Thursday, March 26, 2009

Sustainable RV Park


Do you live in your RV or Vehicle?

I do too!

I do it by choice. I don't want to throw my money away on high rent. There are many of us in the Santa Cruz area. However vehicle living has it's limitations. I suggest we all get together and purchase a piece of land to create an intentional sustainable RV Park. This project would be inexpensive to set up if there were many people interested. This community would be able to access shared garden, water, sewage, and solar electricity. It would also be a way of building a community which could share resources, perhaps in the form of barter, local currency, and gift economy. I have already incorporated a nonprofit which would mean that there would be no property taxes to worry about. If you are interested in brainstorming with me or just want to be considered as a possible future resident, drop me a line by email.

http://www.meetup.com/The-Santa-Cruz-Sustainable-RV-Park-Meetup-Group/

Imaginal Cells




The subject of "how inner work creates outer world change" was the subject of the enlightening world cafe conversation at the empty boat. One person repeatedly brought up the process of the butterfly. It is a scientifically studied microcosmic process that serves as a metaphor or direct comparison on how change agents in society can create world change once they hit critical mass... check it out

Realm of Consciousness For Humanity

By Todd | March 31, 2008

230766536_3adce9b68b_m.jpgHow many of you really understands the journey a caterpillar takes to become a butterfly? I thought I knew what happens, but was explained the mystical journey in greater detail a few days ago and was completely blown away!

I would like to share this story with you and discuss how the caterpillar’s transformation is highly symbolic with what’s going on in our world today:

Imaginal Cells and Transcending Change

The genesis of the caterpillar’s transformation begins with the appearance of what scientists have termed “imaginal” cells. Researchers have no idea where these cells come from, or why they appear.

They are termed ‘imaginals’ because scientists can only hypothesize that their purpose is to ‘imagine’ something incredible that is about to happen.

At first, the imaginals are fought off and destroyed by the intelligence of the caterpillar organism. But the imaginals keep coming back and eventually form clusters of cells to strengthen their domain.

Soon the clusters form bonds where they pass genetic type information to one another. The clusters resonate at a higher frequency then their host and begin changing the physical make-up of the caterpillar.

317990115_bce4b3e8de_m.jpgAt a certain point in time, the long string of clumping and clustering imaginal cells switches gears from simply being a group of like-minded cells into the programming cells of the butterfly. They literally reach a critical mass of influence where the caterpillar’s destiny is altered to become a butterfly.

The pictures on this page show the beginning of the physical transformation the caterpillar undergoes, and certainly connotes a temporary state of chaos.

What is happening amid this clump of goo is old caterpillar cells transforming into wing cells, into antenna cells, into digestive tract cells, and so on. A new consciousness being born…

Implications of Imaginal’s in Humanity

Many people believe that this story is highly symbolic of what is occurring in our world today, and how a more evolved experience is on the horizon for humanity. Imaginal cells are clustering all over the globe, resonating at a higher frequency and bringing the light of a new consciousness to mankind.

We can see it tangibly by the countless people that are stepping out of their societal roles and doing things to help the collective good. We see it by innumerable organizations that are popping up with the sole mission of making the world a better place.

We can see it by books like A New Earth becoming international bestsellers for the first time in history. We can see it by mainstream icons like Oprah Winfrey taking this type of content and bringing it to the masses in unprecedented ways.

We can see it in the excitement that Barack Obama’s campaign is providing tens of millions of people with the simple message “we need to change things”. These are humanity’s imaginal cells manifesting and clustering.

They are resonating at a higher frequency and their purpose is to bring about a new consciousness to mankind where peace, sustainability and social justice become the norm.

Why Your Personal Growth Means So Much

In order for you to evolve within the collective movement, it is absolutely necessary for you to embrace your own spiritual development. The answers are not somewhere outside of you, but within the framework of your being.

Imaginal cells exist within your body right now, and are attempting to cluster together and help you increase your own consciousness. We The Change must begin with I The Change. The question is: are you allowing this to happen?

The spark for your individual transformation is all around you…all you have to do is look. Perhaps reading the words of this article will serve as an increase in awareness, and motivate you to expand your consciousness.

