Friday, March 30, 2012

Try to fake it and get booted

In the past few years, I have visited a lot of places. I fully submerged into the alignment of that place.            

             I went to Hong Kong, and lights were always on. People were walking, talking, chatting, eating... all the time. Trendsetting revealed itself through new architecture, new clothes, new buildings, new trinkets, new everything. Skyscrapers truly defined the word skyscrapers. Street fairs and markets blasted the streets with characters and imaginations of the real 'Chinatown' became truth. Even with all the emphasis on being new and different, the culture homogenized through the adverse complexities of itself, by itself. Hong Kong's adaptations of the elite, advanced, and reprogrammed society of China circumnavigated its dreams of being 'individualized' back to operating in its archetypal ways.  I arrived with my eyes set high and dreams on the horizon, then soon quickly realized how my dreams have already been categorized. I just had to go to the Chun King Mansions building #7, floor 52, and find God in his office with a Macbook log database filing my hopes into a Chinese marketing firm. Not to say that people weren't living their dreams in Hong Kong, but it seemed that every friend, neighbor, foe already knows, everything. The only Chinese that are good at keeping secrets are the poltitians leading the country. After living there for one month, my body and my perspective assimilated. Participation is key in an environment where humanity is dependent on rhythm and connection. I recall seeing the traffic lights move like synaptic connections. A steady vein of lights and chatter polluted the air and streets. Although I loved the new movement that I was experiencing, I realized my body and perception swelled with the onslaught of such trends all around me.

When I moved to Hawaii, I talked 'story' and reinvented myself with every new place and face that I saw there, a complete reflection of me, myself, and I. I seemed to open my eyes and my heart more and more everyday to the tales of the islands. The native words, plants, and people generated a rich nectar inside me that I cultivated and buzzed about. I noticed my skin, my hair, my shape, my perspective in alignment with what was light and bright and colorful all around me. I felt like a true goddess, alighned with the abundance of the earth for the first time, first hand. I continually asked questions about how to continue to grow and change there, manifested quickly but also waited for changes patiently as I found myself often, pacing, waiting, and listening silently to the murmur of the sea. With a place so vibrant and indulgent, the history of how/why a person may end up there for an extended period in mind is the true gold of their experience. To witness the island so intimately, and to learn of the origination of such beauty is a blessing. It also made me contemplate the alchemical nature of the island. What parts of our past has put on their on such a small piece of land for that synchronistic amount of time? Why did we meet in such a place where our hearts continually pull in directions of the moon and sea? My life slowed down as I was becoming more of a witness, than a participant or a leader. Another pace of life that I was so grateful to understand, but in a way I also knew, deep down, that it wasn't the correct rhythm for me.

My sights and travels brought me to Portland, a complete antithesis of both Hong Kong and Hawaii. If there were two opposite spectrum ends, than Hong Kong would sit at the pot of gold and Hawaii would be the end of the rainbow. Portland, to me, is the tricky little leprechaun that makes all the magic happen. "Why the hell would you leave Maui for here!?" is usually the next immediate question I'm asked after, "So, where ya from?"

There are many reasons to leave and not to leave any place. I gauge it by how my body is changing and how my energy feels adapting. I don't think it's coincidental if I get nose bleeds or I'm sick all the time in a certain place. I conclude that place is not for me. Portland has allowed me to slim down and rev up. I'm tickled by the sights, sounds, and routes to take around this town. Everyday is a beautiful representation of the beautiful details I've see in life. In this town, I'm not the only one that sees it. There may be a certain groove or grain that is helpful to follow, but the more a person wants to carve their own path, the more adept to the city of Portland they become. How beautiful. This area is encouraging to be bold, to dare, to change. It is accepting of the essence of things. Well actually, when you try to fake it is when you get booted.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Dream Embers

    It's almost as if I couldn't deny him a night together, or then maybe what I experienced never existed. The logs in the fire cracked and shifted, and without any hesitation I turned my head and puckered my lips.
A portal of images flashed through my mind.  His mouth tasted of whiskey and lime juice. Hands were rough like sandpaper. Goosebumps coated my skin like protective armor to all the visceral sensations that were seeping through, and I felt closest than ever to my reflections of truth.
"Are you cold?" He stopped and said to me, as I noticed my fingertips were quivering on his cheeks.
How could I be. This fire burning between my heart and my stomach, a smoldering burst of energy and flesh surging from within me. I quickly turned back to look at the fire. The flames continued to dance in the same way I felt. My memories of us together were waltzing in my head. The prana from his lips, lingering on mine, seeping like raw honey,  a sweetness between us that reminded me how I am very much alive. And, maybe if I just hold onto him a little together, when the morning light rises above the horizon to wake us, he will still be here.
So, I laid my head down. And redreamt the scene, until I woke up again

