Wednesday, November 3, 2010
I managed to hit up a car wash with another Heart Touch volunteer, my friend Brian, earlier in the fall to give chair massages in Koreatown while folks waited on their car to get detailed. That proved to be a great afternoon, an honest and equal exchange of comfort for donation dollars. I had intended to get out and do more actual fundraisers but let time and life slide right over the best of 1/2 developed plans. I don't chide myself for it but I do think the physical labor and coordination involved in such an event would have brought more awareness to our massage project to those who didn't already know me and what I wanted to accomplish.
I have not raised all the funds yet, but I must comment that the sheer fact that I was committed and anchored to this project over the last several months has brought more joy to my day and given me a greater sense of just why I practice massage in the first place.
I never question my place in the world when I am giving of myself in a massage and I don't worry about outcomes either. It truly is a joyful expression of my heart and to know that in a few weeks I will be able to share in this activity in a country I love with other volunteers brings so much happiness into my head.
Last night as I got ready for bed, I lit a candle in honor of the Day of the Dead for my grandma. I thought over her life's work of caring for others for a bit and realized I am keeping her spirit and life alive in the work that I do. I hope this entire experience is just the beginning to a long and windy ride through the world of massage.
May it bring all of us a little more joy, this simple knowledge that if we honor ourselves and each other through simple loving human touch, we bring peace into our lives and into the world instantly. I like that we can do this anytime and bring pure joy into being.
I do promise to record in some verbal and possibly visible fashion my time in India come the end of this year. To all those of you who brought energy and financial support to this project I send you the deepest thank you.
Friday, May 28, 2010
Saturday, May 8, 2010
Thursday, April 1, 2010
Not once today did I feel like a fool. Nope. I am confidently setting up my fundraising website in order to travel to India for massage work late this year. It is incredibly exciting and totally fresh, since I have never attempted to officially raise funds like this before. I think so much of the initial hesitation is mental. We read about people who bike ride across the country for a cause or row across the Atlantic (yes and she has raised over $74,000 for clean water) to support their convictions. Yes, these folks have set that reservation aside and gotten creative, choosing to see what they can generate from their resourcefulness. I have made a solid first investment with getting my ideas in print and learning how others go about this with grace and necessary ease. I have my end date and end goal in mind....to travel to India with other Heart Touch volunteers to provide compassionate massage for those at the Amrita Institute of Medical Science in Cochin, South India. I will send my request out into the world tomorrow morning, April 2nd after a final review. I look forward to future edits and additional tips to tighten the spokes on this wheel of mine. This is a year of movement and action, starting now.
Friday, January 29, 2010
Hiking yesterday up on the trail behind the house, I took notice of some new things.
It seemed to be a shorter trail, possibly due to the fact that I could anticipate some of the bends and things I would see, such as the burnt out car on one slope or certain spots I stopped and soaked in the first time I headed up there early in the morning last summer. I guess the trail had become somewhat more familiar even though that first dusty jut straight up seemed to take much longer and I even had a stick with me for support this time. The first time I went up I saw a much older gentleman walking up that steep ascent with a stick and watched him take breaks but remain steady. It was pretty surprising to me since I thought it looked a little dangerous. Coming back down it can really slide out from under you even with the stick in hand.
I did my usual doubletake at all the blackened tree trunks and branches, but this time noticed how stark the contrast was, how beautiful they looked against the clear afternoon sky and somewhat greener hilltop around them. They were really pretty popping out at me.
A gorgeous, chirping bluebird came down from a higher perch to a lower tree positioned on the side of the hill as I was walking by and I swore it was grandma there talking to me. I have felt her close diving around the backyard as a white butterfly when I was out here in the backyard more last summer and so it was again on the trail. I loved how it made me feel to see this birdie picking at the ground with its beak trying to find some snacks or some thing to play with.
I guess what is so refreshing about a good long walk in the hills alone is that whether you intend to or not, you end up being momentarily absorbed by Mother Nature, just as now the two small yellow-greenish birds are sitting on the water hose spout getting a sip, now flying off dancing about in the yard just as they did last summer. Some things are constants.
I also was under the spell of this small green plant near the edge of the lower hilltop that was level with the trail because it looked so happy sitting in the direct sunlight, all warm and fed by the gigantic sunshine overhead.
It was warm when I started out on the walk and thought I would be loaded down by my clothing, but as I got higher quickly understood that the winds were gonna being kicking me around and I would need all I had on.
