1. Athena had someone else stand in for her at this morning’s service.
Shanti– “Sean, but I go by Shanti”– was the twenty-something who usually contributes the soundbath portion of the Sunday sessions. His work with the singing bowls is beautiful but I’d never heard him speak.
Sean– Shanti– stumbled through a rambling service. I did my best to follow along but eventually gave up and just dropped into meditation. His language wasn’t connecting to anything and it was easier to use the hour to experience the words.
Toward the end someone asked him how he had gotten into singing bowls.
“I grew up in Los Angeles? When I was eighteen I was hanging out with some of my friends and this car comes by and I hear this noise and see this explosion of light and I think maybe someone’s thrown a firecracker at me. But then in the background I hear someone saying my name in slow motion, and everything was in slow motion, and I realize I am on the ground and covered in my own blood. It was a drive-by shooting.
I got shot in the head– just simple stupid violence I guess– and afterwards I felt a lot a guilt that my friend died and I didn’t. Nothing really made sense after that until I found the singing bowls.”
2. I have been reworking the 5-HT2A docs and keep wanting to punch my fist through the ‘why.’ Why does this company exist? Why another production company? Why add more movies to the deluge pumped into the world each year?
3. The Boddhisatva vow is a vow taken by Mahayana Buddhists to liberate all sentient beings, such that until all beings are liberated from suffering a Boddhisatva will continue reincarnating. I do not identify as Buddhist, mostly because Buddhism is about as charmingly patriarchal as Christianity– “With the exception of the Lotus Sutra, women’s attainment of Buddhahood is not regarded as a possibility. Nowhere outside of this one sutra is there any indication that women can attain Buddhahood. In fact, in the sutras preached prior to the Lotus Sutra, women are looked on with great distaste.”
Were I a Buddhist, my reason for 5-H would relate to the Boddhisatva vow. I am not. Because I seem to lack a certain native register for danger I have been through multiple deaths (age 7; age 10; age 22; age 31); each time I have stuttered up into the same female body.
4. Waking up is exhausting.
Find something of immeasurable value and in possession of surface features that cause others to shrink away and/or question your sanity.
Sink your teeth into it and hold on until it stops fighting.
When it gasps love at you adjust the grip and whisper that it is already making your dreams come true.
Savor the feeling of it relaxing further.
I love comparing notes with people.
There is a beauty to the notes of those who were forced to stutter through a litany of countries and cultures as children, or who from a young age found themselves inhabiting high-stakes identities that forced a double life, or who are well-versed in the art of creating mosaics out of trauma.
There is a beauty to knowing what it is to have a self that bleeds beyond the shattered worldview that was originally intended to hold it.
There is a beauty to knowing what it is to shrug off the known.
It is strange feeling strung between worlds. My day-to-day life is Los Angeles, with its frothy beauty and dark magic and the inimitable quality that comes with an industry prefaced on dreams being spun into the real. It is a city that felt like my native environment from the moment I moved, awash in multidimensional beings and people for whom art is as fundamental a need as shelter. My heart is stretched elsewhere, though, or at least for now every beat comes with the wistful echo of longing for my family. M and I talk every day, and the future continues to skip merrily toward us; still sometimes it takes everything I have to stay present and focused here rather than in the wholeness of a local reunion.
I am going to be in Boulder next week, to visit Gaia and to spend time on Mant1s. Did I really leave Colorado seven years ago? It feels in some ways like a lifetime since I lived there, and in others as though it was just yesterday. So much of my time there was spent focusing on community and building community, both personally and as part of my work. It is ironic that community was the last thing I was thinking about when I came to Los Angeles, yet without even trying the community that’s grown around me here is one of the warmest and most familial I’ve experienced in my life. One of the beautiful things about following one’s heart is that it connects you to others who are similarly guided, or who resonate with that sort of compass.
It makes for good company.
Oh, LA. I have never felt so loved by a city, nor so deeply at home in one, nor inhabited one so aptly named. I suppose I should be grateful to have something to look forward to; otherwise I could not imagine feeling more content with life than I am now.
I imagine that contentment is due as much to the sweetness that comes in the peaceful anticipation of the inevitable perfection of the future as it is the unexpected coziness of my home and humans here.
I imagine that hearts are made to be stretched.
I love the process of calling in a new home. There’s a delight in knowing that the perfect place is out there, and that it’s just a matter of setting the intent and sending the signal and increasing the intensity such that the place that would love to have you care for it can respond.
It is September. I have been in Los Angeles for a year. I have never felt so loved by a city; though I am not sure it can handle my reciprocation at least it has channels to funnel the intensity of my response elsewhere.