivity, Self-Observation & Socialization, Part 1

Spiritual Practice, Sensitivity, Self-Observation & Socialization, Part 1

I took a few days out in nature to hike by myself. While I was walking I did spiritual breathing practices that work with the elements—earth, water, fire, air and ether.

I’ve noticed that when I do my practices regularly, they do produce changes in my consciousness. My awareness and my sensitivity both expand. Sometimes that makes me stop doing the practices, because I become uncomfortable. I’ll describe a poignant experience:

I was getting ready to go for walk before going home, collecting my belongings. My interior Guidance chimed in and asked me to sit for five minutes. This directive was not something abstract or particularly subtle, so I was a little bit surprised. I sat down in a chair by a window. The room where I was staying P1150330overlooked part of a golf course. So I sat and just looked out the window without doing anything—which is unusual for me.

After breathing exercises and other practices in nature the day before, I naturally started to sense into the elements and into the space outside me, where I could see trees, and mountains in the mid-distant range, and a big expanse of air and atmosphere in between, birds darting around though it. I thought about a practice my Teacher likes: “Consider the plenum to be your own body of bliss.”

The plenum is everything that is out there; the fullness of all things in creation. I kept my sensors open, feeling out into all that space, and everything within it. A little bird landed on the corner of a nearby roof. I’m not too much of a bird watcher, but I could see her surveying the same territory that I was surveying. I was wondering what it was like to see it through her eyes, and began feeling her little heart in her feathery body, beating really quickly as little bird’s hearts do. She was so earnest, so simple, and so sweet. And she was sitting there waiting, watching, pausing before taking off in flight—much as I was doing myself.

I was noticing that when I expand into the space like that, sometimes even the movement of the wind, particularly the movement of clouds and sometimes strong wind churning through trees seems very stimulating to my nervous system. The movement of clouds can be so enormous and relentless, and so absolutely outside ones ability to control anything; a force, not an object. When I feel that way I scan myself to see whether I WANT to control something. Usually I do not. The feeling is like, ‘Something is happening and I’m not doing anything, and it feels powerful and intense, and beautiful in an awe-full way.’

I think it’s important to feel awe; to remember our place in the universe. I know other people feel this way sometimes, but I don’t know if it feels so intense in their nervous systems, if they take it in. I understand making one’s self busy so we don’t have to feel life so directly—because it’s so huge and can be overwhelming!

Of course stillness is the basis for much meditation and spiritual progress. It increases our ability to be at one with everything. I feel a bit cowardly or remiss when I feel an inclination to shut down or pull away. I’d love to have the courage to fully take on feeling deeper states of unity, but we have to simultaneously be able to feel solid in ourselves and dissolve our sense of self to do this.

Have you ever become sensitized to some type of experience or sensation after doing intensive spiritual practice?

What did you learn about yourself or your practice from this experience?

4 August 2017 0 Comments

Other People’s Energies, Kelly: Part 2

Other People’s Energies, Kelly: Part 2

This and the previous post I have pulled from “Comments,” on my July posts on Energy Release, with Kelly’s permission: 

Kelly continues: How about when you have something foreign going on and have no guideposts, as in familiar people that this energy resembles? This occurs for me often and I usually sense that I am having super intense feelings that are amplified beyond what is called for in the moment. It happens with my partner or the barista. I may draw her rage at her parent as it joins with my anger over something similar, but we may both be unaware of what is occurring. Again, detective work and subtle awareness will usually bring forth info and if not we just ask for those who are here to help to do so. These scenarios often lead to healing.

I have an unfortunate knack for drawing unresolved energies in people around me but can often help them track something they may have no memory of but is ready to return for healing.

I was able to help a women who had a negative view of her parents relationship. :) She came in one day to do other work but it was clear by the energy in her field that the moment of her father’s passing and her mother’s IMG_0053care was up to be witnessed. We were able to identify and follow the energy which allowed the client to see an entirely new perspective, from within her parent’s relationship, and heal her feelings about their relationship by understanding other ways of loving one another. It was a very powerful experience given the energy of death remained. I was the one who recognized the energy but was able to guide her to it at which point all the doors opened up experientially.

A different example and personal one; I was aware of carrying energies I had no context for but one day I was working with my healer and we welcomed those who had come to help. For 2 hrs I laid on a couch as an energy that had entered me while my body was developing, my mother also draws energies easily, and had been literally woven into my being and had always been with me was removed. I could recognize it was an older man and that he needed me for energy, was lost and didn’t know to go back to the light to get another body…. a vampire of sorts but not intentionally harmful; lost.