The point is, we must all become seekers of our own mission in life for a new global reality to take form. It is the only way…

What Our Collective Future Looks Like

Currently mankind resembles the clump of caterpillar goo shown on this page. There is internal conflict which is exemplified by great war, poverty and suffering that exists in our world.

But there are also clusters of imaginal cells emerging and organizing into stronger groups. The chaos we feel is part of the transformation process, as humanity is literally being pulled in two opposing directions as a rubber band being stretched to its max.

Our destiny is to emerge into a new realm of being, and we must each make the decision to either become a part of the new consciousness (butterfly) or stagnate with the dying way of things (caterpillar).

Excerpt from the Foreword
by Rev. Dr. Jim Rigby, peace and justice activist
and progressive Christianity advocate

Transformation is a metaphor expressed differently by different religions. Christianity speaks of transformation in terms of “repentance.” Others speak of transformation as “enlightenment.” Some faiths even think of transformation as “revolution.” Transformation should have all these qualities if it is to serve both the seeker and the species. . .

This book that your are about to read focuses perhaps more on inner work than what might be called activism. However, it is intended to compliment the activist life, not replace it. We change the world, as Gandhi said, by being the change we want to happen in our world. As important as activism is, plunging into it without inner peace aggravates the violence we are trying to end.
Excerpt from the Introduction
By Oliver Markley, PhD, Emeritus Professor
of Human Sciences & Studies of the Future

We live at a momentous time in human history. After millennia of growth in human activities and their ecological impacts on the Earth the very sustainability of human civilization is now in question. At the same time, how can we both take care of ourselves and take care of the planet? The view put forward by this book is that it needs to be an inside job. That is, we must start first with our own selves and our innate capacities for healing and wisdom that are customarily talked about in terms of the Divine, starting first with the Divine within and then realizing the Divine without as well.

The overall approach in this book is a holistic one, counseling the balanced development of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of being. Even though its primary emphasis is on individual development, its foundational tool—intentional manifestation—is clearly suitable for use by communities dedicated to the improvement of well-being at all levels, personal to planetary.

This is a book that can serve both as an introductory text, a laboratory manual, and a reference that you will return to many times. If used with care, it can take you “from where you are not to where you most truly are.”
Epilogue
Recreating a Better World: The Butterfly Story

We stand at a critical moment in earth’s history because we must now choose to either accept responsibility for one another and for our planet or choose to continue on a path to collective suicide. A frequently used and very adequate metaphor used to illustrate the times we are presently living in is that of the metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a butterfly.

When the ugly caterpillar has formed a cocoon, it then gorges itself until it becomes distorted, disfigured, and grotesque; after which, the worm begins to liquefy and die. This is a stage of biological “chaos” at the depths of which the potentials for a new order lie hidden, waiting to be expressed. Ultimately, the magnificent butterfly will emerge out of this chaos.

In like manner, we see chaos in our world—wars; the environmental crises; poverty, starvation, and other social injustices; more and more dark clouds gathering. In his book, The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community David Korten gives details of “the ugly caterpillar gorging itself.”

* Eighty-five percent of the world’s resources are owned by 20 percent of the population.
* Twenty percent of the world’s population subsists on 1 percent of the world’s resources.
* At the beginning of this century, our consumption was already seven times what it used to be in the 1950s and continuing to increase.
* In the last thirty years, our life support index (fresh air, clean water, ecosystem, etc.) has declined by 37 percent.

Dr. Korten points out that it would be futile to expect the change to come from the institutions that are now in power. They are corrupted to the core, and their time is running out. He explains that we are poised at the very real likelihood of a “perfect economic storm,” involving the following factors: overdependence on oil, climate control, and meltdown of the U.S. dollar. The house of cards that has become the support of the most powerful nations on earth is about to crumble.
Return once again to the process of metamorphosis of the caterpillar into a butterfly:

Scattered throughout the liquefied remains of the former worm are what biologist call “imaginal cells” that are vibrating at a different frequency from the rest. They connect with the other imaginal cells vibrating together at the same frequency. From the clusters these imaginal cells form will arise the vital organs and the magnificent structure of the butterfly that will emerge from the cocoon.

