I stand in an office on the 34th floor of a high rise in downtown Denver. I look out windows that frame an obstructed view of the front range. Pressing my face against the glass I feel the sun warm, imagine the air that invisibly touches everything. Beneath my feet the world hums, people look immeasurably small, cars snake through a labyrinth of streets that seem to randomly connect. I am a part of this plexus hovering like a disembodied spirit, unseen. Surreal. I have recently been incarnated into a new role, a ‘land assistant’ for an oil and gas company.
Get on the elevator, stand in awkward silence with others that seem to be bracing themselves for a day in a box. It is a monochromatic landscape despite the fuschia colored orchids in the lobby, the kind of environment that one wants to scream in or do something entirely inappropriate just to see if anyone has pulse enough to respond. Do other people have such thoughts? The spirit in me feels blindfolded and abducted, and the rebel looks for every opportunity to enter into the revolving door that leads to my other world. How did I land here?
I file leases into perfect numerical order, according to range and township. My mind adjusts to a new environment to work repetitive and numbing. The copy machine, a marvel of technological wonder creates one perfect duplicate after another that I staple and stack into manila folders. Time seems to move in slow motion, nine to five. Stacks of paper, each one a lesson in Latin look pale under fluorescent lighting. My mind tires, my body longs to move, I wrestle with boredom and tedium in equal measure. The more I wish I were anywhere else the more misery I create for myself. While I am here pondering my new existence, earthquakes shake the planet, people die in a swift moment without warning, pain and suffering erupts globally. Impermanence, it is the one certainty.
Admittedly my most recent employment has felt imposed not organic, foreign not familiar, contrary to my nature not nourishing. I have struggled to find meaning and purpose in this twist of fate. Every imaginable emotion has surged through my body, anger, frustration, relief, failure, immeasurable gratitude, and even despair. Was I ‘selling out’, giving up on the most passionate work of my life, was accepting this position a sign of resignation and defeat, or simply an act of self preservation? My mind in it’s ‘fight or flight mode’ was fatalistically preoccupied with trying to interpret my latest set of circumstances. Self inquiry. Who is creating this suffering, who feels defeated and valueless? EGO. I wake up, and all of the noise of my fretful chaotic mind dissolves. Simple awareness.
For the past three decades I have served the world through a livelihood that is consistent with who I am and what I value; serving humanity by awakening consciousness. My path has allowed me to express my innate skills and abilities and has nourished my heart and soul. I have never seen work as a ‘means to an end,’ as something one does simply to get from one day to the next. I think of work as vocation, a true calling. This calling comes from deep within our being, from a ‘knowing’ and longing that seeks to fulfill itself. My commitment to this inner knowing has been absolute, my faith and dedication unwavering. There has been no greater singular priority in my life than to honor that internal truth and to integrate it into my life.
‘Knowing’ has not led me to my current position, necessity has. Perhaps this is the real reason behind my rebellion, on some level I felt I had no other choice. After months of trying to find work I was more financially desperate than I have ever been. Normally I would consider having work when I needed it grace, but given the nature of the work it has felt more like penance. For years I have had the luxury of determining the choreography of my days, of choosing how I would spend my time and focus my energy. There was an organic and natural flow that was completely influenced by my own internal rhythm and directive. There was space for spontaneity, freedom and magic. Is there now?
Making peace with where I am has proven to be a greater challenge than I could have ever imagined. Embracing my situation has taken conscious effort, time, and a willingness to suspend my perception of how things should be. Apparently my work isn’t limited to specific environments, to spiritual communities, yoga studio’s, satsang audiences, and private students. Experience tells me that nothing in life is without purpose, value or meaning. I am where I am for a reason and rejecting ‘what is,’ only deepens the chasm between myself and the truth that is emerging. When I wake up, settle into the present, into my body, it’s enough, more than enough to be exactly where I am.
As soon as I let go of my judgement, my resistance and rebellion a beautiful thing happened… I was able to help one of my co-worker’s with his fear of flying, lend an open heart to someone who needed to cry, and offer a ‘listening presence’ to someone in need. I may have the opportunity to offer meditation in my workplace as part of a well being initiative. I get out of the way, I let go. I free fall into surrender, to the magnetic pull of the compass that lies at the center of my Soul. I let go of my critical mind, of my attachment, and I bow once again to the mystery that propels my life and keeps me ever on my toes.