Again, amazing that such density of mountains exists just right behind my house. I love that first view you get when you round the corner after reaching the top of the trail. I sat down to rest my legs and feet, ate a few pretzels and took in the visuals. I felt the colder late afternoon air begin to blast me and decided I wouldn’t hang around long (isn’t it about reaching the top anyway?!!!). It took about an hour to come back down to the park and into my neighborhood. I passed a couple folks on my way down and stopped compulsively to take pictures of the setting sun and the light that was enveloping me.
I love when you can see a full hot setting sun one direction and the full moon rising looking the other way. I could just feel that cool, anxious, and appealing transition from day into night. The birds were all out singing as the thick color strips pulsed across the sky giving it a strange, when I was a kid in the summer feel, and I just smiled as I made my way back to the house, no keys, no bag with me, just my thick stick and body in motion. Good afternoon jaunt to say the least. I knew California was a sight for these weary eyes and this particular plot of the Valley is beginning to nurture me the way a home should.
Sunday, January 10, 2010
I knew I would have to sink into the what’s and why’s of each individual box and hoped as the cutting and design began I would learn what each was to become. I ended up making 10 in total for all of Gabe’s family. It felt amazing to see the cuts, line the pieces up, watch the design develop, sand each piece over and over and assemble. The smell and feel of each small piece gave me something, maybe tactile time brings it’s own story forth, which is what I had hoped would happen. I ended up with a few different themes, such as brain boxes for the kids to place their already acquired and still desired knowledge. I spent some time writing something and including it into each one, then packed them up and sent them to the East Coast. I was sort of sad to see them go. I had lived with the idea getting this project going for a long time. Luckily there are many more friends and family members to sit with and sand for. In fact, I have 2 requests right now. The hopes are that I give myself the time to stay with this very simple and satisfying endeavor. See a few pictures of my favorites.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
The inside of the plane was cool. Very old with handles and bars that moved up and down in front of me like on old roller coasters when they click the bar in front of you. The seatbelt was ancient and solid and needed me to spin the big metal dial to unlock it. The noise was intense and beautiful in my head, getting me all rattled inside as we made out way into the sky. The pilot is co-owner of the company and said he bought their two planes about 15 years ago and started things up. They do about 12-14 drops a day and with the constant sun and almost non-existent rain they can keep it up and running year round. People from Britian were there in full effect taking in the sun with their shirts off between drops. Badass subculture to say the least.
I loved watching the altitude dial spin, 3000, 5000, 8000 feet. Each time I looked over I wanted to cry and eventually did shed a little wetness behind my sunglasses. I was just so happy to be above the ground in this precise fashion.
This is the pilot Carl. I really appreciate his letting me come up and observe. Life really is all about perspective and this one set me up for....I don't know how long,....but I am still feeling the after effects. We all need new vantage points and whether it be stuck in traffic or flying out the door of an airplane, it's all useful to appreciate. Life is short.
Here's the bunch of badasses I got to film jumping into the huge open atmosphere. The chutes are beautiful when they open but I think it's that inital moment when you surrender and jump into the ether that makes this sport as relentlessly cool as it is. What is going on in your body when you first let go and fly? What does that feel like? There is no doubt about it, you are flying and that must on one level make you feel more powerful and free than you ever have felt but clearly more vulnerable than usual. That fight or flight thing is in overdrive and hopefully you are sharply focused on what your next steps need to be to avoid death. The relief and sense of pride as you float and direct yourself safely to the ground after the chute opens must really allow you to swim in relentless bursting happiness while coming back to earth. I watched several groups land while there. They come in fast and do such cool shit as they glide back to the ground.
I knew after the last group jumped out, that I too was going to have to make a plan, save up and experience this more directly in the coming year....hopefully in 2010. As much as I wanted to dwell in this now empty, loud, windy space behind the cockpit that once had folks just like me filling the seats, I couldn't. Carl maneuvered the plane and took a sharp nosedive down,which definately got my attention. I focused on what was going inside me and was filled with a calm, surprised at how happy I was as my tried to adjust and gain equilibrium. The mounting physical sensations got me shedding tears....let's call them thrill tears. A type of gentle release (from a non so gentle scenerio!!) I had not experienced before. I felt like I could do anything. I guess that sums up the attraction. While it is dangerous and quite ridiculous, it really allows a most perfect vantage point of our lives down here. Again, perspective.