Saturday, December 30 ~ Ojai, California
Another thought as I prepare myself for a new year and new vibration. The thought comes to me in the form of a song lyric from the 1983 movie musical Yentl, and it's in my head each time I wake up in a night filled with wakefulness.
It's in my head now.
With all there is
Why settle for
Just a piece of sky?
Too often in my life I have settled -- for less than I desire, for less than I deserve, for less than I believe I can afford....for less than the infinite possibility and potential waiting to realize through me.
Like Yentl, I won't do it any more.
If I have a New Year's resolution for 2007, it's expressed through that song:
I step into 2007, claiming and realizing more of my essential self, more of my creative power and more of the infinite resources always availlable to me...without settling for a just a piece of sky.
Saturday, December 30, 2006
Friday, December 29, 2006
Friday, December 29 ~ Ojai, California
The sun glows golden on the mountains that rise up behind this sanctuary-like community nestled in a valley north of Los Angeles.
Another day is burning away on the light of the setting sun. Another year, too, as 2006 makes way for 2007.
In that cusp-like period between one year and the next, I have landed -- here in Ojai (pronounced OH'high).
Given my life over the past two years, I'm not sure what "landing" means, other than to say that I'm here for six weeks -- the minimum commitment I've made for the hilltop house I've sublet.
Why Ojai? Why now?
A month ago in L.A., a friend me asked to identify my passion.
"Well," I responded with quintessentially Libra equivocation, "I love to do sacred sound, to inspire people. I love to draw, to connect with the earth--"
"No," he interjected with no-BS Scorpio incisiveness, "what's your passion? What do you claim?"
After a moment's tuned-in inner silence, the answer was unequivocal: getting my novel, The MoonQuest published, filmed and out in the world and completing the trilogy of which it is the first part.
While I wasn't surprised by the content of my sudden clarity and certainty (particularly as, days earlier, The MoonQuest had placed third in the New Mexico Discovery Competition for unpublished fiction), I was surprised by how much this desire edged out all the others -- particularly as it hadn't been fully conscious only moments before.
Don't get me wrong. I love all the other things I do, including the sound, the newsletters and the groups, teleconferences and private sessions. And I'll continue to do them as the call arises.
But that exercise in clarity made it inarguably clear where my primary focus must lie as I slip into 2007: writing.
And that, in part, is how I find myself in Ojai. Or, rather, how Ojai and this house drew me to them.
In the 1964 Disney film of Mary Poppins, the two children, Jane and Michael, take it upon themselves to write an ad for a new nanny. The ad lists (and thus claims) all the pleasing qualities they would seek in a nanny. Although their father rejects the ad and throws it into the fire, its energy travels up the chimney and into the ethers, where it finds Mary Poppins, the perfect expression of Jane and Michael's desire.
A few weeks ago I also made a list, one that I'd forgotten about until moments ago, when it fell out of my notebook. Like Jane and Michael's, it detailed my desire -- in my case, for the kind of accommodation that would best serve me and my creative endeavors at this time.
It shouldn't surprise me (but does) that pretty much everything on that list seems to be embodied by Ojai and this house. Nor should it surprise me (though it does) that I moved into this house nearly as speedily as Mary Poppins moved into Jane and Michael's (less than a week after I first replied to the online ad).
Perhaps two of the more bizarrely synchronistic expressions of the divine perfection in all this relate to the meaning of Ojai (moon -- remember my book's title?) and to the cat that comes with the house. Her unusual name is virtually identical to that of the main character in The MoonQuest's sequel. In fact, as soon as I heard the cat's name, I was sold. She's my Ojai Mews.
Now, nothing is ever as simple and one-dimensional as it appears. No doubt, regardless of my creative accomplishments while I'm here, my time in Ojai and in this house will have other, unimagined gifts to offer me -- all fruits, as well, of the passion and desire of my highest self.
And so in this moment, as this day and year melt away, I feel perfectly situated to sail into the new, aligned with the flow that only passion can activate.
To read The MoonQuest excerpt that was my winning entry in the New Mexico Discovery Competition, click here
Photos by Mark David Gerson: #1 Meditation Mount near Ojai; #2 My Ojai Mews
Friday, November 24, 2006
Thursday, November 23 ~ Sedona, Arizona
It's Thanksgiving Day here in the United States -- a day, like others in other countries, set aside as a celebration of gratitude.
Even though I do my best to be thankful all year round, it feels appropriate to specifically add my gratitude today to that of so many.
Of course, I have so much more gratitude than I can catalog in a few lines: for my health, for my abundance in all its forms, for the journeying that has connected me with so many of you and with so much of this wondrous earth, for all the ways I have been taken care of and all the miracles that continuously flow through me, and for all other gifts with which I have been blessed.
At the top of the list, though, is my daughter.
I never planned to be married; I never expected to be a parent. And even though the marriage has ended and I'm only a part-time, on-the-road parent, my relationship with my daughter has only deepened with the passage of time.
For her enduring presence in my life, there are no words to express my gratitude, other than to say, Thank you, Guinevere. I love you.
Tuesday, November 21 ~ Sedona, Arizona
A California friends sends me a link to the satirical publication The Onion and, just for fun, I click on my horoscope.
Dated November 15, this is what it says:
Libra: An attempt to describe the concept of infinity to friends this Thursday will succeed in spite of your nonsensical rambling.
In one of life's amusing synchronicities, that was the day I wrote this paragraph as part of The Wisdom-Keeper Training:
"[It's] not at all surprising when we consider that even the words we use [to describe what we are and where we're going] are defined in relation to what they're not. 'Infinite' is not finite. 'Limitless' and 'unlimited' mean without limits. The same with 'boundless' and 'unbounded.' How about 'never-ending,' 'fathomless' or 'invisible'?..."
I hope it's not nonsensical rambling. At least if it is, it succeeds...or so my horoscope tells me!
Sunday, November 19 ~ Albuquerque, New Mexico
My first stop, after I left Arizona two years ago, was California. My second was New Mexico. Ever since, I've felt pulled back and forth between the two states like the pendulum on some arrhythmical grandfather clock.
Live events aside, I've spent more time in California and New Mexico than anywhere else in the country.
It doesn't hurt that my daughter lives in Sedona, Arizona, midway between the two. But that's a convenience, not a reason.
Today, still haunted by yesterday's "safe and comfortable" revelation, I drive to one of the hiking trails in the Sandia Mountains that buttress Albuquerque's east side.
Through all my travels, the Sandias have always provided an anchor for me, a place to reground, realign and reset my compass. It's these mountains, more than Albuquerque, that keeps bringing me back.
"Okay," I ask the mountains, my spirit guides, God, the Universe and all other aspects of the oneness that, ultimately, are me, "what's going on for me with New Mexico and California?"
The answers stunned me, but shouldn't have, given, once again, what I wrote in The Wisdom-Keeper Training only days ago.
What I heard was, to quote The Beverly Hillbillies theme song: "Californy is the place you ought to be."
And, like for Jed and Granny Clampett back in the '60s, not just any place in Californy. Los Angeles.
"If you want to keep moving," I heard, "you need to be where the movers and shakers are. For you, that's L.A.. Safe and comfortable is for retirees."
"Of all the gin joints in all the world" (to maintain my Hollywood metaphor -- the quote's from Casablanca), I never, ever would consciously choose L.A.
San Diego, maybe. But not L.A.
Yet when I recover enough from my feelings of intimidation and overwhelm to look deep inside, I have to admit that it feels right. Not safe. Not comfortable. But right.
That's why my takes on the concept of choice, free will and reality creation are different from those of many in spiritual/metaphysical circles.
Others insist that all we have to do is call in what we want.
I say that my heart's highest desire may well lie beyond the realm of my human ability to want, know and imagine.
The choice I make in every moment is to surrender to the highest imperative, highest will and highest potential I can allow into my life and energy field.
After all, in creating the biblical world in seven days, God didn't manufacture, s/he allowed.
"The earth was formless and empty..." Genesis reports, "and God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light."
And so, without knowing what it means, how it comes together and what it looks like, I surrender in this moment to the City of Angels and call on those very same angels to ease the way.