So too in our present times, the old order is collapsing and waiting to be transformed into a higher and more perfect world. This is no time to complain and disempower ourselves with a sense of hopelessness. You and I and everyone else who is motivated by compassion, care, yearning, love, intuition, and tenderness—we are the imaginal cells that will usher in “the great turning” and the shift in consciousness that will save our plant.

Already many of these imaginal individuals have come together to form an infinite number of social action movements all over the world, all striving for a better society. Paul Hawken describes this global phenomenon in his book, Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Movement in the World Came into Being and Why No One Saw It Coming.

In his estimate, there are well over one million organizations worldwide working toward ecological sustainability and social justice. These include various kinds of environmental movements, sustainable agriculture movements, save the children movements, youth movements, women’s empowerment movement, indigenous people’s movements, end to poverty movements, integrity movements, global grass-roots democracy movements, new perspectives on education movements, endless numbers of deeper spirituality movements, and on and on.

Societal transformation will be accomplished when the number of imaginal individuals has reached a critical mass and the various social action movements all over the world have created enough synergy among and between each other. Described below are different aspects of what Dr Korten foresees our world will be like after the great turning.

Spiritual values take precedence over financial values; decision makers put people ahead of profits; and international co-operation is much more important than international domination.

* * *

Our air and water are pristine, fresh and healthy. Our forest, fisheries and agricultural land are vibrant with diversity of life. Everything is balanced in order to sustain the optimum health of the environment and its inhabitants.

* * *

All people have a meaningful and dignified vocation that, not only provides for meeting basic needs for themselves and their dependants, but also allows the balanced living that nurtures the body, mind, spirit and emotions.

* * *

Our families are strong and stable; and all children are well nourished, receive a quality education, and live in secure loving homes.

* * *

We live in secure communities growing in mutual trust, shared values, and sense of connection. Civil liberties are secure even for the most vulnerable. Our leaders are respected for their wisdom, integrity, and commitment to the public good.

As we await this event, continue to listen to the voice you are hearing from the center of your being that is reminding you of what you came to this life journey to do. Acknowledge and nurture your unique gifts and talents that will allow you to serve and help others. Keep in mind that the great turning of our planetary society cannot take place until it has occurred first in our own hearts.

Scientists tell us that things as subtle as the flapping of a butterfly’s wings can influence weather patterns on the other side of the world. In like manner, even though we might seem to be size of an insignificant grain of sand by comparison, the energetic vibrations of compassion, peace, certainty, and courage emanating from our own heart are helping to raise the energetic vibrations of the entire planet.
Therefore, carry out all your day-to-day responsibilities with love and good will and in alignment with your Higher Self. Remember it is never about “us against them.” It is only about loving or failing to love. Once you are no longer overwhelmed with negativity, insecurities, hatred, and/or frustration, you will then be able to fulfill your role as imaginal individual and allow the power of the Universe to move through you.

Big Sur







Marianne and I were able to make a very short trip down to Big Sur. We visited the Henry Miller Library and hiked to the ocean where a waterfall broke onto the sand. The ocean stretched beyond panoramic vision and the sun burned it with a white flash. The trails were mostly closed due to the season, so we turned right back around and went back to carmel valley. I half slept the whole way back. In this half-consciousness, my head would toss back and forth around the winding cliff passes and I would gaze sleepy eyed at the grandeur of the mighty mountain shadows against blue sky. We listened to Ella Fitzgerald. When we arrived in Carmel Valley, we hiked Garland ranch and visited still pools covered in a green algae blanket. In the evening we dined at Billy Quan's Volcano Cafe. The place has the most amazing pacific island ambiance. Billy, the owner, greeted us and gave us the best seat in the house, all without a reservation! It was a granite circular table with a fire in the center. Marianne and I were on soft pillow seating and we ordered sushi and gorged on fried banana creme pie for desert. Its funny, technically I'm an unemployed guy living in a van. But the way I live, and the way I see myself, I am quite wealthy. Today I enjoyed one of the most exquisite parts of creation.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