The process was unbelievable, unraveling in my spine and organs, emotions and thoughts. I experienced huge energetic waves that changed direction over the 2 hours, pulses and in the end an unbelievable amount of grief as though I was losing a part of myself as he left. It was incredible, bewildering and very emotional only to then have the Being who helped act as a place holder until I was filled over the next week with me-ness. How did I know? She was yellow and sang through me in a way that I and my partner can assure you I do not sing. It was a loss when she too left, for I was allowed to experience her life energy which was by far much clearer and purer than mine.

I have hundreds of these stories but at bottom you must have a sincere interest in energy and your sense of self.

Ah, I feel I must add one more story. I was bothered for months on and off by what I would call a black shaman. I say this because he was so sophisticated in how he merged seamlessly with my energy then would ‘step out’ in moments when he knew I’d recognize something was not me, say a feeling like I just wanted to kill someone. I couldn’t shake it, he was not going to let me rest and I sought a lot of help.

Finally through a chain of people it resolved, but I would be blind to how it occurred really for a year. I had 3 people working with me on this, but one had contacted a shaman in another part of the world. To this day she is upset that this was revealed to me, but it was best because I had made up some story about how it happened to come into being. I had prayed my ass off and though Jesus and Buddha showed up in answer to my prayer, little did I know that this person had sent the energy. The good shaman had sent the Christ energy and flooded my body with it for 24 hrs while showing me how the energy was being removed not just from me but the earth. Lets say a lot of high beings were involved and an unbelievable radiance of love. The point though, is that I was able to recognize it but I needed help to remove it.

Energies like this are sophisticated and do seek to instill fear… I never believed in this type of stuff, but the direct experience taught me that my beliefs don’t mean anything when stood up against reality!

I now see that everything has its own unique energy imprint. You can experiment for yourself by finding a great tree, a powerful tree like a redwood and ask to come into energetic alignment with it. Ask Mount Rainier. Ask to be helped to experience it in an way you could recognize it. There are glorious trees just waiting for you to ask. There is one that I am aware of and have direct experience with that is a spiritual teacher, another consistently comes to my aid to help clear my energy.

This world is full of the incredible and we are a part of it. I think we are all working with energies that do not belong to us daily, but some do imbed or pester or have hung out in the dark corners unnoticed and need to be sent on their way. They can never get what they need through another nor we through others. This is a journey for all of us to remember our power even in the midst of realizing we will never be able to fully know ourselves.

I hope this was helpful and shed light on several ways this can happen, how to begin to recognize it, accept it and work with it or call in help!

28 July 2017 0 Comments

Other People’s Energies, Kelly: Part 1

Other People’s Energies, Kelly: Part 1

This and the next post I have pulled from “Comments,” on my July posts on Energy Release, with Kelly’s permission. Her contribution is rich and interesting, and I’m choosing to bring it forward. I only added a few paragraph breaks: 

Hey T this is Kelly. So this is right up my ally, fortunately for writing but challenging to live with the reality as an uber empath. I will tell you that from my experience there are many ways that we pick up these energies: at conception and in womb we inherit unresolved ancestral energies as well as the energies of our parents at that time. They reside in our energy bodies. As children we are unified with the environment we live in until we begin to individuate and often beyond depending upon awareness, nervous systems, family boundaries and so forth. We may think that something belonged to us that did not, it could have a family members thought, feeling or belief.

I have personally absorbed and transmuted through my body most of the energies in my environment my entire life and was unaware for most of it. That meant that once aware I had a backlog to resolve that had not been literally digested through my body. Yes, I have had a long life of illness and strange experiences. I also IMG_0155had to recognize in real time when something entered and try to sort it out. Not everyone has boundaries and not everyone can build them. There are many lessons that come from living this life.

Although I have been told that I am unique in my level of absorption, I believe everyone carries energies that did not originate inside of their personal life experience. Most assume it is just a part of themselves or give little thought to why they react or feel certain ways, or have behaviors or fears that may not have a lived experience in the lifetime of the person experiencing it.

I do this work often with myself and others and feel it is crucial in healing work to first remove the energies that are not personal in order to get clear about what is ours.

There are two things about this that are important. Sometimes a person will draw issues that are in resonance with personal life traumas and lessons. Like draws like. Second, you can also carry an entire interpersonal dynamic. Say a child in a divorced family later is experiencing issues that seem bewildering and have no memory of the day dad walked out the door.

It is not uncommon to find the thoughts and feelings of everyone who was there residing in the person’s energy field surrounding the part that split off to survive. I have gone through this hundreds of times with people and it is a wonderful gift to actually experience each person’s perspective, clear them then recover the little self and be able to change the story based upon the new information and adult perspective. Often there are assumptions during events like these, misunderstandings that entire lives are written on, and having the chance to experience it through the other’s energy really is healing. A new story with new energy.