In this moment, because I also know that guidance and direction aren't always what they seem. We humans easily and unconsciously extrapolate incorrect or incomplete meaning and outcome from the guideposts that line our path.
Does this mean I will live in L.A.? Perhaps.
Does this mean I will make significant and synchronistic contacts and connections in L.A.? Possibly.
Does this mean something else altogether? More than likely.
Does this mean I'm done with New Mexico? Probably not.
All I can do is surrender in the moment and follow the highest path wherever it takes me.
Friday, it takes me for a few days to Marina del Rey, in the L.A. area -- the result of an unanticipated synchronicity. From there...???
You'll know when I do.
Top photo by Mark David Gerson: Sandia Mountains, Albuquerque
Art image by Mark David Gerson: "Unlimited Expansion" (Sandia Mountains)
Saturday, November 18 ~ Santa Fe, New Mexico
I'm in Santa Fe for the afternoon, sitting in the organic cafe at Body, jotting down (yet again) my preferences for a new home.
I've done this frequently over the past two years of travel and have learned that nonattachment is an integral part of the process: detachment from the criteria I'm setting out, detachment from all conventional definitions of home, and detachment from all expectations of outcome...including the one that has me trading full-time travel for any kind of home base right now.
It's not always easy to surrender to the highest direction, without even knowing what it is (another of those irritating Wisdom-Keeper precepts.) But I'm doing my best.
My list complete, I do one of those public school compare-and-contrast exercises, using Albuquerque (for which I have gained a renewed affection this week) as my model.
Pretty much everything checks off, which would be cool, except for that nagging sense that something isn't quite right. Something is off.
And then I hear two words that send a shiver of dread pulsing down my spine: safe and comfortable.
"Albuquerque," I hear, "is safe and comfortable."
Now, don't get me wrong. Those are admirable characteristics in many contexts. Are they admirable in this one? For me? Can I wedge them into my preference list?
Parts of me would like to think that two years on the road have earned me "safe and comfortable." Other parts don't see "safe and comfortable" as much of a reward.
In this moment, I don't know.
In this moment, I don't even know what to do or where to go after Thanksgiving on Thursday, let alone where I'm going to live (assuming that my traveling days are, indeed, drawing to an end).
In this moment, all I can do is surrender to the uncertainty -- all of it, even as it feels neither safe nor comfortable.
Friday, November 17 ~ Albuquerque, New Mexico
I'm pulling out of the post office parking lot on San Antonio Drive having mailed the first copies of my new Wisdom-Keeper Training program across the U.S. and overseas. I should feel happy, relieved, complete.
Instead I'm disoriented. It's as though the synapses in my brain are firing randomly in all directions at once and the car is responding accordingly: driving off, it seems, in all directions at once.
It's disconcerting, but I feel powerless to do anything about it. It's as though the hands on the steering wheel are not mine, have nothing to do with me. It's as though I'm on some theme park ride gone awry.
Finally, I manage to maneuver the car to the Whole Foods Market on Wyoming Boulevard and myself into the deli for a late lunch.
What's going on? I ask myself.
At first I think it's the postpartum kind of thing that happens to many writers and creators when they complete a project and then find themselves tumbling uncomfortably into the ensuing void.
No, it's something else.
Then I remember some of the words I wrote in The Wisdom-Keeper Training: something about not redefining oneself but undefining oneself. There's even a declaration that goes something like this:
I erase all labels, categories and classifications from my life and step free of all the boxes and bindings in which they have restricted and constricted me.
Clearly a disorienting concept.
And then I remember some of my other odd feelings and experiences since completing my work on The Wisdom-Keeper Training yesterday and realize the program is working....on me!
Old ways in my life are breaking down. The full-time traveling, for example, is definitely on its way out. I just don't know in this moment what's replacing it.
The boxes, labels and classifications too: Nothing I try to slot myself into feels right anymore. Whatever comfort zones they represented are gone, gone, gone. And it's not comfortable!
Suddenly, though, I feel better. I feel better because I know what's going on. Sort of. And I feel better because The Wisdom-Keeper Training is definitely living up to its sub-subtitle: Charting New Directions...for Yourself & Humanity.
My new directions are charting themselves out for me, a mapping that was not only activated but accelerated by my creation of this program.
Funny thing is, I really didn't know what The Wisdom-Keeper Training was even about when the first tidbits of information came to me a couple of months ago. Through the creation process, it charted first its own direction and now mine.
I'm awed. Not by anything I've done. I'm awed by the power of surrender, which never ceases to surprise and amaze me. Which never ceases to carry me, wonderstruck, into the unknown.
The Wisdom-Keeper Training: The Way of the New Medicine Wheel is available at an early bird special price of US$222 until December 2, after which the price rises to US$288.
The Wisdom-Keeper Binder includes a 45-page study guide, 4 CDs of meditations and guided visualizations, 7 Initiations and 5 Wisdom-Keeper/New Medicine Wheel Cards.
To order a copy, click here.
Friday, November 03, 2006
Thursday, November 2 ~ Santa Fe, New Mexico
I wake up well before dawn, my head buzzing with words demanding a place on the page. Often when this happens, I struggle between the human desire to go back to sleep and the divine imperative to record what is pushing through me.
This morning there's no struggle. Not because my I’m more willing to surrender. No, I'm so tired from lack of sleep, there's no space for resistance. I simply reach over for the pad and pen I keep next to the bed and, eyes still closed, begin to scrawl.
What comes through over the next hour is a massive and powerful download of information regarding The Wisdom-Keeper Training: The Way of the New Medicine Wheel, the self-study program I described in my most recent newsletter.
When I'm done, I'm so wired it feels as though I've just downed a dozen cups of coffee. Needless to say, I can't sleep.
Instead, I ponder the information I've received, information that puts a new twist both on the program and on the commitments I've made to those who have already ordered it.
You see, my initial assumption was that this program would simply translate a canceled five-week tele-class into a self-study package of five CDs and energy drawings. To those who purchased it in this prepublication period, I promised five weekly Wisdom-Keeper installments, with the first to have been mailed this week.
I should have known better.
Earlier this year, I planned The Seven Initiations of Mastery as a Santa Fe retreat. Also canceled for lack of registration, it turned into a successful tele-class...a tele-class that, in the end, bore little resemblance to my initial vision for the retreat.
This morning, through my sleep-deprived haze and caffeine-like buzz, I realize that history is staging a repeat performance.
It's as though my initial vision is, at times, a teaser, a trick of spirit that commits me to a project that will be considerably different and more powerful than I first thought.
Perhaps that's why, as I felt Santa Fe's pull yesterday and recognized that here is where The Wisdom-Keeper Training would be birthed and anchored, I experienced a panic attack.
I remember saying to myself, in the midst of the waves of fear, that if I'm feeling this much terror, Something Really Big must be waiting for me.
It was. It is. And The Wisdom-Keeper Training is part of it.
I understand now what The New Medicine Wheel of the subtitle is about. I see now that farming out the material in five installments would be the antithesis of the new paradigm it represents, of the integration and self-empowerment it stands for.
I realize too that my original deadline for the first installment is as meaningless as the installment process itself.
And then I think about those who are expecting Installment #1 this week.
"Oh, God", I say to myself, "I have to finish the whole thing this weekend! People have paid. I've made a commitment."
The panic returns.
It heightens after I spend two and a half hours typing this morning's notes into my computer, only to discover that -- Mercury being retrograde and all -- the entire text has irretrievably vanished down an electronic rabbit hole.
Grateful that I still have my longhand scrawl, I ponder some more...the meaning of the experience...the meaning of The Wisdom-Keeper Training...the meaning of commitment...
1) The Experience: The energy underlying the words I was transcribing was so powerful that I could barely keep my eyes open through the typing. The act of typing those words was, itself, an activation...one that, apparently, needs to be repeated. Also, despite what I believe, there's no rush to get this done! (See #3, Commitment)
2) The Wisdom-Keeper Training: There are layers and levels to this material that I'm still discovering and that are transforming me through the discovery process (a process that includes this piece of writing). The tag line that just came through for the program now makes perfect sense: Charting New Directions...for Yourself and Humanity.