AdyaShanti




I was going through a lot of confusion and negativity when I decided that I should follow my friend William's advice and go see the spiritual teacher Adyashanti's Lecture. He was speaking about what a spiritual awakening is: the end of your ego based perspective, the beginning of your universal perspective. The interesting thing is that an experience that one has when one first becomes more awakened does not usually result in an abiding awareness. Therefore, the ego can slip in and co-opt spiritual awakening as it's own agenda. This happens constantly with me. I will take something pure such as sustainability, sensuality, music, etc and turn it into an ego trip. Or rather, my ego does it. But that's ok, the ambition usually evaporates with the knowledge of it's vanity. It was an enlightening talk, and although I was skeptical of paying for a spiritual lecture, I learned a lot and respected Adya immensely for his humility and accessibility. I also connected a lot with the guest that accompanied me. Overall, it was exactly what I needed to realize that my lack of ego ambition and direction is a result of seeing the nature of where that motivation is coming from. No, that's not a cop out, haha. I'm still very motivated, just not motivated to be something amazing for the sake of myself.

The World Cafe Conversation



I had just finished an email outlining why and how an intentional community should occur to my new found friend Michael when I realized that I was going to be late for the invite only Salon. I walked up to the secretive cafe on squid row and walked past antiquities and prayer flags into the den of what appeared to be a Tibetan tea master. The room was filled with interesting looking people. I greeted my friend Ryan. The seating was low, with weaved stools. The tables had Himalayan treats such as goji berries in bowls. Private estate tea was about to be served. I was very intrigued when I started to chat with a few of the guests, but soon the event commenced. It was a structured intellectual discussion in which certain people moved from group to group while one person from each group stayed and took notes and shared knowledge. The subject matter of the discussion was how inner work promotes outer world change. I won't go into details right now about all of the revelations that occurred that night. All I can say is that I was filled with an amount of hope and gratitude that there are so many individuals on the same page regarding sustainable social change. It was a magical night. I connected with a lot of people and will be building upon those relationships to promote ideal society. The ideal society that already exists.

Thank You Socrates


I was waiting in line at Assana Tea House and I made a friendly comment to a stranger in line. He started asking me questions about why I was ordering a Chakra opening flower essence elixor. The questions persisted in a socratic existential way until he got to the root of why I was purchasing the drink (to make myself happy through compassion)He introduced himself as Daniel and immediately introduced me to two young men who he said were yoga teachers, Justin and Michael. They said he was a yoga teacher as well. The whole situation was absurd, and I couldn't figure out if this character was sincere. I didn't know who taught yoga or who didn't. I ended up talking to justin and Michael for quite some time, they really are both yoga teacher amongst other things. All of this was in the company of my friend Ryan, we were drinking the elixors together. Justin, Michael and I had tons in common, especially Michael who was into sovereignty and raw foods. Daniel asked me in a matter of fact was if there was anything I wanted. I gave him a list of what I want out of my life, because I think its important to define whether it be to myself or a stranger. He responded with a simple "Thank You". I really thought that he was going to his apartment to get the 100,000 dollars I asked for. He did come back with an invitation to a members only tea club for an intellectual salon. Then he came back and gave me a ticket to a jazz concert. All things said and done, this guy gave me a best friend and a life purpose all because I started a chit chat in line.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Sleeping in the fold of Shwartzenegger's Arms