Written: March 20, 2011
Listening to the Silence, to the quiet of my breath, heart beating softly. My beloved whispers ‘Only Love’ Santidevi, ‘Only Love’. I have spent the last six months in the alchemy of fire, and I have emerged purified and reborn. What is left is ‘Only Love’, the essence of my existence. Amor est vitae essentia. I bow to the worldly experience that has brought me to such a state of grace. My heart fills with gratitude for my recent trials, for the Presence that has solely eclipsed the small i, a grain of sand in an ever widening sea. I choose love in the face of fear, I choose love in the face of uncertainty, I choose love in the face of whatever lies ahead.
United with my beloved, I give myself to the unknown, to the fatefulness and beauty of being human. The ground shakes and I tremble into a faith that never fails me. Celebrating the slow even pulse inside that tells me I am still alive, I am still breathing. Aware of a fleeting self that is completely absorbed in silence, as formless as mist.
I walk on South Broadway after dinner and a street woman approaches me. I tell her that I have no money or I would give it to her. She says that’s ok… we are just here. I only have this food I reply. She takes it gratefully, we look deeply into each other’s eyes, unwavering and still. Do you feel the energy she asks? Yes. Thank you for the love. I bow and take her cold hand to my lips. It is covered in a worn, fingerless glove that smells of smoke and homeless living. I kiss it. She takes mine and does the same. All time stops. We part without another word spoken. We have shared in one brief moment the Oneness of our belonging. The greatest of all gifts is priceless. Love. Without anything we gave it freely.
I want to embrace the whole of humanity. To bring forth the power of the love that continues to eclipse all else within me. I feel its PRESENCE, its illuminating light and expansion. This alone can feed the masses and change our world. Where there is LOVE there is PEACE, where there is peace there is TRUTH and where there is truth there is LIBERATION.
My feet are being planted deeply into the terra firma. In this journey I am realizing how inseparable the mundane practicalities of human life are from what is deemed “spiritual”. Every aspect of human life is sacred and sublime, the living and the dying. As I sit in the uncertainty of being unemployed, with no financial reserve and bills due ,I feel a peace that would seem to have no place in this moment. I feel the panic, it rises in waves against this unyielding peace, I feel the fear that threatens to over run the truth of my knowing, but it is powerless. I watch it all unfold and I breathe. I know without any question in my heart that I will be supported. Each moment I awaken to gratitude, to the LOVE of my life.
January 6, 2011
What is truer than love? There is nothing truer than love, my beloved. Your your soft lotus feet that carry me across the thread of my longing. Nothing truer than the caress of you while I sleep in the river of my body, unconscious, and breathing…
There is only you, and you in this little inhale of a life. What’s truer than my love my beloved, than these salty tears that fill my heart. What is truer than this fire that burns me white ash and rain, that tenders my spirit? What is truer than the devi that makes love to me, that whispers my name in unspoken tongue.
Who am I in this flesh and bone? I am a body of grace licked clean, sweat and fear rising out of the nebula of my womb.
Oh my darling, shining, white haired child, that dances naked feet and twirling. You are my ‘ I Am,” picking wild grown wonder out of thin air. Rooted in the soil of my body, despite the holocaust. You still peer out on a mystical land where lions roam, oh sweet and feral innocence. All I am, I Am.
The red balloon takes air, small perfection and blue sky.
I am here, here I Am, my waiting so near. Braille beneath my fingertips, encoded in my like the memory of Ireland and Mr. Devi and the man at the door of room 105. The Spanish flute song that serenaded my thirst. I feel you in me like the fluids of my body coursing. A hum of you on my lips, your baby skin shining luminous in the half moon of my belly. Arrow left you said while you slipped into the life that left with the sun. Dubai…
What is left in this thin pulse and yearn? My Self grows translucent and the stones are stacked, desert cairns… and the only way home. My hair touches the ground. I sing my chanting soul, cell by cell resurrecting Eve, my lady of Guadalupe, Danu, Kali Ma, Hera, Quan Yin, Magna Dea, and the holy of the holy… Salvation.