3) Commitment: My commitment cannot be to an artificial deadline. Rather, it must be to excellence and integrity: the integrity of the material and my integrity in communicating what's going on to those of you in the prepublication group.
It's long been clear to me that the moment someone commits to an event or session the activation process begins, and that their initiation continues to, through and beyond the actual experience.
The same, I realize in this moment, applies to The Wisdom-Keeper Training.
The moment I committed to it -- up at 12,000 feet in Rocky Mountain National Park on September 1 -- my Wisdom-Keeper activation began. It continued through my visits to South Dakota and the Midwest (where it was expressed in all events), into Canada (where it pushed my ghosts to the surface) and into this moment (where my newfound understanding of commitment allows me to surrender more fully to the material and to its implications in my life).
I thought those who choose to prepurchase The Wisdom-Keeper Training were getting a price break to compensate them for the wait. That may be true, but what's truer is that they are getting a bonus as, energetically, they travel with me through the birth canal of the new medicine wheel.
Rather than breaking my commitment (by forcing them to wait longer), I'm freeing them to make their own commitment: to all the transformations occurring right now as a consequence of this process.
Once again, I marvel at the higher wisdom playing out in my life. I'm grateful for it, even when it manifests inconveniently. And I find it fitting that all this has emerged in Santa Fe, a city whose name translates as holy faith.
A prepublication special price for The Wisdom-Keeper Training is in effect until December 22. Click here for details.
Photo of Santa Fe sky by Guinevere Rose Yoseyva
Sunday, October 29 ~ Mt. Sinai Subdivision, Dalton, Georgia
No commandment-inscribed stone tablets drop into my hands as I drive through this hilltop subdivision across the road from my hotel. Yet something drops into my consciousness as my thoughts wander back to my recent visit to Montreal.
Families are funny things. Growing up, my relationship with my older sister Susan, my sole sibling, was volatile, occasionally violent and often ugly.
From my childhood perspective, of course, she was the demon terrorist, responsible for many of my fears, scars and traumas. I'm sure that from her point of view, I was the kid brother from hell.
In a recent e-mail, Susan reminds me that our mother always swore one of us would end up in jail for the murder of the other.
Although it never happened, those childhood experiences -- and terrors -- stayed with me into adulthood. Not surprisingly, they colored my relationship with Susan, from whom I always maintained what I considered to be a safe distance.
We spoke rarely, except during our mother's declining health and subsequent death. And my physical departure, first from Montreal and later from Canada, didn't increase the frequency of our communication. Nor did the advent of email have much of an impact.
And so life continued as I maintained both my wounds and emotional shields.
By the time I crossed into Canada 16 days ago, some family business had produced more communication but no more closeness, at least not for me. In fact, the thought of seeing her for the first time in nearly a decade probably contributed to some of my resistance to the visit.
And then two things happened that began to shatter my decades-old patterns.
The first was when Susan told me she had freed up her entire weekend and would be taking Friday off from work to be able to spend time with me. I was stunned.
The second occurred as I drove into Montreal and, visualizing the next day's planned reunion, saw myself crying.
I did cry.
For the first time -- perhaps ever -- I was deeply moved to see her. For the first time -- perhaps ever -- I was happy to be with her and felt safe and comfortable in her presence.
My Montreal weekend was powerful for many reasons, some of which I wrote about in Ghosts I. Another reason, one I wasn't going write about until Susan encouraged me to do so, was our reunion.
Of course, Susan has grown and matured. Who hasn't over the course of a decade?
But I see now, on the slopes of Sinai, that even as Susan and I grew up, changed and matured, the put-upon little brother never did. At 25, 45 and 52, I was still always 5 or 8 or 12 when I thought about her, talked to her or spent time with her.
I'm stunned to realize that, for more than half my life, my relationship with my sister was built on a foundation that crumbled and dissolved long ago. It's been built on a lie, on an illusion, on a fog that was waiting for my breath to dissipate it.
As I celebrate and give thanks for a closeness I've never before felt with my sister, I feel a need to inventory all my relationships, past and present.
What other illusions am I living that prevent me from experiencing the openheartedness I now feel toward my sister? Which relationships are still stuck in a time-warp?
The moment I pose the question, one particular relationship leaps to mind. Ouch.
If there's one, there must be others. However many there are, it's up to me to fast-forward them into the present -- living and relating as who I am today with the present-day personas of everyone in my life.
As I wrote so presciently in The MoonQuest, "The past is passed. I let it go."
Photo by Robert Montgomery: Mark David & his sister, Susan, in Montreal
Sunday, October 29, 2006
Thursday, October 26, 2006 ~ Hillsville, Virginia
I walk into Shoney's Restaurant joyful and grateful for my life and journey. Although dinner isn't very good, the server is so outgoing and heartful, his energy is all the food I need.
As I get up to leave, though, my mood undergoes a 180-degree shift.
Suddenly, I feel out of place, displaced...perhaps even misplaced. Suddenly, I don't know how I fit in, where I belong. Suddenly, I feel lost.
Yes, I'm without a conventional home. But that isn't new. This feeling is.
I step out into the cooling Hillsville night. It's dark now and nothing is familiar.
Nothing is familiar....
Nothing is familiar!
I've covered lots of territory in 23 months -- 38 states, to be precise, many of them multiple times.
Recently, though, many of the roads have been familiar ones. This was my fifth visit to Michigan, for example.
With so much else in my life so unsettled, it's been reassuring to know where I am, to know my way around, as I do now in southern Michigan and quite a few other parts of the country.
Hillsville is different. I've never been this far south in Virginia. Nor have I ever driven through the Carolinas, Georgia or Alabama, my anticipated direction in coming days.
Put another way, I'm about to venture into new states...and not only States of the Union.
The disorientation I feel in this moment is perfect. It's a direct consequence of breaking old patterns and new ground.
It's heralding the new beginning I knew my visit to Canada would initiate,
It's not comfortable. But that discomfort is now balanced with understanding and excitement.
If I have a sense of the states I'll be traveling to, I don't yet know what they will look or how they will feel.
It's all new territory I'm driving into, diving into -- in every aspect of my life.
From those new states, my life will never look the same again.
Photo by Mark David Gerson: the view from the Blue Ridge Parkway, near Hillsville, Virginia
Monday, October 23, 2006 ~ Champlain, New York
I feel a certain apprehension as I approach the border crossing at Champlain. The last time I crossed into the U.S., at Baudette, Minnesota nine and a half years ago, I looked suspicious enough to warrant an hour-plus vehicle search.
A few years later my U.S. green card application was nearly turned down because my then-wife lacked sufficient income to act as my financial sponsor.
So, despite my valid green card and Canadian passport, not to mention the New Mexico plates on my car, I'm a bit nervous during the 15-minute wait.
But like the crossing into Canada last week, this one involves little more than a few questions and a document and trunk check. Before I know it I'm through.
Before I even have a chance to acknowledge the return to miles, gallons and greenbacks, a little voice whispers in my ear: Welcome home.
I feel a catch in my throat, a welling up of emotion.
Yes, the U.S. is now my home and this is a powerful acknowledgment of my connection with the land here.
But it's more than that. By revisiting my past and freeing my ghosts, I'm more at home within myself. Truly, there's no better place to come home to.
Monday, October 23, 2006 ~ Montreal, Quebec
Its raining as I pull out of the hotel's underground garage and make my way to the Champlain Bridge. Another bridge, this time taking me off the Island of Montreal and south toward the border.
Like Lot's wife, I can't help but glance back at the city I'm leaving behind as I cross the bridge.
Unlike Lot's wife, there's nothing to see.
A mist-like veil shrouds the city, its mountain and skyline. Montreal has vanished...as if all that it was for me was another ghost that has now moved on.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006 ~ Montreal, Quebec
My first night in Montreal... another journey back in time.
As I walk the rainy two miles to my hotel from dinner, my mind wanders past the familiar landmarks of my hometown to my first night back in Toronto, a few days and many lifetimes ago...
I'm eating dinner with a friend at a Chinese restaurant around the corner from my old Toronto apartment.