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


He moved away from Georgia to be irresponsible and free. He’s one of those guys you hear about back in high school thrown out of senior class for locker room vandalism. You often catch him running down the hall in an all-black hoodie laughing at the chubby high school security tripping over their toes behind him. He sneers and flashes a hoodwinked smile when he gets caught and scolded, laughing all the way to detention, and he winks at you when he’s walking by, and you always wonder his name…
On the beach on Kona side down makai, I met Evan at Hookena Sands. He was charming and good looking with wild blonde curly hair and no shirt on, most of the time. He sang his heart into guitar with a sexy swagger and embodied surf spirit, experiencing life just like his rides into the reef. I would jump in his orange truck as he reached behind his seat, grabbed a PBR, and bolted for the sea. We ran wild. He drove recklessly. We crashed waves, parties, camping spots. We worked on coffee farms, harvesting beans for 80 cents a pound, and selling mushrooms to hippies at the nude beach. We never knew how we were going to make money, but he somehow always had a beer to drink.
Satiated days began with a joint slapped to my fingers as he blew beer and weed into the waves of the ocean with intoxication. Sunshine swooned moments with Evan, as we fumbled through the hours of dusk and into the strange and mysterious nights. But then, truth came into the shadows and I realized this was yet again a path that would not yield certainty. A concourse in my life goes as follows:
1. Indulge irresponsible romance
2. Only come a bit shy of an ultimate orgasm
He adored me, and I him, more than we both could handle. .
I had to meet Evan because he is the most careless person I have ever known. Every day I seemed to kill him a little bit more when I stared deep into his bloodshot eyes. I wanted to see his eyes, soft and clear like the ocean. I found myself wishing for things that weren’t there. We were just having fun, but somehow my presence seemed to reflect the man that he wasn’t ready to be. We were on drunk-punk love, and intimacy only went as far as our immaturities, but even so, we still undressed ourselves enough to see what was underneath.
With Evan, I experienced both freedom and shackles. I ran free with him and opened my heart to being sexy and reckless. In hindsight, what I really needed was a partner to be masculine and secure and dive first into the waves. Evan’s fresh approach to each moment was beautiful, I certainly was never bored, but he also revealed to me a truth in careless love. He reflected my obsessions and mirrored them back to me through a path of disregard. We never had any money, and I was always curious as to what decisions he would make, and whether they would be for just him, or for us.

I kept on telling myself that it wasn’t going to get bad. I convinced myself that I could just put dab some peroxide and it would go away. I looked into the eyes of my lover and realized there was nothing he could do.
 My pride got in my way. And, I almost died. I was unwilling to admit I came down with a terrible staff infection. It seemed dirty and unnatural, a reflection of maybe the lifestyle I had chosen to live.
 I began to imagine my life again, without Hawaii, without reef, and beer, and Evan. I remembered how it was when I had a clean shower and a proper bed. I longed for a stable moment. I waited days to tell Evan, because I felt in my heart that this would be our demise. One day, he pointed it out and showed me how the red area was surrounding my entire thigh. It was on the back of my leg, a bite I scratched, and turned into a volcano of a terrible wound. I came down with a fever and my skin started to turn green. Staff infections enter the body through an open wound, and send bacteria in and throughout the bloodstream eventually resulting in a fatal response. It could take as short as one week for the disease to spread. On the sixth day of being sick, Evan volunteered to go down to the nude beach to sell some mushrooms so he could help me pay for anti-biotics. He came back with two beers, a bag of guava fruit, and 17 dollars. The next day I called Sukothai, one of the only restaurants in Pahoa, HI and asked Jean for a job. Coincidently she had a huge lunch party coming in that day and could use my help. I made 80 dollars and went straight to the doctor’s office afterward. He shot me with an IV, and told me it was a good thing I came in. Things would have been real bad if I had waited any longer.
As I returned to health, I knew I could finally leave Evan. At first, the infection on my leg made me feel like I had no way to run. The situation seemed like a complete manifestation of our relationship. But I had to get away from him, if I wanted to live. I loved him, but my spirit was hurting from grappling with all the dark spirits that dwell in our life of volatility. I couldn’t continue to live with him, curious about how he was ever going to grow up, not knowing if something were to happen to me that he could be there to alleviate my pain.

He’s still hurling his body into the waves,
Taking his life in lazy strides,
Abstinent from the work hour days,
Governing his peace by the ocean tides.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The earth, as her lover

 Monumental giants hug the earth with a steadfast anchor
that bolts strength into the ground. Their plateaus are faces
of ancient chiefs calling, upon the servitude of warriors,
puffing smoke signals high into the atmosphere
of pink and purple sky.

These castles are a vortex,
along with fears down the crevasses
of earth so that it ceases,
to interfere with souls ascent to the stars.

The ancient souls in the rocks of ages
continue to ask me to claim my right,
to accept the calling of nature,
to be one of the Earth, as her child,
as her mother, as the earth herself, as her lover.
To listen closely to the romance, and climb.

I counterbalance between hands and feet
scaling up the side of the cliff.
250 foot climb with a 6% grade and circular footholes
perfectly fit the front side of my boot. No gear, no chains...
 Only my own strength and mantra.