Wake up, wake up the light is shining. I am listening my Beloved, I am bowing, fill me, fill me.
This was written in the process of yoga, movement, breath, surrender, cellular memory, tears, and joyful reunion. Thank you Hawah for your gifts, presence, self inquiry and seva. I am so grateful.
Written: September 21, 2010
I sit at my altar surrounded by images of the divine. My beloved Mother Mary, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Jesus Christ, the primordial Buddha and his consort, Shiva and Kali, Saraswati, Quan Yin, Ganesha. Master guru’s, Paramahamsa Satyananda Saraswati, Swami Niranjanananda, the Sufi Saint Maulana, Shiva Rudra Bala Yogi, Mahavatar Babaji, Thich Nhat Hanh, the human embodiments of truth, wisdom, and unconditional love. Their presence fills my heart, illuminates my mind. We are family, we are All One.
I have always aspired to realize my true nature, to experience the depth of human consciousness. This adventure has been the greatest of my life. It has stripped skin from bone, left my mind splayed, my heart aflame, until only what is real remains. As a spiritual pilgrim I have ventured into the labyrinth within my own being, eyes open, the fire of consciousness turning lead into gold. Trusting in the unseen with a passion that defies logic. Surrender becoming an ecstasy of devotion, the unknown my home. This alchemy of awakening has led me to one simple conclusion, our realized and essential nature is love. Another word for the Divine, is love. If we are going to be who we are in this world than we must be love. Every great soul has evolved into a compassionate, loving state of being. It is this love that awakens, inspires, heals and liberates. Quite simply, it is is the unifying principle of life. Amor est vitae essentia.
As I contemplate my own dharma it has never been more absolutely clear. I am here to be LOVE. Every moment of my life has been a longing to realize this truth. Every thought, word and deed seeks to align with this purpose. One of my students asked me yesterday if I love everyone. Yes. She replied with, ‘how can you love everyone’? How can I not? What prevents love? Fear. The antidote to fear is love. Each moment we are presented with the choice, will we live in love or fear?
At some point in spiritual awakening one realizes an undeniable truth… there is nothing to fear. Not suffering, not pain, not even death. For there is no beginning and no end, the Soul is immortal… Wake Up!
When there is no longer a sense of a separate self, we experience the Divine in all beings. A natural joy arises within, an indwelling peace emerges, and love becomes the natural expression. Every cell celebrates in unison when we realize that we are not limited to our physicality but are something vast and eternal. That our very cells are in concert with every other being, creating a symphony of beauty.
I invite you to embrace the mantra, “only love.” Let this vow take you into the heart of your heart, to the umbilicus of the truth that feeds us all. Surrender all of your inhibitions, be bold and fearless. Feel your own love expand to encompass one and all. You will smile, and so will they. Rise up you Bodhisattva’s and take your place in the world. There is nothing more to do. BE LOVE.
Written: June 23, 2010
Telluride. Mountain Film and spring run off. The air is filled with the scent of earth awakening, aspens budding and unfurling into a green revival. I sleep on a sofa with a commanding view of Bridal Falls, the valley floor, and the surrounding mountains. Town is stirring to life after off season, with a flood of documentaries on global/human welfare. There is a bevy of conscious film makers, all wanting to bring awareness to the fragility and sanctity of life. They offer a cross cultural perspective of life on the planet, an expose of the interconnected web that unites us.
Surrounded by conscientious human beings all committed to bringing awareness to the plight of our planet, to those who are suffering and in need in the world, to the absolute necessity of collaborative effort and action. I am inspired to my core. There is a sudden awareness of my being in the company of those who share my calling and mission… to simply make the world a happier place to be.
My tribe wanders the streets, partaking in the feast that is offered. From the thought provoking dialogue with pioneers in ecological conservation, to the awe inspiring life of Prudence. Prudence, of the Academy award winning documentary film, ‘Music By Prudence’, directed by Roger Ross Williams. She is a lodestar for humanity. Living proof of our indomitable spirit, of our ability to shine in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. She honored the truth within her own heart, knowing that despite her circumstances, her life had meaning, purpose and value. Now she brings joy and inspiration to the masses.