From my table by the window, I'm aware of an earlier me sitting across the restaurant at another table, with another friend from another time. Then I glance out the window and see multiple other incarnations of myself walking along Yonge Street.
Ghosts. My first hours in Toronto were filled with them.
This first night in Montreal has even more. And they're older. Ghosts of nearly three decades of my life prowl these streets. More await me tomorrow when I see my sister...when I step inside the house we grew up in...when I travel the paths of my childhood.
I've done all this before. After I moved to Toronto in 1983 -- most particularly after my mother passed eight months later -- every trip back to Montreal has been like this, steeped in memories. New ones each time, even as I visit the same old places.
Yet this time is different. This time I'm surrounded by ghosts.
They say ghosts are spirits who are stuck between planes, not free to move to the next world because they have not completed something in this one.
Is that what this time travel is about for me? Not exorcising my ghosts but bringing them to the kind of completion that will release them, and me, to move forward?
I feel that most palpably in this neighborhood where I spent the first eight years of my adult life.
I'm walking with detached curiosity, checking things out, when panic suddenly grips me in a vise so tight I can barely breathe. In this moment, all I want to do is get out of Montreal, as quickly as possible.
It's a ghost. One I never knew was there. And it terrifies me.
I steady my breathing and keep walking. In the dark. In the rain.
I long for escape but know there is none. I know this is the ghost that brought me back here today.
It's the same ghost that pushed me out of Montreal, always made it uncomfortable for me to visit and was one of the foundation stones of my resistance to this trip back.
It's name is Not Enough and it has haunted me in various guises all my life.
When I least expect it, that ghost triggers the feeling that what I'm doing can never measure up, that what I am can never be enough.
That ghost was born here, in Montreal, and even as it travels with me, this city is its home.
If you're not Canadian, you may not know that French is the dominant language in Montreal and all of Quebec. My French is far from perfect.
This means that every time I speak French here, I feel inadequate. Not enough.
My language skills aren't the cause of these feelings. Rather, they're a constant reminder of their presence.
It's uncomfortable. Painfully so.
I see now why I had to move away. I see now why I'm back.
This ghost is ready to complete its transition. We're both ready to move on.
Only I can free it. Only by freeing it can I free myself.
Part of that liberation is the realization. Part of it are these words.
In the opening of my novel, The MoonQuest, the main character is an old man, reluctant to write his story. Yet he knows that only by doing so will he be freed to "move on to other realms, set off on other journeys."
Acknowledging my ghosts and letting them go frees me to do the same, makes it possible for me to cross a bridge more significant still than the Blue Water Bridge into Canada I wrote about last week. It's a bridge that spans my entire time in this country.
It's a bridge that opens me to the new life and new adventures that await me on the other side.
Art by Mark David Gerson: Ville Marie, Montreal (#107). To view my art/energy portraits of Toronto (#106), click here.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006 ~ Montreal, Quebec
I mentioned in Foreign Exchange my attraction to "master numbers." Or is it their attraction to me...?
As I check into my hotel room on the 11th floor, the bedside clock reads 3:33 p.m.
Something powerful is waiting for me here in Montreal. It's in the the numbers.
Friday, October 27, 2006
Wednesday, October 17, 2006 ~ Toronto, Ontario
As I drive through the city to Hwy. 401, my route out of Toronto and eastward to Montreal, I gain a new understanding of the phrase,there's no place like home.
In The Wizard of Oz Dorothy repeats it three times and it takes her back to Kansas. It takes her home.
For Dorothy it's an acknowledgment that no place, even Oz, can match the magnetic pull of where she came from.
For me, after two and a half days in the metropolis that was my home for a dozen years, it's the final nail in the coffin of my old concept of home. There's no place anymore that is the kind of home I once knew: a place where I felt rooted, grounded and secure. A place I could nest into. A place I could be from.
My first response to Toronto after nearly a decade was that we'd grown apart, the city and I. As I drove in and, later, walked around -- rubbernecking all the way -- I felt that I could never live here.
Without warning, though, the strangeness morphed into a kind of familiarity, the familiarity into a kind of nostalgia.
At first I mistook it for an opening to return, to live here again. And why not? I loved being able to walk places, to be free of the car. I loved the diversity, the buzz. I loved being some place where my history spanned longer than a hotel night, where I had friends with whom I shared a common cultural vocabulary.
Yet all the while something nagged at me about those feelings. Something wasn't quite right. I just couldn't identify it.
Today, my time here complete, I realize that my nostalgia isn't for Toronto and my friends here. It's for a concept of home that once felt so comfortably familiar. That once felt so safe.
I realize that Toronto is the last place I felt at home in that way, perhaps the only place I ever felt at home in that way.
I realize that there's no place like that kind of home anymore. I've sensed it for some time. Today I feel it. Today I know it.
Today I shed it to make way for whatever my new concept of home will be.
I don't know yet what that is. It may not even be place-centered.
I do know that wherever I land, for however long that is, home will never be the same.
There's no place like home was. There is a place for what home is becoming.
Photo by Mark David Gerson: Toronto's CN Tower
Friday, October 13, 2006 ~ Woodstock, Ontario
I'm about 95 miles -- er, 150 km -- into Canada when I pull into a Woodstock bank to exchange some U.S. cash for Canadian.
I've always loved numbers and I'm particularly partial to what, in numerology, are called master numbers (numbers with repeating digits, like 11, 44, etc.). So it seems extra significant when the teller takes my $100 in U.S. cash and hands me the Canadian equivalent: $111.11.
Friday, October 13, 2006 ~ Port Huron, Michigan
As I drive across the Blue Water Bridge that links Port Huron, Michigan with Sarnia, Ontario, I listen to these song lyrics on my car's CD player:
There is a bridge that you can cross
On the other side is freedom
I don't know who's singing or even the name of the song. It was a compilation of unidentified inspirational songs gifted to me when I left Sedona in December 2004. And I play it whenever, in my travels, I cross a bridge of significance.
This is a bridge of significance.
I have not been in my native Canada since July 1997, when, on a similar if shorter journey, my car tugged me south out of Ontario and into Minnesota.
I never planned to leave and, having left, never expected to be gone for nearly a decade.
Now here I am, nervously approaching Canadian customs, still feeling some of the tugs of resistance I wrote about a few days ago in Revelation.
A few official questions, a glance at my passport, green card and license plate and I'm waved through.
Even as I struggle to reacquaint myself with kilometers and degrees Celsius, I feel a rush of emotion. I'm crying.
Is it a wave of affection for my long, lost homeland?
Or is it a realization that my homeland is no longer home?
In a paradoxical way, it's both.
Although I've never been to this part of Ontario, there's a longing for it to feel familiar, to resonate as home.
Instead, much has conspired to make this feel foreign.
My cell provider has me on a foreign calling plan. My credit/debit cards will be adding a 3% foreign-exchange charge to my Canadian transactions. My auto insurer insists I carry a foreign-travel insurance card.
Then there's the whole metric thing. I was pretty conversant with liters 'n meters when I crossed into the U.S. Now, it feels, well, foreign, as do Canadian banknotes, redesigned since I last saw one.
And although I've rarely been able to identify my own Canadian accent (obvious to any American when I utter a word ending in out), I now hear it all around me and it sounds, well, foreign.
So, what is "home"?
I've explored that word/concept at great depth during my two years of nonstop travel. I sense I'll be going even deeper with it during my time here.
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Wednesday, October 11, 2006 ~ Warren, Michigan
You can't go home again.
~ Thomas Wolfe, 1934
It's late. Past midnight. So it really is Wednesday, not Tuesday.
I've been back from tonight's sound initiation event for a couple of hours but I'm too tired to go to sleep, not an uncommon experience after a live event or teleconference.
I'm also still awake because of a revelation I had a while ago.
Yesterday in Flagging Resistance, I wrote about my adventures with my auto insurer and the mystery resistance that had lifted sufficiently to get me the last bit of paperwork I needed to drive in Canada.
Well, if emotion is an accurate polygraph, I seem to have discovered at least one aspect of the mystery.
It happened while was on the phone with a Toronto friend, batting around possible causes for whatever anxiety had been causing my resistance.