I am capable.
I am strong.
I am deserving.
 I am balanced with the wings of my angels,
guiding by the movement through the backs of my shoulders,
hurling each motion upward and spiriling,
through space between my heart and lungs.

My feet grip the sides of the rock, clung to it
like a fledgling to the bossom of cracked earth.

Anchored to the land, amidst the play between
elder and child, heart and soul, and rock and sky.
The sandstone finds its way into grooves of my spirit,
by the weight of mere experience,eroded by weathered age.
Calcified chunks of iron protrude as I clamber with foolish feet,
 treading heavily through which I once thought to be mud.

Each move I make, brings me closer to the understanding
 that I tread where rocks have stood for thousands of years.
I conquor each breath in the moment of my toiling,
forgetting my fear of death, only listening to the faint whispers
through the wind and sand that remind me
 I am a child of this earth and I am free.


Sunday, March 11, 2012

An Arrowhead

Last summer I touched back in Florida to regain perspective. I landed in my hometown to witness my childhood friends getting hitched, wearing strings of pearls and toe-length ivory gowns with progress in the comforts of their lives not farther than their own boyfriends' backyards. I got there just in time to feel sorry for myself for not receiving one single wedding invitation when I landed. I helplessly arrived with many expectations. I imagined us to have healthy dinner parties at my house, with ample support and practice erupting in my old yoga studio walls. I daydreamed of old surfer buddies, excited to take me out on the Atlantic coast with my fresh perspective straight from the Hawaiian pipeline, to be our guide in the spirit of the surf. After the second week of being home, I realized that, though my physical proximity was closer, my connection to this town had drifted away. Three friends called and rescheduled dinner dates and two others stood me up at the waterfront for a yoga practice.

Mom called from Ankara, Turkey relating the sights of her trip and consoling me for my solitude. "Use this time for you then, babe. You can't take it personally." She told me to call a dear friend of hers, Chris Peck, and gave me his phone number. "Call him up, he's an amazing musician, traveler, and friend. He will take you out babe, do some yoga with ya. A good guy to hang with."
So, I did.

Chris would catch your eye across the room, just as a star would if it were falling from its fixed point in the sky, and leave you struck. Amazingly handsome man, 42 years old, his musical talent, voice, and swagger made him a wave of spiritual light in a place where most artificial light exists. Among all things, he was desirable. With his great gifts came great responsibility, in which his free spirit rebelled. His musical inclinations and his passion for wine and spirits encouraged experimentation in his consumption, as he tended to test himself and see how much he could really handle. Therefore he constantly challenged his tolerance. He tried all kinds of practices, drugs, mind altering therapies, to continue driving himself stronger, regardless of possible consequences.
We hung out together two nights in a row. We talked about all the things I dreamed of telling my old girlfriends when I arrived. He listened intently, keeping my wine glass far from empty, and my satiety full to expend all the tales of my travels. We jumped in his pool on Thursday night and swam around each other in circles, naked, creating a whirlpool of energy, completely void of expectations that a man and woman might face in an intimate situation. "I feel super comfortable with you, Erica. And, I love your mother very much. This is a special bond, the three of us have." At about 3am Friday morning, I felt pruned enough to call it a night. I drove home and nestled quietly in my bed. The following evening, a mutual friend called me with a somber tone. "I hate to tell you this, Erica, but Chris Peck was found dead in his pool this afternoon. No one knows yet how he died."

Nothing smaller than a golfball sank from the middle of my throat to the bottom of my heart. I was and couldn't say anything back."How!? What? Why!" I was just with him last night!" I hung up the phone without any answers, immersed in disbelief. My next immediate thought was my mother. I knew I had to be the one to tell her. I wondered why this had to happen while I was home. I was channeling her when I was with him, and noticed myself referring to her, saying things she probably would have said to him if she were there. I feel our support mutually connected to his soul, especially at this point of my first time meeting him. I was open and honest with him, void of any judgment, allowing topics of discussion to come up that maybe we otherwise wouldn't tell anyone else, and my mother was the bridge that made of feel confident that our secrets were safe among each other.

Chris and I only had a few hours together, but what we uncovered rang true for ions of spiritual growth. He taught me a lot that night we hung out in the pool, shared so much of his wisdom, and even more so when he passed. I understand now, what it is to be the witness of such amazing beings, especially in their impermanent states and everlasting influences. My mother doesn't know it but she was there that night, too. She stabilized the strength of our triangle, an arrowhead with three points. It was as if the three of us called upon those angelic realms that Chris often tries to invoke himself, through his experimentations. Only this time, they responded and his body couldn't withstand the transition, leaving it behind.

I remember driving home that night with such a big smile on my face, thanking him he whole way home for sharing his love with me. At whatever place that holds in the timing of his journey, I know for sure that my thoughts and prayers will guide him with strength. I honor his life and his spiritual journey forever. R.I.P Chris Peck