Greg Mortenson, the author of “Three Cups of Tea”, presented a beautiful symposium on his work in Pakistan and Afghanistan. He is so humble, his passion, commitment and love of serving so evident. Greg’s life and calling is a testimony to the powerful impact one individual can have, how true sincerity and love are catalysts of powerful transformation. Greg embodies Gandhi’s proclamation, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
The most profoundly awakening film of the festival was the movie ‘I Am’, produced and directed by Tom Shadyak. It is the story of his personal journey into the truth of our human potential and happiness. He investigates our innate nature from multiple interdisciplinary perspectives and asks the ‘big questions.’ At one point in the film he actually gives the viewer the experience of their own capacity for compassion, the visceral experience of our immediate and shared response to the suffering of others. In one word, BRILLIANT! Science is beginning to come to the same conclusions about the nature of reality and the inherent qualities of our humanity as the sages, seers and mystics throughout time. That in fact, the notion of a ‘separate self’, is becoming an obsolete and archaic model that simply isn’t true. The gap is rapidly closing between science and spirituality. Strange, truth is truth no matter who realizes it.
I am inspired by these mavericks who boldly challenge themselves and the status quo. Who determine for themselves what is and isn’t possible. They are the noble ones who dare to live according to their deepest values. I believe that each day we make a difference by what we think, what we say, and what we do. In choosing to be conscious, to be responsible, to be an agent of change in the world we take our place of belonging. We become the embodiment of the greatness of humanity.
If there was anything you could change in the world what would it be. What can you do right now? How can you be the answer? What can you do daily, to be an expression of what you feel the world is lacking?
I believe in you.
Written: June 8, 2010
It is late, the room is dark, I am lying in the bath. Mud colored walls, cement floor and white tiled perfection. Two Thai women, hand rubbed from a temple in Thailand dance above my head as the steam rises. Their charcoaled selves pressed on handmade paper that was carried halfway around the world by another woman seeking adventure. I love their images, their watchful presence. My skin is milky smooth and soft. I am in awe of the exquiteness of this human body, of its resiliency, strength, and uncommon loyalty. I put my head under the water. I am Medusa, a mermaid, a floating thing wrapped in silence. The world recedes in the sigh that escapes my belly. I go into the symphony within, the stillness unwavering. Lavender and lemongrass seep deep into the marrows, into those unseen and thirsting places. I am at peace.
I open my heart to the voice that lies in wait, the seer that is my steadfast companion. I am listening. “You’ve been a brave one.” I sit with these words. A brave one. I see the incarnations of my soul. I am, in my briefness, but a thread in a weave that is timeless, endless. Yes, I have been branded to the bone, a brave one.
I feel like I have just been given my knighthood, and quite unexpectedly. Honored by my Sovereign for the battles I have fought, for the perseverance under fire, and my refusal to sacrifice the truth. I vowed early on to honor the sacred . To be true, to what I knew to be true. To believe in myself and in life, even when circumstances challenged my faith, and I felt no belonging in the world. I swore not to die until I was dead, to resurrect myself from the fiery ash unscathed until the end of time. To rise when I was cratering, to believe when I lost all hope. I bow to that force inside of me that has never failed to make me who I am. What a will, what grace. I feel for a moment the greatness that has fostered me and I am humbled.
Despite pain, grief, judgement, criticism, ridicule, and even violence I have refused to surrender who I am for who I am not. Unwilling to forfeit the truth for comfort, or my soul for the temporal pleasures of the world. I have wanted to experience the truth, the essence, what was real and enduring in this world. This has been my quest. I have listened to the wild hearted Soul within, when reason begged me to to do anything but. I have been led into the frightfulness of the borderlands, where feral things roam, and all the will in the world will not keep you safe. I have been shown that there isn’t anything to fear, that I can surrender, that the stars will shine in the dark and I will find my way. I have not felt as brave as I have felt compelled. Without fear I would never known what it means to be brave, would never have engaged with the world as I have.
What have I championed since I came into this life? My true Self, the part of me that is immortal, awake, innocent, pure, loving, whole unto itself. As a young child I often saw adults that were hollowed, bitter, lifeless and longing creatures. As a result I didn’t want to grow up, I wanted to valiantly protect the sanctity of my own nature. The sacred peace, love and joy that I knew to be myself. I wanted to maintain my wakeful perception, to be in constant communion with the numinous. I wanted to keep my wings as I walked this earth.