Was I afraid I would have difficulty getting back into the U.S.? Possibly. I've certainly had some experiences to support that anxiety.
Was I afraid I'd have such a great time revisiting my roots that I wouldn't want to come back? Less likely, but still possible.
And then the aha! that was more than a possible point of resistance. It was the piece de resistance.
I realized that, for me, Toronto is like the emergency stash of cash some people keep in the back of a drawer or closet. As long as they know it's there, they feel safe. It's a security blanket, never to be pulled out, other than to reassure themselves that it's still present for them.
What would happen, though, if they opened that closet or drawer and the money was gone?
What happen to me if, in visiting Toronto, I realized that returning there was no longer an option, that it could no longer function as my security blanket...that I no longer had any safety net?
As soon as I spoke those words aloud, I felt a catch in my throat...was close to tears...knew I had touched the truth.
I knew, too, why it was so important to make the trip.
A few months ago, when considering a Canadian visit, an inner voice told me I would be returning "to say goodbye."
It wasn't until last night that I understood what that meant.
As Thomas Wolfe put it 72 years ago, I can't go home again. I can't because what I perceive to be home lost that designation on June 19, 1997, the day I drove away.
Yet as long as part of me continues to cling to that onetime home as an emergency hatch, I will never be fully free to move forward because one foot will always be anchored in the past.
There's a scene in my novel The MoonQuest where the new king bows before his father, who has abdicated in his son's favor.
Distressed, the old king pulls his son to his feet.
"Do not bow to me, my son. I stand here as the past, and you must never worship the past. ... Honor me by living your own reign, by learning the lessons I could not. ... Don't let your vision linger longingly on the past. Let it go, my son. Let it go."
We all have bits of the past we worship, however unconsciously. We all have old places, attitudes, behaviors and relationships we cling to, just in case. We all feel better flying with a net.
What I learned last night, and continue to learn, is that there are no safety nets, no security blankets, no emergency exits and no secret stashes that can save me. There is only this moment and the currency of faith, which will always sustain me, protect me and keep me moving forward.
What I learned is that any tether to the past prevents me from soaring...flying free...savoring the adventure of the moment. And that even one toe stuck in the old home prevents me from living fully, passionately and prosperously in the new one.
Photo by Mark David Gerson: Death Valley, California
Tuesday, October 10 ~ Warren, Michigan
I was in Brookfield, Wisconsin last week, enjoying the last of autumn's warmth on a morning walk. As I looked ahead to a break in the trees, a Canadian flag fluttered in an evergreen frame.
Oh, I thought, maybe I will go to Canada when I'm done in Detroit next week.
See, I'd been wondering for weeks in which direction to point my Mercury Monterey when my final scheduled event was done on October 12. Canada -- where I lived until nine years ago when another vehicle pulled me south, into the United States -- had been an on-again, off-again option for some time.
Yesterday, feeling the power of a visit to land of my birth, I finally decided to do it.
And then I realized something. The Canadian insurance card I had requested weeks ago had never turned up. Driving in Canada without it was a risk I wasn't prepared to take.
So I called my insurer, explained the situation and asked if they would overnight one to me at their expense, given that it had been their error.
"Of course we'll overnight it," the customer service rep said. "But we won't pay for it."
I argued, whined and bitched, but to no avail. So I let it go. Not meant to be, I figured.
Sunday night, feeling as though something within me had shifted, I decided to give it another go.
This time, I explained the situation and asked the rep to mail the card to me at my Detroit hotel, gambling that it would arrive in time.
"Wait a minute," he said.
A long minute later he returned. "Give me your address. We'll overnight it to you."
This morning it arrived...at the insurance company's expense.
We're not always conscious of the resistance we carry. Nor are we always conscious when it lifts.
Somewhere in that 24-hour period, something shifted. Somewhere in that 24-hour period, I shifted, and the resistance I couldn't see dissolved.
Friday or Saturday I'll cross the U.S.-Canada border for the first time in nine years. It will be a journey across not an old border, but a new one, as I re-experience both who I was from the perspective of who I am now, and who I am now from the perspective of who I was.
I'm guessing it will be quite the trip!
There's more about this upcoming visit in my latest newsletter, The Currency of Faith
Monday, October 9, 2006 ~ Williamston, Michigan
When you make the two into one...and when you make male and female into a single one, so that the male shall not be male, and the female shall not be female:...then you will enter [the kingdom].
— Jesus, The Gospel of Thomas
I wasn't aware of these words, attributed to Jesus, when I wrote Free to Love, Free to Be last month.
Nor had I heard them when I began my long-overdue drawing of the Teton Mountains ten days ago.
As with many of the manifestations of sacred America that have called to me over the past 22 months, the Teton Mountains pulled me to them without revealing why.
Yes, their majesty is breathtaking. And, yes, their granite profile against the deep blue of a Wyoming sky filled me with awe.
But it wasn't until I finished this drawing that I recognized, not only why these mountains were so important to me, but why an experience of their energy had eluded me until July.
And it wasn't until today, when a friend here shared with me the above quote from the Gospel of Thomas, that it all came together.
My first view of the Tetons, and the one I ultimately chose to draw, was from Idaho’s Route 32. From that rarely photographed perspective, the mountains are soft and rounded, dramatically different from the jagged, sharper edges that pierce the sky on the east side of the range in Grand Teton National Park.
When the drawing was nearly done, I had a large empty space in the lower right-hand corner. I stared at it for a long time, willing inspiration to strike. It did, in a surprising way.
I filled the space with a sketch of the Tetons from the park perspective.
Still, I didn't see what had birthed through me.
And then, the Aha! as I recognized one perspective as feminine and the other as masculine, as I glimpsed the implications of displaying both on the same drawing.
Same mountains. Different perspective. Equal force. All one.
Together, those two innate forces carry infinitely more power than either could project on its own.
We, too, carry those twin perspectives within us. The Teton Mountains remind us of that and call on us to access both aspects, masculine and feminine, as the source of our power. Jesus reminds us to blend and merge them equally into our beingness.
Before July I wasn't ready for the activation the Tetons performed on me. Before this drawing, I wasn't ready to see it. Before today's quote, I couldn't understand why it was so important to embody it.
Photos/Art by Mark David Gerson
#1-My drawing of the Teton Mountains
#2-Teton Mountains: View from the Idaho
#2-Teton Mountains: View from the Grand Teton National Park
Saturday, September 30 ~ Brookfield, Wisconsin
I'm driving north on Calhoun, on my way to do a private session when I pass this half-hidden sign near an apparently not-so-level crossing.
Truly, a sign of the times...
Photo by Mark David Gerson
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Tuesday, September 26, 2006 ~ Buffalo County, South Dakota
I leave Oacoma, South Dakota (where by some bizarre synchronicity I also spent a night last September...in the same hotel) and drive the few miles into Chamberlin across the Missouri River.
It's a powerful river and powerful crossing over the rusting old bridge with its sacred geometry-like trusses.
There's something about crossing a river, particularly one with the force of a Columbia, Missouri or Mississippi, that always leaves me feeling as if I'm moving into the new.
When I first left Sedona, a friend gave me a tape with a half dozen little known inspirational songs sung by unnamed artists. The first track begins There's a bridge that you can cross / On the other side is freedom, and it always runs through my head at moments like this.
Across the river in Chamberlin, I follow the signs pointing the way (or so I think) to eastbound I-90. Yet as the road carries me north, away from town and the freeway, I can't figure out why I seem to be heading farther from the highway and closer to North Dakota.
Lulled by the Missouri River to the west and rolling hills to the east, I continue driving north.
Finally, I realize that this is an alternative route, for semis and other mega-vehicles. I'm about to turn back when I pass a sign that reads Welcome to Buffalo County.
Then I get it: More buffalo energy. As always, it's welcome.
Photo by Mark David Gerson
Tuesday, September 26, 2006 ~ Oacoma, South Dakota
Most people who drive cross-country in the U.S. gas it through the Great Plains states as quickly as they can, complaining about the tedium of arrow-straight roads and pancake-flat topography.