So how do you know that these energies are there? For some it may come in a dream or they may feel like they are not eating their soup the way they eat their soup but rather it kinda feels like how dad ate his soup? This requires a very subtle mind and awareness, but you can easily begin to track the energy once you recognize a point of departure from your normal way of being. Or say you look and feel a little big in your face or upper body. You check into it with your awareness and get nothing specific so you ask to be shown who this belongs to. Again, subtle awareness is required but the information is always there and cannot lie. They are energy imprints. That seems clear enough.

Continued next week . . .

21 July 2017 2 Comments

The Heart and the Head

The Heart and the Head

“Love is always the answer. Love comes forth from the heart and the head is never involved. When I’m coming from Love, I feel it in my expanding heart. As soon as I begin thinking, I know I have stepped out of Love. Love is always a feeling. Love is pure and unencumbered, it can be nothing else.”  ~Therese

Given that we are discussing real love, yes, it is the only satisfying answer to most conundrums. Love addresses most emotional needs at their core and paves roads to harmony. Love creates an atmosphere in which wisdom can flourish—which the head on its own cannot do.

I would like to expand on “the head is never involved.” I hold Therese’s comment to be true for those who like herself are grounded in genuine love, who can access love through sensing and feeling. This love is indeed pure and unencumbered, and does not require the head.P1150315

When the head functions with respect for the heart, operating on the directives of the heart, there is no error.

When we are not able to access real love, we become more prone to confusion. Passions and reactive emotion become confused or entangled with real love. Resulting emotionally-based directives may be unwise and cause complications if we act on them. Real love may be present, but it has become mixed with need, mixed motivations (such as trying to please people, which is often a subtle type of control), lust, cultural or religious conditioning, and so forth.

Buried wounds create confusion about love. The deepest wound that virtually everyone shares is separation from the Divine.

When we try to love or to act in right and virtuous ways, these efforts can be more about trying to be worthy of love or to obtain it than they are about actual love itself. Pure love leads naturally to virtuous action. Trying hard to be virtuous can be a defense against feeling there is something wrong with us, or against feeling unworthy. We may assume that love must be earned, that we are inherently flawed, or that love is not natural and abundant.

Conditional approval—social, peer or parental—must not be confused with love, or sought as a substitute. Ultimately, that will not work. To heal ourselves we need to be able to generate and absorb real love, deeply into the places that drive our quests for approval from the outside.

In the patterns mentioned above we see that head efforts—including our interpretation of events and our self-assessments—often distract us from going directly to love itself.

One good use of the head in all this is to make different distinctions such as discerning love from not-love. Once we can FEEL love directly, making these distinctions is no longer necessary. We can just tell, without a lot of process. It gets obvious. Before we have identified real love, or purified our love, learning to step back and observe our personal motivations assists with developing discernment. Discernment allows us to move with wisdom.

Being balanced and healthy requires using all three centers—head, heart, and body— to think, feel and sense at the same time, integrating the functions of these centers. When the centers are in balance and used in concert together, intuition and wisdom become much more available, and pure love is significantly easier to access.

When you are challenged or confused about love, what is going on for you?

Is this primarily about motivations, needs, ideas about what you ‘should be’ feeling, an imbalance between your three centers, or something else?

Is there one center you overuse or underuse?

How does this habit of Being impact your relationship with love?

Thank you, Therese, for the inspiration. :)

Be sure to catch Kelly’s comment under last week’s post. It’s as if she put in life-situation examples for all of concepts in this post.

14 July 2017 6 Comments

What Is Real Love? ~ The Paradoxes of Love

What Is Real Love?  ~ The Paradoxes of Love

Here is some cogent commentary and contemplation by Don Richard Riso, on what ‘real’—or shall we say ‘more self-aware’—love is:

THE PARADOXES OF LOVE

Real love is liberating for oneself and breaks old boundaries and restrictions

Real love seeks nothing for itself but is not self-forgettingIMG_7728

Real love is transparent and does not come from premeditation

Real love does not recapture the past nor does it guarantee the future

Real love is not clung to even though it heals all old wounds

Real love is not afraid of taking risks nor is it about feeling safe

Real love is endlessly generative and cannot run out

Real love can suffer hurt and rejection and not strike out

Real love is something we already have although we often do not know it

Which of the comments about real love do you find the most freeing or useful to contemplate?

What is the difference between taking a statement about love as a maxim that you try to live by, and using it to recognize your current limitations?

Which approach is likely to be the most fruitful and why?