I have only gratitude for the struggles that have given me the opportunity to rise. I no longer fear the abyss of the unknown for it has become my home. Life has taught me that true strength lies in my ability to surrender, to be vulnerable, to expose myself to the fearsome fearlessly. This is freedom.
How are you brave?
Written: May 24, 2010
In the presence of the holy there is a lightness of being that radiates…
People from all walks of life have come to be in the presence of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, to listen to his message of a stress free and non-violent global society. A simple man dressed with a smile, and robed in white. He emanates a playful spirit, that is completely animated and peaceful. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has done the seemingly impossible, uniting and awakening humanity across the planet. He has crossed religious and cultural barriers with the open heartedness of a child and the wisdom of a saint.
I have come to meditate, to experience his divine presence. I am unable to sit comfortably in the chair, and so I decide to go to the back of the room and sit cross legged on the floor. I close my eyes, my breath deepens, my mind becomes spacious. I am home. He speaks softly, his words are simple. There is a harmonious and melodic quality to his voice. I suddenly feel the pulse quicken at my ajna chakra, my mind becomes instantaneously one pointed, the boundaries of myself dissolve into the vastness of my being, and I feel the transmission of bliss. When my eyes open I realize that I am sitting directly in front of Sri Sri. I smile, he smiles.
A little girl, no more than two, is dressed in kundalini white. She has a little fountain of blonde hair on the top of her head, and a box of red panda licorice in her hands. She is behind the table next to me and is giving Daniel, an “Art of Living” teacher, a piece. Pure love. In my mind I say, I want a piece of licorice too! She immediately walks around the whole length of the extended table, she has heard me! With a radiant smile she assures me that she is on her way. Her soul is shining, she looks into my eyes and says, ” I am going to give you one.” Her perfectly tiny hands reach in, and she pulls out two. “I am going to give you two, she forms her fingers into a peace sign. I cup my hands as they fall. Then she turns around and walks back to her mother. One human being giving selflessly to another, this is seva, this is love.
Real truth is merely love, that which cannot be defined, that which is ineffable. His holiness embodies and transmits this love with great humility, sincerity and grace. He is a uniting presence, bringing forth the innately Divine nature of humanity. Every human being longs to know, through their intimate experience, who they are. This is the yearning, the desire that is the catalyst for awakening. Is it any wonder that we gravitate towards those who have actualized their potential, their true nature? We refer to these people as holy because they have become the living truth, love. There is an absence of suffering, an abiding peace and joyfulness in their being. How is this possible? What allows them to experience this?
Simply, they are relaxed. In relaxing we naturally enter a state of expansion and awareness, a state of receptivity and acceptance. There is a sense of spaciousness. This spaciousness accommodates whatever we experience with equanimity. When we relax the breath we relax the body, when we relax the body we relax the mind, when we relax the mind we experience liberation. The conditioning and habituation that normally defines our thinking, our perceptions, and our behavior is no longer predominate. We are now able to respond to life authentically, with spontaneity and ease. Effortlessness arises out of non-resistance. When we relax we become our natural meditative and awakened Self.
I invite you to experiment with relaxation as a means to “realization.” Make this your everyday sadhana, and practice. See how this affects your life.
Written: April 26, 2010
In the narrows of the heart, I feel you caressing me whole. Waking me from my sleep, I feel you next to me. I find myself flowing through slot canyons, trickling vein fine, hardly visible. I have become water. My beloved, I shape shift into the elemental, bodiless and free. The obstacles of fate have laid me bare, my bones turning white in the desert sun. I ask myself, “what would santidevi do”? Surrender, says the voice, surrender…
I curl into the fetal of the newborn, I wait for wings to feather. There is nothing to do, nowhere to go. In the darkest womb there stirs life. I am between worlds, not here, not there. The umbilicus continues to nourish, even as I become ever more transparent. I shed all that is not intrinsic to my being, purified once more in the fires of a karmic collision. I do not bemoan, or pity, blame, or wallow, I rise. I rise and accept what is with uncommon grace, even as torment knocks with vengeance at the door. Who goes there, no one but myself.