While I prefer my prairie to be gently rolling, even the flatness has its attraction.
Here on the plains of South Dakota, Nebraska and Iowa, where you truly can see forever on a clear day, expansiveness rules. I remember the same feeling 20 years ago when Canada's transcontinental train carried me across the Saskatchewan prairie.
The vast openness -- the endless land and endless sky -- speaks to me of boundless opportunities, limitless possibility. The emptiness suggests the primordial void from which all creation emerges. It's a meditative space, unfixed and open, and it reminds me of the importance of un-busy-ness, of allowance, of getting out of my own way to let life's magic unfold for me. It reminds me of the road to infinity.
Sunday, September 24, 2006 ~ Rapid City, South Dakota
I'm reminded in this moment of some of the reasons why the sound healing work I do is so powerful...for me.
Of course, it's gratifying when participants share their experiences of an event, as they did this afternoon here in Rapid City. And when I'm making a return visit to a place, as I've done today, it's also gratifying to hear about the life changes sparked or supported by my previous visit.
Though my human self welcomes the validation, it's my experience of the sound that keeps me coming back for more.
As meditation and other spiritual practices do for some of you, the sounds that vibrate through me take me to a different place, a higher place, a truer place.
Sometimes, like today, I have a profoundly physical experience, feeling the vibrations in particular parts of my body as it shifts, aligns, recalibrates.
Stephen, one of this afternoon's participants, spoke of feeling as though he was a car and was in the shop for a tune-up during the sound initiation. I'm very aware of experiencing that same kind of realignment and recalibration whenever I sing the sacred sounds and light codes that have chosen me as their transmitter.
Today's sound, though, is something apart.
Just as some people sense a connection to the dolphins of a particular region, I have a powerful connection to the buffalo herds of the Black Hills south of Rapid City.
I had my first experience of them last year. As I drove into the area's wildlife preserve that is their home, I declared, I want to see buffalo.
Then call them in, with sound, I heard in reply.
And so I did, singing sounds I had never before sung. Within moments, a giant herd was crossing the road (see photo).
Today, as I begin to sing, I'm aware once again that these sounds are different. Almost immediately, I realize that it's the song and energy of the buffalo that's moving through me. Not just any buffalo, but the buffalo of the Black Hills.
Something else about today's sound: It's totally unpredictable. While that's always true, that unpredictability is even more pronounced this afternoon.
Today, there's little melody. Instead, the style of the sound shifts frequently, dramatically and without warning from moment to moment, forcing me, even more than usual, to abandon any pretense of control.
Which brings me back to the power for me of these sound initiations and sessions. They move me into profound levels of surrender, insist that I live in the certainty of uncertainty and draw me away from the limitations and constrictions of my mind. And they accomplish these in ways that speaking and writing rarely do quite as fully.
Drawing comes comes close. But even there, my mind can more easily intrude as it tries to figure out that which transcends mind-meaning.
And so what did the buffalo sing this afternoon?
Many things, most of which lie beyond human understanding. One thing, though, they always remind me: that it's possible to be powerful and strong, to have a mighty presence, to carry the wisdom of the ages and to hold the medicine of the gods...to do all this and more while remaining firmly anchored on this earth at this time and in this moment.
Photo by Mark David Gerson: The Buffalo of Custer State Park, Black Hills, South Dakota
Wednesday, September 6, 2006 ~ Santa Fe, New Mexico
I'm sitting at the downtown Borders one dialog away from completing a preliminary draft of the screenplay adaptation of my novel The MoonQuest when my healer friend Patricia walks into the cafe.
Let me explain something about Patricia. When I was first given her name nearly two years ago, it was with the warning that she was nearly impossible to reach. I reached her on my first try.
I've never reached her by phone again, but I always run into her in unlikely places at pivotal moments in my life.
Today, as it turns out, is one of those.
Whatever the fate of The MoonQuest, each time I read it or work on it, I receive a powerful activation. So it's no coincidence that Patricia should turn up in this moment of completion.
We chat about my divorce and she remarks that I'm the freest she's ever seen me of the residue of my marriage and of my relationship with my ex-wife.
"It's time to open to a new relationship," she says.
"I don't know," I say. Certainly, when I walked into Borders a few hours ago, a relationship was the last thing on my mind or in my conscious desiring.
"You of all people," she insists, "can't let fear stop you."
We chat some more and I share with her a story I shared with many of you in an August 2004 newsletter (Who Do You Think You Are?) -- that for the first 20 years of my adult life, I lived as a gay man.
In the few years before I met my wife, I stopped identifying myself as gay -- or straight. Rather, I began to open to the ultimate truth of myself as a sexual being who could not and would not be categorized.
Today, nearly two years after the end of my marriage, I haven't changed my view.
We come into this life with many roles and missions. One of mine, I have long felt, is to be a bridge between the strict gender/orientation labels of the past and the unclassifiable energies of the future.
When I told my gay friends eight years ago that I was getting married, to a woman, I explained that I hadn't fallen in love with a body and set of genitals. I had fallen in love with a wonderful spirit who just happened to occupy a female physique. From that place of love and passion, gender and orientation were irrelevant and anything was possible.
The result was the most profound, intimate and powerful relationship of my life.
The next one, Patricia tells me, will be even more amazing.
When I leave Borders a short while later, I feel as though a pall has lifted from me. I feel lighter, freer.
If walked into Borders still closed to the idea of relationship, I walk out willing, open and ready...and with a strong sense of my next partner's gender.
But whether it's a man or woman doesn't matter...can't matter. If it's a man, it doesn't mean I'm gay any more than it being a woman says I'm straight.
What I am and must remain on this journey into oneness, is the fullest expression of all my potentials, sexual and otherwise. What I am and must continue to realize is freedom from all definitions, expectations and classifications -- mine and others' -- as I open to the love that I am and the love that is open, ready and available to me...and to all of us
Art by Mark David Gerson: Soul Mates (Red Canyon, Utah) -- Soaring independently from a shared base, this pair of hoodoos (pinnacled rock formations) represents what is, for me, the true nature of the soul mate relationship: common grounding that frees each partner to reach for the stars.
Monday, August 28, 2006 ~ Fort Collins, Colorado
Despite my powerful experiences at Mount Shasta in July, I never planned to create a Shasta drawing. It felt, well, cliched. After all, what collection of sacred/metaphysical images doesn't include one of Mount Shasta?
Yet as I look at my photographs of the mountain, I hear the words Lemuria Calling, and I know I have no choice. My unplanned drawing of Mount Shasta has named itself. And the name is rife with personal significance.
If you've known me more than a few years, you know that, with my friends Karen and Larry Weaver, my ex-wife and I owned a metaphysical store in Sedona by that name. Like a shooting star, Lemuria Calling had a short but powerfully bright life and was responsible for, among other gifts, getting to meet some of you.
The store is gone, but the energy of Lemuria continues to infuse all my work -- from some of the symbols I draw to some of the healing/sacred sounds I sing.
There are many tales about the fate of that fabled Pacific continent. The one that has always resonated most powerfully for me is that Lemuria ascended and still exists intact in higher dimensions, a model and template for us as we travel our own ascension journey.
Mount Shasta's longstanding link with Lemuria -- Telos, a Lemurian city is said to lie beneath it -- makes Shasta a powerful ascension portal, a gateway to the "heaven on earth" we are each called to create in our lives.
Mount Shasta's call, then, is also Lemuria's. It's a reminder that through our thoughts, choices and actions -- through hearts open to ourselves and each other -- we can live in the Kingdom of Heaven, the New Jerusalem, the Golden Age of Lemuria... now and in every moment.
Art by Mark David Gerson: Lemuria Calling (Mount Shasta)
Monday, August 21, 2006
Saturday, July 29, 2006 ~ Bighorn National Forest, Wyoming
Nine years ago, the call of the Bighorn Mountains was so strong that I felt obliged to travel each of the three highways that crisscross it. Today, now that I'm complete with the Medicine Wheel, I will travel only one more -- in order to get back to the east side of the mountains and the interstate.
