Archive for May, 2008

I’ve been impressed with people’s generosity lately. My yoga teacher invited our group to his place for a home cooked meal the last week of class. New friend and craniosacral therapist, Julie, is moving away and having a “giving-away” party tonight. She is giving each of us one of her things to remember her by. Last year, the Toone’s–strangers to me at the time–PayPaled me $1000 for the convent in Guanajuato. I was blown away. Then they contributed again to hook Madre Elvira up to the Internet. Just recently, Annie & Seth bought me a ticket to Cancun which was unexpected and sweet of them. I’m thankful for all these things.

I feel as though there’s a consciousness shifting. People are volunteering, giving, and being kinder to their friends, their communities, and to the planet. There is evidence that folks are moving towards less worn paths to authenticity and that measures of success are changing. Even billionaires are liquidating assets and turning towards social causes as in the case of Nicolas Berggruen who is quoted here saying “Whatever I own is temporary, since we’re only here for a short period of time. It’s what we do and produce, it’s our actions, that will last forever. That’s real value.”

There is so much to be hopeful for when people begin to give, when abundance is shared.

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Three wonderful words: Congratulations, you passed!

I started the program at Lane Community College for Massage Therapy in the Spring of 2004. This morning, I drove up to Salem to take the National Certification exam for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork. In between, there has been a lot of flash cards, study dates, exams, new friends, massages, and seeing the world through new eyes. I’m happy that the new friends, new eyes, and massages will continue. But I must say I won’t be missing the studying and exams! It feels deeply rewarding to start something and finish it.

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Happy Birthday Marlena!

21 years of beauty, love, and sweetness gracing this world.

Happy Birthday Sweetheart!

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I’m standing still in the fast part of the stream right now. There’s a lot of change, but even with the change the ground beneath me hasn’t moved. I sold the car! I’ve scheduled a test date for my national Massage Therapy Exam next Saturday so that means more studying. I’m anticipating Marly’s graduation and looking into plane tickets. Many craigslisters have dropped by and picked up the things I’m selling. There’s less than a month left at work, so I’ve been wrapping up things there as well. I’m also helping a Berkeley filmmaker promote a film he’s premiering in Eugene so that means hanging up posters and distributing fliers on the bike. Best of all, I’ve touched base with Angel Notion and the director is helping Fernando and I find a place to stay.

I’m hoping that after a month or so of volunteering and networking with the community there in Playa del Carmen, we’ll be able to connect to jobs. I’ll volunteer bodywork and translating. Fernando will volunteer translating (Spanish/English/French) and his techie skills (hardware/software/networks). If we don’t find sustainable jobs after the first month or so, we’ll move on to another place.

I’ve always liked Oaxaca as well as the small fishing villages near Veracruz. There’s a lot of magic in this part of the country. People are superstitious, practice white, red, and black magic, and go to mass on Sundays. There’s a dance in the neighborhood every night and music all day long. Dogs nap in the shadows, sleeping through the humid weight of summer afternoons. When people speak, the words are chopped off and the syllables are rocked back and forth, high and low, so it sounds more like music than speech. There’s no urgency or rush or schedule. It’s muy tranquilo and there’s a lot of mango and fish. Children run around well after sundown and folks sit outside and talk to one another deep into the night, carassing their Coronas, Tecates, and Indios. I imagine myself in this setting, sipping on tequila and water, listening to Small Change with Fernando next to me, reading the lyrics. He’s introduced me to the world of salsa. It’s my turn to return the favor and bring on the slow moving comfort, the hypnotic overture, of Tom Waits.

While I’m paring down to two duffels, Fernando is working in a sodden field somewhere in Virginia on a six month work visa supplied to him–and others like him who will work for big corporations for next to nothing–by the American Embassy who routinely and regularly denies Mexicans any kind of visa, unless, of course, they sign up for induction into military service or work for a business that has somehow maneuvered temporary visas for cheap labor. He earns more money in the States working 6 days a week, overtime, and minimum wage than as a mechanical engineer in Central Mexico, where he’s from and what he’s been trained for. I think of him, doing a job most people would rather collect unemployment for than bear with, so that he can gather a handful of money for our fool’s journey. It’s given me a new perspective on migrant workers… maybe this one’s an engineer back home, or a teacher, or someone’s father and he’s missed. Someone who is busting his chops and can’t wait to get off work to see his baby. She’s waiting up with a magazine for him and keeping the porch light on.

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Bone deep

Madre Lourdes and Laura

We ask for strength
and you give us difficulties, which make us strong.
We ask for wisdom
and you send us problems and the solutions develop wisdom.
We plead for prosperity
and you give us brain and brawn with which to work.
We plead for courage
and you give us dangers and obstacles to overcome.
We ask for favors
and you give us the space to develop opportunities.
Therefore Great Spirit
We ask you to bless and assist us according to your desire and will.
~Native American Prayer

I spent the last three days taking a Lomi’ili’ili Hawaiian hot stones therapy workshop. It was the best learning experience I’ve had since enrolling in the LCC program four years ago. The instructor, Marcia York, was highly organized, deeply inspiring, and brought a lot of integrity to her work. Being with other students for ten hours each day for three days built community, trust, and spirit.

The work itself is very powerful and ties back to ancient Hawaiian healing where the kahuna lomilomi were masters of body manipulation, infusing into their art a deep connection with nature. Participants took responsibility for their own health, believing that their well-being reflected a respect for community participation. Thus the kahuna lomilomi were central to maintaining balance within their environments.

I felt excited to go to class every morning and deeply inspired at the end of each day to practice what I had learned. Like the islands of Hawaii, I feel as though I’m emerging from the depths. This workshop has given me a glimpse of the landscape.


The photo above is my dearest Madre Lourdes, Mother Superior of the Convent of Buen Pastor (Good Shepherd) in Guanajuato, MEX. She is an archetype for love, compassion, and selfless giving. Next to her is Laura: beautiful, bright, graceful Laura. She has raised her sisters, helps Madre L with the old nuns in the convent, and has high hopes of getting a business degree at the University of Guanajauato. I believe she’ll achieve that goal.

The Native American Prayer was included in my Lomi’ili’ili Hawaiian hot stones therapy packet this weekend. It’s a powerful prayer that I resonated with.

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Rocks & flowers

You fear the rock? Better men than you have died on them. Dying on love’s rock is better than a life of death. ~Rumi

I have been noticing flowers lately, more than ever before. Bethany’s friendship and the years running with her have paid off beautifully. I especially like these flowers, whatever they are. One time, Bethany commented that they look like alien flowers. I’m impressed by their unique design. Little sunshine faces with outstreched arms and billowy wrist-sleeves.

About the Rumi quote: last week, I told a friend at work that I feel as though I’m diving off a cliff and I don’t know if there will be water or rocks below me. And then, just a few hours later that same day, I went to a craniosacral session. The therapist asked if I would like to pull a Rumi card before I started. The quote above was the card I pulled.

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