My love, am I nourishing the good, am I still at your feet? I close my eyes and your luminous form appears. My history is made with every thought, word, action. The seeds I plant, the fruit I bear. I am awake, and trembling. My thinking mind is absorbed into the abyss of the moment, even desire loses it’s passion. I am the instrument of your will, I am the devi that plays in the light. What I deliver is not always well received, the truth submits to know one. In the face of ignorance, truth alone is the sovereign that prevails. Let me shine brightly my beloved, unearth me further still. Let me shake loose that which tethers me to the laborious, the tedium of human life. I want to fly…
Come back. Be in this precious moment. I realize that I am not where I Am, but 4,576 miles away in Kinsale, in the locus of my longing. I close my eyes and I am there, walking cobblestones streets, looking out upon the sea, sitting amongst the “standing people” in a forest shrouded in mist. A sense of peace, and spaciousness fills my body.
It is early spring and I feel the earth begin to awaken. There is a quickening, like the first felt movements of a fetus in the womb. The past several nights I have listened in my deep sleep to my own heart beating… its rhythm a constant fidelity. By what miracle have I been kept alive?
My heart pulls me into a landslide of emotion, missing the home of my belonging. I ache with a desire that steals the breath, as if parted from a lover against all will and reason. The touch, the smell, the softness of place, I am inconsolable. I drive deep, past the abyss of loss, the tempest of yearning. My rapture, united with the power of my soul, and the holy grace of the Divine, will take me back. There is never distance between myself, and what I love. Time and space is an illusion, this is the truth. Where there is faith there is no need of hope, where there is no expectation, no need of patience. I return to the sanctum of my own knowing. Stay awake santidevi, the moment is now!
I give my time, my life’s blood to another. Earning a living, paying the bills. I can resist this, or surrender. That is always the choice. How present can I be regardless of my circumstances? There is a part that wants to flee, to escape the monotony of routine and subservience. Every moment, practice. Another sadhana designed to refine my consciousness, to deepen my awareness, and fulfill my dharma. I watch the conditioned mind mistake “my experience”, as the totality of my existence. I come back to the breath, to my beloved. I relax into the spaciousness of being and I let go. I accept “what is” with equanimity, and watch the resistance dissolve into ether. Becoming water, there is no obstacle. There is no box that can contain me, no four walls that I cannot transcend. I become peace in the midst of continual chaos, ever free…
I was born on March 14th, 1960 at 6:38 pm at a small hospital in Cozad Nebraska. The date, time, and place, of my appearance on this earth. I have lived for 50 years much to my amazement, as I never expected to live to be 30. We can never predict the duration of our lives, the events that will shape, influence and to a degree define our course. What a blessing to have lived this long, to have been given the opportunity to know a deeper level of truth, of spiritual awakening and liberation. I give thanks this day, for the love that has nurtured me whole, for the unseen world that has revealed itself time and time again in luminous and inspiring ways, and for the Divine within this sacred body that continues to carry me forth. When I disappear, I will take this with me…
P.S. My sheela arrived from Ireland.
Kinsale is a beautiful port city with narrow winding streets, colorful little shops and a host of rebel bohemians. My kind of town. I explore the early morning, when the streets are empty, my preferred time to feel the pulse of place. The natural rhythm in Ireland is one that mirrors my own. Work is done here in a completely different spirit, it is has relative value, and thus does not steal the very breath, blood, and soul. There is a simplicity to everyday activity that nurtures me.
A natural foods store draws my attention. Behind the counter sits a dark haired beauty with a presence that fills the space. Karen Garvin and I become fast friends, in a matter of moments. She says to me, “you have gypsy blood, as do I.”
A healer, mother, wise woman, she has been tried by fire and made into gold. Despite the trials of a life that could foster bitterness, she is joyful and radiant! She tells me she has a good friend she knows I need to meet, within an hour he is at the door.
Alan has a boyish charm, an intelligence, wit, an orators skill, that raises the bar. He is a proclaimed hedonist, a Self led and soul taught man. We wander the streets until ending up in a field that has a commanding view of the land. A weathered blue folding chair, a working man’s throne, sits a lone sentinel in a tangle of wild overgrowth. He rolls a cigarette. Green even in winter, it is cold enough to see our breath though the skies are clear and the sun is shining.