 

Here is a spiritual and energy-based perspective. This feels alive to me:

“Love has to spring spontaneously from within; it is in no way amenable to any form of inner or outer force. Love and coercion can never go together; but while love cannot be forced upon anyone, it can be awakened through love itself. Love is essentially self-communicative; those who do not have it catch it from those who have it. Those who receive love from others cannot be its recipients without giving a response that, in itself, is the nature of love. True love is unconquerable and irresistible. It goes on gathering power and spreading itself until it eventually transforms everyone it touches. Humanity will attain a new mode of being and life through the free and unhampered interplay of pure love from heart to heart.”  ~Meher Baba

What do you sense when you contemplate this quote?

30 June 2017 1 Comment

Energy Release, Part 2

Energy Release, Part 2

Over time I have learned that I must correctly identify the type and source of the “impression” in order to release it. (“Impression” is another word for the impact that energy or things we perceive and experience have upon us; the way it remains with us after we take it in.) Once I see what it is and no longer identify an energy or impression as belonging to me me, I am able to command the energy to go out. As it leaves, my body may shudder or jerk, sometimes even violently, if the thing I am releasing has been taking up inner space or has had an intensive hold.

During an active energy release, my body sometimes moves in ways I cannot do intentionally. (I have seen this occur with energy-sensitive clients also. Most people experience release less obviously. They may simply feel better in the related body area after the release, without noticing the release happening.) This release is not frightening, although it was unsettling the first few times it occurred. It feels freeing and cleansing. I feel more alive and fluid in the areas that the old energy moves out of, and in my body as a whole after a session IMG_7912like this. This kind of release session occurs spontaneously and organically, when I am doing concentrated inner work. It seems to be an amalgamation of many different types of energy healing, which eventually developed into a self repair protocol.

Sometimes the energy I discover during one of these cleansing protocols surprises me. The sources of these energies may show up to me through simply recognizing the identifying energy signature of a specific person as I turn my attention to the area of blockage, excess or odd energy. More often, I need to flip through potential people-sources in my mind until I come across an energetic match. Sometimes a name pops into my head as I attend to the sensations. Other times I have to dig to find it, and what I discover surprises me, but it clearly feels correct, and the energy moves. The energy does not move out until I identify it correctly and ask it to move.

I learn through this process about what is important to various parts of me, which were apparently running their emotional programs beneath the level of my conscious awareness. Previously-unconscious emotions or reactions are what allows energies from other people to lodge in one’s energy systems. I also get information from what I find about the emotional processes within the people who projected the energies; what drove them to project. Once the energies release it as if the footprints in the sand have been blown smooth. The related issues tend to be if not forgotten, at least unimportant.

The process I am describing, of identifying energy originating from the outside, is occasional. Identifying what is MINE and originating from MYSELF is frequent and consistent. Looking for impressions from others without taking responsibility for one’s own involvement in the interactions and energy transfer would be bunk. A steady baseline of self-observation helps to develop the ability to tell the difference.

Please feel free to describe any similar process you may have that allows you to release energies that do not serve you.

What have you learned in the process of developing an ability to recognize and release this type of energy?

What does energy transfer from one person to the next have to do with your self-definition or emotional context?

23 June 2017 11 Comments

Energy Release, Part 1

Energy Release, Part 1

“Acknowledging the presence of negativity is the first step to putting your life back in order. You can’t change what you refuse to confront.” ~Levine

In this and the following post I will describe an experience I have from time to time, during which I locate and release energy that does not belong with me:

Occasionally, when I do spiritual practices between waking and sleep, I find myself in a state in which I am sensing my body and the energies and sensations related to the practice, and running a related inner exploration. For example, after the a set of practices related to balancing karma and forgiveness, my contemplations stimulated me to review whether or not I was harboring any emotional reactivity toward those who may have done me some type of injustice. I was gently and detachedly reviewing this topic, and checking my body sensations.

As I did this I began to notice energies from other people, which had become lodged in me. Some of these lodged because of my reactions to them, others because they were strong projections that I was unable to keep out owing to incidents in my history making the energies so similar that I hadn’t filtered or sorted them. Many of these projections consisted of, for example, inner child projections from people who fervently desired me to caretake them in some way. I felt responsible for my mother’s feelings and emotional needs as IMG_7718a child. I was now finding some related energies that had been lodged in me for years.

I have noticed that after periods of significant personal growth, I tend to find and release layers or pockets of energy that no longer belongs with me. I see this type of release with clients too, during profound growth. The energies we identify with are not accessible until that growth takes place and we no longer identify with them. At this point related energies release, or the issues show up, and different types of release occur as one reorients and experiences one’s self differently.