For reasons I don't understand, I'm pulled south, to US-16, to make my crossing. Yet as I climb the mountain, parts of my mind question this decision. So far, at least, the route isn't nearly as scenic as the one I traveled this morning.
And then I reach the summit at Powder River Pass.
I pull into the turnout, look up and am immediately catapulted back to July 1997. I remember having been pulled out of the car at this very spot nine years ago and the unequivocal urge to hike up the rocky slope now before me. I remember, too, seeing images of dragons and hearing the sound of the rocks as they spoke to me of my origins and the origins of time.
Although that experience never left me, its location had. Until moments ago, I didn't know that this was the spot.
Then, I was in a time of powerful transformation and regenesis, on an unknowing journey from my old life in Canada to a new one in Sedona, where, within the year I would be married...within two I would be a father.
Today, less than a week before the finalization of my divorce, I am again in a similar time of change....not knowing where I'm going or why, simply trusting that the journey will carry me there as fearlessly as possible...and grateful for the spirit and energy of these rocks that, once again, support me on that journey.
Photos/Art by Mark David Gerson
#1-My drawing of the Rock Formation
#2-The rock formation at Powder River Pass
Saturday, July 29, 2006 ~ Bighorn National Forest, Wyoming
As I've traveled the highways and byways of America over the past 20 months, it's rare that I've felt called back to any of the places I visited on a similar (if much shorter) journey nine years ago.
That doesn't mean I haven't wanted to return to some of those places. When I have, it's generally been from a desire to anchor myself in the familiar. And when I have acted on that desire, the repeat experience has rarely been as potent as the original.
Today, as I leave Sheridan, Wyoming and climb US-14/14A, I know I am returning to the Medicine Wheel that sits atop Medicine Mountain in the northwestern Bighorn Mountains. What I don't know is which category this visit will fall into.
An hour or so later, as I reach the parking lot for Medicine Wheel National Historic Landmark, I'm still not certain.
The hike to the actual wheel is a largely uphill mile and a half, plenty of time to reminisce about the last time I was here, when Roxy, my cocker spaniel traveling companion, dove joyfully into the welcome coolness of the snow that still covered the mountain's upper flanks.
Then, as an offering, I carried an aboriginal feather fan that had been gifted to me a few weeks earlier.
Roxy and the snows are gone and, today, I travel alone, with my voice as my only offering. Its song, a magical blend of me and the mountain, carries me up the path and into a realization that this is no nostalgia visit.
Somehow and for some reason I have been brought back.
When I reach the summit, at 9,642 feet, I am breathless. Not from the hike. Not from the altitude.
What has taken my breath away is the power of this sacred land...the presence of the 1,000-year-old stone circle...the 7,000 years of Native American worship at this site.
With great reverence, I make a slow clockwise circuit around the 28 spokes of the wheel. After my first circuit, I feel called to go around again. After the second circuit, I begin a third one.
And then I sense a presence...walking with me...holding my hand...guiding me.
Although I don't see him, I know him to be a Grandfather, an Ancient One. I know him to be part of the energy that has called me back to this place.
"At this Medicine Wheel," he tells me, "heaven and earth touch all the time and the veils between dimensions are barely present. This is a transformational portal, a gateway to personal change, a key holder of the Eternal Flame, a pilgrimage site for all Wisdom Keepers."
Wisdom Keepers, he reminds me, don't keep the wisdom they gain for themselves, but plant its seeds wherever they go, whatever they do -- by virtue of their beingness. "Whether you're conscious of it or not, you are spreading and planting those seeds," he insists.
After the third circuit, I want to go around a fourth time and a fifth...perhaps even a sixth.
"No," he says. "Three times is all. More than three times demonstrates a desire to stay stuck, to not move forward and beyond the experience of the wheel."
He then gives me the vision for a drawing of the Medicine Wheel, along with instructions on how to use that drawing as a surrogate for an experience of this physical wheel, and sends me on my way.
Before I leave the circle, I reach into my pocket for a stone from the Yellowstone River that I had planned to send to my daughter. It's shaped like the profile of a bear's head, complete with a black circle where the eye would be. I leave it on one of the wooden fence posts that surrounds the wheel as an offering.
The offering to my daughter becomes this visit, and the drawing.
Photos/Art by Mark David Gerson
#1-My drawing of the Medicine Wheel
#2-The hike up the the Medicine Wheel
#3-The Medicine Wheel atop Medicine Mountain
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
Wednesday, July 26, 2006 ~ Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
I wish I had photographed today's "sign of the times." It was posted at Inspiration Point, at the north rim of what's called the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.
The heading read Shifting Ground and the text spoke of all the changes that had occurred to the canyon here as a result of a 1975 earthquake in the park. It concluded with this piece of universal wisdom:
Take a good look at the view
It won't be the same next time you're here
Not only does the view change, so does the viewer.
Photo by Mark David Gerson: Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Yellowstone National Park
Tuesday, July 25, 2006 ~ Wisdom, Montana
I'm driving south from Missoula, fully expecting to head south into Idaho, where I plan to follow the magical Salmon River Valley. I stop at Lost Trail Pass at 7,014 feet in the Bitterroot Mountains. A few yards south is Idaho and the road to Salmon. A few yards east is Montana's State Route 43, the road to Wisdom.
Figuring I can always use some extra wisdom, I let the car bear east instead of south.
Twenty-six miles later, I enter Wisdom, disappointed that no bolts of lightning have struck me with increased knowingness.
And then the knowingness does strike, with the subtlety that is often wisdom's hallmark.
Wisdom is a reminder of where I already am...when I allow myself to be in it...when I allow myself to surrender into it.
Photo by Mark David Gerson: Wisdom, Montana
Saturday, July 22, 2006
Saturday, July 22, 2006 ~ Post Falls, Idaho
After nearly two weeks in the pressure cooker of volcano country, it's a relief to find myself in the gentler energy of northern Idaho.
Post Falls is just a few miles west of Coeur d'Alene. And any place with heart ("coeur") as part of its name is bound to be embracing.
I've lived among volcanoes before - on two Hawaiian islands and in Northern Arizona - and am familiar with their transformative energy.
Yet my two weeks in the Cascades was different. Perhaps because I wasn't steeped over time in the energy of a single volcano, but was moving from one to the next in rapid succession.
It began with a night spent sleeping under the stars at the 7,000-foot level of Mount Shasta and concluded yesterday afternoon, as I drove eastward, away from Mount Rainier.
In between I experienced dozens of volcanoes and volcanic remnants in California, Oregon and Washington State.
Like the earthquake energy of the California coast, the volcanoes of the Cascades are filled with the energy of upheaval. Explosive upheaval. Disruption. Displacement.
It was instructive to drive up to Mount St. Helens, for example, and see where the mountainside was blown away by the 1980 eruption and how the Toutle River was forced by volcanic debris to change its course.
It reminded me that an explosive upheaval of volcanic proportions in my own life 21 months ago blew up my status quo and forced the river of my life into new, unimaginable directions.
As well, it was somewhat disturbing yesterday to drive up to Mount Rainer, near Seattle, and sense the fiery force behind its cool, glacial exterior. In fact, each time I looked at the mountain, I clearly saw its flank collapse in an explosion of fire, rock and ash.
Whatever Mount Rainier does in the physical, its message - at least for me - is that disruption and displacement are the norm, and unexpected shifts in direction are to be expected. It confirmed a dream I had a few nights earlier, which promised "a pile of change" and suggested yet more radical evolution.
And, once more, it's a call to live as fully in the moment as I can. For there's no telling what the next moment will bring.
Photo by Mark David Gerson: Mount St. Helens, Washington
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
Wednesday, July 12, 2006 ~ Fortuna, California
As I was driving through the majestic redwoods earlier today, then thinking I would spend the night just north of here in Eureka (which, to my mind, should rightfully be spelled Eureka!), I was reminded of a piece in The Voice of the Muse: Answering the Call to Write, my book of writing inspiration and practice.
It's called "The Right Idea," and it makes the point that there's a profound difference between a good idea and the right idea, "between an idea that is anyone’s for the taking and one that is uniquely yours, one that’s right for you, right now."