Our conversation seems to create itself and we follow one another into terrain that opens us both. Alan shares his knowing about the Sheela na gig. He says that when the Vatican attempted to control the Irish King, the King had the image of the Sheela put over the threshold of churchs, castles and other prominent buildings a blatant, “fuck you,” to those who attempted to unseat the sovereign, the Goddess. From the beginning of known time, the Goddess has ruled this land and the King was a devoted servant; betrothed through sacred sexual union with the Goddess herself. It is said that she appeared to him as a crone, not a youthful and desirable maiden. The King by lying with her had to intentionally let go of his passions, illusions and desire for the superficial and transient, in spiritual terms, the ego. He made his union consciously with the wise and immortal, only then was he fit to be King. The Irish are legendary in their resistance to foreign invaders, even to this day you sense their fierce independence, and freedom of spirit. Alan is passionate in his storytelling, and I find myself in another place and time.
My days in Kinsale are seamless. Karen takes me to her place of pilgrimage, a truly holy place. Guagan Barra was founded by St. Finbarr, the patron Saint of Cork. The oratory sits on a little island in the middle of a lake where a pair of mated swans glide on glass smooth water. The air is mountain fresh, and fills every hopeful cell. The river Lee finds its source in the surrounding mountains. We walk in a hushed silence. In a circular stone enclosure are several little caves where the monks of long ago slept. We enter the solitary dampness of these ancient wombs, and trace our hands over moss blessed stones that have endured for centuries. Once again I am struck by the relative micro existence of this fleeting life, of the bones within my body that will someday be soil. Entering the small oratory I turn to see my beloved lady of Guadalupe in faded glory hanging above a host of burning blue candles.
Here she is, the Goddess once more in one of her many guises. I have been to her basilica in Mexico City, seen the place where she revealed herself to Diego in his near disbelief. I wear her image around my neck, a constant reminder of my true nature.
Karen and I walk in a mystical woods just down the road from the island. It is clear to me that the place is enchanted, a place where the little people make their home, where the elementals stake their claim. I feel my senses sharpen, as the air becomes fine and the light prevails. The veil between worlds thins, I step into the unseen.
Water snakes its way down the mountain side finding its way into a clear stream. Trees tower above us in emerald green perfection, wild grasses mound in a pattern only nature could create. We see a small white kleenex hanging on a little branch. It is the entry way to a dark forest within the forest. We cross a small stream, bow low through a narrow opening to find ourselves in a hallowed place. Karen wraps her arms around a tree, I sit on a raised earth. A thousand eyes upon us we merge with this sanctum. I raise my arms to the sky and I thank in whispered hush my beloved for bringing me home, for blessing my life with amazing grace. I have found my tribe at long last. Surrounded in the darkness, in the midst of day, I feel at peace.
My last day. Karen and I go to the English Market in Cork, we are going to feast! No meal out tonight, we are going to dine at her home with her two boys, her former partner and their yorkie, Joey. The market is a food lover’s mecca. Specialty shops all under one roof. We buy smelly french cheese, artisan bread, olives in every size, shape and color, fresh basil, sundried tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, home made pasta, organic apples and a mixed berry custard tart, and cream. So much fun! She and I are sisters, moving in joyful tandem from one culinary intrigue to the next. I find myself wanting this time to last, to be kept alive, to be an ongoing experience. We make our way back to the car but not before listening to the lyrical sound of the pipes played skillfully by a Russian busker on the street. He looks as if he was just transported from another era where music was the bloodline of the people.
I awaken at 4:00 am. The city sleeps. I drink my cappuccino graciously made by the night porter. I unroll my window to let the darkness in. The air is crisp and sunless. I drive on the left, my arrow still tucked within sight. I want to close my eyes to remember every bend in the road, the power of the land, the way I feel in my body. Now I am transiting. A long day of three flights, several layovers, mechanical failures, and late departures. Air bound, I watch the patchwork quilt of west Cork disappear into the mists. I will make Ireland my home.
Someone asked just this morning what my most amazing moment in Ireland was. It was when a beautiful Irish, renaissance man, serenaded me in the wee hours with his musical genius. He playfully made the instruments come to life, to tell a story without words. I sat spellbound, as my heart and soul took flight with his. That moment will live in me forever…