In that state between wake and sleep, I experience these types of energies mainly through sensation, although sometimes they show up like dark or fuzzy/static-y spots or areas when I scan internally, which is more of less visual. These spots or areas of sensation always have a specific location. Some may reside in chakras, some in my energy fields, some in organs, and occasionally in my spine. I might feel the energy as a stinging burn, an ache, congestion, slight nausea, contraction, antsyness or deadness in the area. The sensations change or resolve after the associated energy or “impression” releases. The emotional charge on any related issue decreases right away when the energies release.

Are you able to sense when there is energy in your body that does not belong with you?

What do you notice in your energy and in your body when something is present that does not belong?

Can you discern whether what you are sensing originates from within yourself, or from an external source?

16 December 2016 0 Comments

Travel Experiences 14: The Long Return

Travel Experiences 14: The Long Return

My last travel day was a long trip back to Prague. Concerned about connections, I started on an early bus.

On the last of several transfers I had 7 minutes to find a train track of an unknown number. There were at least 12 tracks. To get between them I had to take a lift down and back up to the platform, after finding a screen listing the track numbers. People with bikes blocked the lift so I had to wait. I find the track number in a rush. The listing was blinking, meaning train is standing in the station, but that track is empty and the sign above it is blank. I ask someone. He doesn’t know.

Finally I crane my neck around an L in the track. Behind a wall I see a very short train 400 feet up the track. They used the track both directions. The platform was deserted but for the conductor, who sees me running like heck and blows the whistle. I’m not sure if it means Go or Wait. I run full out and he helps me on. Phew!p1060353

My stitches and leg hurt from pounding cement.

The last and longest leg of the trip, this was the one connection I was concerned about all along, a 5+ hour trip with only 2 trains a day. So far I have a compartment alone. We travel a single track.

Long train journeys are contemplative and rhythmic when direct and uncrowded. The journey will give me time to digest my experience.

Big train stations have good food stores, post, info., lockers, flowers, and often an attached mall with clothes, luggage and footwear. Busses are usually across the street. The schedules connect well. This is SO much more civilized and convenient than forcing people to require cars! Bike and walking paths connect most villages, often along streams or through viewpoints with religious or historical monuments. This form of sanity where people’s daily experience matters is something I love about Europe.

It is cold, dark and rainy. Train is sitting still in a tiny town with no station. Train has a problem. This is not a lovely Austrian train but an old electric clunker, comfortable but–as I discovered after walking its length and finding someone who could tell me–reliant on overhead cables. A cable has malfunctioned. In Czech Republic and the conductor doesn’t speak English.

Later: we have been sitting for several hours. I ran out of water and lunch was salty. Unlike the last trains, with food carts, there is no water. The one person with English disappeared, perhaps in one of the small groups smoking outside between rain showers.

My phone is supposed to work but doesn’t. I can’t notify the inn of a much later arrival time, hoping they hold my room.

By and by we were shepherded off the train and stood with our stuff like refugees until a huge bus showed up. It idled while everyone and our stuff crammed in, standing packed to the doors. We began to bond through glances, sharing this temporary fate.

The first sign I saw on the road was the sign to the monastery where I hurt my leg! Not sure what’s up with that.

Bus took us to a train station. We circled our conductor, milling around uncertain until she directed us to a train. Not understanding, I ran after p1060367people I recognized. I didn’t know where we’d go and couldn’t use the lift. Stitches burned from running on stairs with bags.

Later: We’re still waiting on a still train, maybe for a pre-scheduled timing. It’s post-communist here, stark after flowery Bavaria.

An E Indian man smoked on the platform as I and some others hung out our windows. He had some English. I said I would have bought water if I’d known how long we’d sit. When the train finally moved he brought me a bottle his family had with them.

Spent next few hours hanging my head out the windows or communicating with a lovely old man. He had no English but speaks Heart. It’s like playing charades. Such sharing is pure Zen; about real things. It feels free to have no context besides the moment.

As I put on glasses to write this I remembered dreaming the scene over a year ago–waking up wondering why I put on glasses in a dream!

The old man, by grace, was transferring to the Metro, headed one stop from mine. He helped me figure it out and we parted sweetly. I had to transfer to a tram.

After 12 hours of travel I arrived at dark fall in a light rain, nearly in tears, hungry, thirsty, sore, and needing to pee.

The hotel was in an old mill. They greeted me kindly. The restaurant listed all potential allergens in English, and the waiter decided I required a free shot of vodka in a freezing glass after all that stress.

What is it like for you to interact with strangers?

Have you ever dreamed something and it happened later?