There are many good ideas out in the ethers...infinitely many. But there's only one in this moment that sparks a cry of Eureka!, that either ignites your passion or is sparked by it.
The idea I had last month of staying in the Denver area was a good idea, one I could justify on many grounds. But it wasn't a Eureka! idea.
A Eureka! moment requires no explanation, no justification. It just is, often defying all logic, common sense and conventional wisdom.
The fact is, we're moving out of the energy of explanation, justification and conventional logic and into the energy of Eureka!
We're moving away from figuring things out and into the energy of allowance.
We're moving out of the energy of settling and into the energy of passion. Increasingly, we're uncovering passions previously hidden or repressed, passions our still-limited minds would prefer to shut down or flee from.
Yet these are the passions fueled by our divine nature, the same passions that allow more of that divine nature to reside more fully within us and live more fully as us.
These are the passions that cry Eureka! from the deepest place of our knowingness and beingness.
These are the passions that, for reasons I may never fully understand, have kept me on the road and brought me to Fortuna and the gates of Eureka.
I'd like to think that being so close to Eureka, California, will spark some new Eureka! moments for me. Whether it does or not, it has already pressed me to remember the magic of Eureka! and to not settle for anything less.
Photo by Mark David Gerson: Muir Woods National Monument, near San Francisco
Wednesday, July 12, 2006 ~ Fortuna, California
The real reason I'm writing this right now is that I can't resist the opportunity to use the place line Fortuna.
Spending the night in a place called Fortuna, as I'm doing, reminds me of all the good fortune that travels with me -- despite the fears and emotional stresses of this physical and spiritual journey.
While I'm not always taken care of in ways I would humanly choose -- in ways that are comfortable -- I am always provided for. And while there are moments when my burden feels extraordinarily taxing, I know it is no heavier than yours...and much lighter than that borne by many.
In this moment, as dusk bathes nearby hills in golden light, I am grateful -- for this day, for this journey and for you.
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
Wednesday, July 5, 2006 ~ Sedona, Arizona
As I lie in bed this morning thinking about my life in these times, the image that comes to me is of a deck of cards tossed in the air. It's a slow-motion vision of cards lazily somersaulting over each other, not yet ready to fall to earth.
I've had that image before. And the sense that has always accompanied it is that everything is in limbo, that I'm waiting for the cards to fall into whatever the new pattern of my life will be.
This morning, though, my interpretation is different. Disconcertingly different.
What if, I ask myself, this somersaulting limbo is the new pattern? What if the cards don't fall to earth because they're dancing in a different vibration...and I'm being asked to dance with them?
In the past, I would wait patiently for the new pattern, even as I tried to figure out what it would look like, where the dominant focus would be.
Would it be these writings? My fiction? My screen writing?
Would it be my groups, sessions and teleconference? And would that focus be trained on singing/sound healing or spoken inspiration?
This morning, in an Aha! that I'm still integrating, I realize that my old response is no longer appropriate.
First, it denies the present moment in favor of some indeterminate future one.
Second, it assumes that anything will ever be fixed again, even for a moment.
Third, it denies the increasing multidimensionality of my nature.
The truth is that any attempt to figure things out repudiates the present moment and the call to surrender fully to it. The truth is that nothing will ever be fixed again, at least not in the old ways I remember. The truth is that all forward motion points to fluidity and surrender.
The truth is that destination -- any destination -- is not the point.
Where I'll drop anchor, what my work will look like, whether my books are ever published or screenplays are ever filmed is immaterial...even as the less-evolved parts of me protest.
As all great spiritual teachers repeatedly remind us, only the journey matters...be it my interstate highway journey, my writing journey or the journey of Radical Evolution I wrote about in this week's newsletter (and will be working with in next week's teleconference).
I'm feeling that focus on the journey more and more fully in recent times, and it's not always comfortable. Parts of me gaze longingly and naively back to a sense of stability, control and destiny that is more illusory than ever.
More and more of me realizes that those cards aren't coming down...perhaps ever. Even if they do, some day, all that can matter is this moment, when they continue to dance in ever-shifting patterns and beckon me to join in.
Truly, I have no choice but to answer the call and dance with them.
Thursday, June 29, 2006 ~ Santa Fe, New Mexico
I'm back in Santa Fe after 12 days or so in the Denver area, wondering once more what Alfie -- or anyone -- can tell me about my life in these strange and unsettling times.
When I arrived in the Denver not long after the 18-month anniversary of my highway odyssey, I made an executive decision: I'm done with being a full-time roadie and choose to park myself here...certainly for the summer, perhaps indefinitely.
Before I go on, let me tell you that the executive who made that decision has been demoted and is now on probation!
The short version of the story is that nothing supported me staying -- hotels were booked up with sporting tournaments, furnished rentals were not readily (or affordably) available and even the housesitting gig I manifested didn't work out.
So I left...frustrated, confused and with many questions.
Some answers arrived this evening when I called on a technique I teach others and use when working with others but have fallen out of the habit of practicing myself: using writing to connect with my highest wisdom.
1) Why, I asked, am I still on the road....and not only on the road but seemingly condemned to travel the same roads over and over?
2) If we're in the energy of choice, why can't I choose to stop my full-time traveling and stay in the Denver area?
What formed on the page were some surprising answers.
1) You are not only laying, clearing, reactivating and aligning earth grids in your travels. You are, more importantly at this time, also dropping light codes into the framework of the major roads you drive, providing activations and initiations to all who travel upon them. Why the same roads? You have a particular territory and each time you pass along the same road, you are upping the frequency of the installed codes. In so doing, you are touching many thousands of people each day. Many commuters, taxi drivers and truckers are doing the same Johnny Appleseed-type work, whether or not they realize it.
2) First, there are degrees and vibrations of choice, and of choosers. The "choice for Denver" might have been an advanced choice for some. It was not for you. You have evolved beyond that degree of choice. Your only choice now is to surrender to the mystery of the Radical Evolution now moving through you. Your only choice is to remain as connected as you can in each moment with the divine essence of your beingness...the greater self...the infinite intelligence...the God that you are.
The bottom line? For me it always comes back to surrender...to the mystery, to the divine imperative, to the moment. And from that place of surrender, trusting that all is well.
For the still-human parts of me, that level of surrender remains something of a struggle some days. Yet all I can do is move forward in the not-always-comfortable (or comforting) certainty that each moment is propelling me into a place of greater divinity.
Meantime, even as I continue to travel, present teleconferences (including one on July 11), offer private sessions and redesign my web site, I'm creating space and time for writing. I'm working on a screenplay of The MoonQuest and simultaneoulsy revising the novel, while committed to the trilogy of which The MoonQuest is the first installment.
Those still-human parts of me can't always see how all that can be accomplished, particularly while still on the road. That's where surrender and the higher vibration of choice come in.
In this moment, I choose to honor all aspects of my passion and leave the means, timing and resources to my divine self. I surrender to the mystery.
And so it is.
Saturday, June 10, 2006
Saturday, June 10, 2006 ~ Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada
I'm driving among the dramatic red-rock formations of this state park just west of the easternmost edge of Lake Mead.
Even as the dry desert air draws sharp, hyperreal edges on the rock cliffs and clusters, there's something dreamlike about this place.
There's something dreamlike, too, about my life in recent months.
It's as though everything I was guided to shift, suspend, give up and/or begin since late January when I settled into my Santa Fe casita never really happened, as though it was all part of an elaborate dream.
Now, I appear to have awakened, back where I was...back on the road, singing language of light again for groups -- in person and via teleconference -- and sending out newsletters and blog posts.
Yet I know it wasn't a dream.
This is not a Groundhog Day moment. Nor am I the same person I was five months ago.
My writing, my singing, my traveling, my art -- they have all moved to a new level because of the dreamlike experiences of these past months. They will all move to yet higher levels because of the deepening surrender I wrote about yesterday.
Tonight, I complete 18 months on the road. I don't know what the future will look like. I don't know where I will go, what I'll do or who I'll become. I don't know what dreams I'll live or wake up from.
All I know is that moment-to-moment surrender is my only choice.
All I can do is take the high road -- whatever that looks like, wherever it takes me...tomorrow and the tomorrow after that.