"We keep slaying our small dragons as the big one waits." - Charles Bukowski
I come to this clean, well-lighted pub for three addictions: writing, reading Charles Bukowski, Kesey, Walt Whitman and the like, and the anticipation of who might sit down next to me.
Maybe it will be him. It never is.
Last week the guy that sat down next to me was a larger, old man, who sat a bit hunched over in his oversized quilted flannel. He grumbled a bit when he talked and had a big nose and whiskers where his beard used to be. He was the product of the sixties you'd imagine if you read Ram Dass, Kesey, or Timothy Leary. He told me of a daughter he thought he may have and said she was conceived during a mescaline trip in the summer before the summer of love. His stories remind me of my anachronous existence in this post-beat and post-1960s world. Fueled by coffee and whiskey, I was attentive to his fascinating stories. This guy had actually kicked it with Allen Ginsberg outside the donut shop on Banyan Street just off Haight and Ashbury. I should probably spend more time in San Francisco.
My virtual wine buddy and soul journey confidant lives there--somewhere above a bustling street in a cozy nook I imagine. We've never met. If there's anyone who could match my openness, it is Her. She has an edge and wanderlust to match Kerouac--she might even be a bit more beatnik than me. Maybe she and Alan Watts would sit in the park all Zen-like, talking about how fascinating and frustrating the difficulty of knowing oneself is. Eventually they would make out in the grass.
Just this evening, as I slump into the comfort of my pen and solitude at the shiny, maple bar, I am also carrying on a deep, meaningful conversation with Her on Facebook chat. Coffee. Whiskey. Weed. And Her. Four things that blow my heart wide open and elicit self-disclosure. Through our streams of wordy babbling consciousness, we realize She and I are beatniks living in a post-apocalyptic era. Everything we need to know about becoming has been revealed and we are just helping each other trust the painful and fascinating, as Alan Watts had put it, process of self-expression and living slightly outside the mores of conventional society. Over our wine and poetic discourse, we go on and on about romantic relationships, drug experiences, things we are trying hard not to regret and how the day's been. Like always, today we come to the same realization:
We are okay.
...and I always feel a bit more sane.
Wherever two or more gather to discuss matters of the heart, Spirit shows up. –Matthew 18:20
I met the most wonderful new friend tonight–through Facebook–but she lives in my hometown of Bellingham Washington. We basically had Church, meditation, wisdom sharing, whatever you wanna call it. I'll meet her when I stop in for a hug downtown where she works later on this week. Our conversation was so tangible. I felt her so close to me. It was as though we were in small group, just the two of us, coming together, meeting for the first time, and laying our faith stories on the table. I felt no judgement, only love and encouragement. I know she felt the same. Such a warm feeling so unfamiliar to many of us.
After a thirty minute back and forth and an exchange of meditation material (she shared some words from Jesus and I shared some poetic Hafiz) I solidified my belief system–my "faith"–in a single swoop without even trying. I grew up in scary fundamental Christian churches that drove home ideas like guilt, shame, and fear of an impending apocalypse. I have taken the sacred parts, what I feel are truth, and I incorporate them into my daily spirituality. My daily spiritual practice is based on my faith statement. Here it is:
I find God in my dance, ceremony with community, by honoring and communing playfully with earth. I am mindful of the Divine expression of all things. I trust my intuition, and I practice love daily.
In difficult, lonely or uncertain times I hope that you might find someone with which you can have an open dialogue with what is on your heart and mind, for the goodness and the Godness that is you resides there. I would also encourage you to write a faith statement just to see what emerges. For many of my friends it might include words like "snowboarding" or "outdoors" or maybe "goddess" "forest" or "spirit". The journey is long; I am glad we are on it together. We are always learning. Always new. Always keeping heart to something bigger than who we are in this moment, yet keeping our feet firmly planted on terra firma.