I submitted this to several newspapers including the San Francisco Chronicle

As a citizen of the state, it is easy to cry victim amidst this fiscal crisis. California, why have you forsaken me? The truth is, we have forsaken it. California is but a giant Schwarzenegger arm shaped symbol of the citizenry's incompetence. It has strength, size, and grandeur...but beneath the surface is an artificial supplement which creates the artifice. We voted in this politician because of a cult of celebrity. We voted him in because he was big, confident, and strong. He had the shape of a real leader. He sure wasn't what he calls an "economic girly man". He is an embodiment of masculinity. However, our overconfident masculinity got us into this fiscal mess. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, "One reason the budget seems so quickly out of balance is because it was based on economic data from early December, when state finance officials began crafting the budget." It seems a bit irresponsible to craft budgets according to unknown future data or even on present data, which can have little correlation to the future. Even though budgets are universally crafted in that manner, they should always be based on worse case scenarios. That is how the responsible family craft's their budget. Why shouldn't the government follow the same wisdom? Where is the savings and surplus which should be available in these situations? Even squirrels save extra nuts in case of future starvation. We can all agree that Schwarzenegger has no nuts to speak of. Although it may seem abstract to suggest that we need to incorporate more feminine values in the fiscal process, it is based on the well known fact that women are more responsible with family resources. Men are more apt to drink and gamble the money away. Accordingly, it is ironic that the meager attempt to solve this crisis is based on the idea of borrowing against future gambling revenues. Not only are we counting our chickens before they hatch, we are trying to play craps with their embryonic sacs. Lottery is really a tax on the poor. We encourage a dream based on chance, rather than a stable life based on responsibility. Most citizens leave this complicated fiscal stuff to the lawmakers and economists. That is a refusal to participate in the democratic process. The simple wisdom of a single mom could be used to solve the fiscal nightmare. She'll stop going out to eat (cut exorbitant spending), and start taking night classes so that a better future can be had (invest in long term solutions). However this mom would never sacrifice the necessities of caring for her family (education and social programming). According to the San Francisco Chronicle, "State Treasurer Bill Lockyer said Friday that he will try to sell $4 billion worth of general obligation bonds later this month to help jumpstart infrastructure projects in the state". This is a good idea as long as the infrastructure projects are geared to raise the quality of life for Californians. Have freeways done this, or are they really just a subsidization of the automobile industry? Wouldn't efficient and cheap public transit do more to raise the quality of life of Californians? Instead of thinking about quick fixes and letting our dollars escape from the state into the hands of foreign corporations and countries, let us strengthen Californian communities by encouraging more innovation and small business creation. Lets invest in something with equity such as alternative energy, power we can own, rather than rent from Saudi Arabia in the form of oil imports. Why not catch the rainwater from every house in California to increase water security and encourage personal responsibility. These are just a couple examples of ways to empower our state and it's communities and individuals. In reality, government will not solve the problems of our era. We have forsaken ourselves, given up our autonomy, and placed it into the strong arms of government. Those arms are coursing with a discolored blood, weakened by age, an overburdened load, and a binge on poisons. Even so, that is beneath the surface. They still gleam like the chiseled muscle of the strongest man in the world. To learn more about sustainable economics, visit the website of the nonprofit organization Sustainable Community Education Alliance, http://sustainablecommunityinc.googlepages.com

Back in California

I'm back and it feels good. I'm committing myself to new goals. I've eaten a 100 percent raw diet for 3 days now. I also started swimming at the gym. I've written a comedy routine and an editorial in the past 2 days. I can be productive when I'm unemployed. I should start substituting soon though, as my credential just came through.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Puna Part 2




The next day Gretchen took me to Wiaopea, a super sweet snorkeling spot. We wondered about the colorful coral and communed with giant fish. It was so much better than watching the discovery channel! Then we went to hot ponds, a lava steam heated pool.
I went to an intentional community farm called Pangai, It wasn't really all that intentional, they had great fruit and buildings, but the spirit wasn't really there, there was no coherent purpose or shared vision of the place. The owner of the land was living on Maui and apparently Pangai is up for sale. The whole utopian vision could be ruined with the purchase of the land for commercial cultivation of papaya or something. Then Gretchen and I went to COCO Center for Conscious Oneness. The manager of the retreat was very open and friendly. The place had a great vibe, but it was based on selling tranquility by the night's stay or by the spiritual workshop. It seems everything is for sale. That night I watched Apocalypse Now. It had the same effect on me that "Dark Knight" had: The unlimited power of the individual for great evil or great compassion. Then I went to see the movie "The Watchmen" in the theaters. It further cemented the concept. I committed myself more to fully realizing my power, for the good of course.

Puna Part One





I woke up at 530 am and walked a few miles to the bus stop. I hitch hiked part the way and ran with my heavy pack part of the way because I was running late. The bus ride was long, but I was happy to be on my way to the rainy side of the island where outlaw hippies roam the rural farms, living off the land. The bus stopped in Waimea in perfect synchronicity for me to cash my western union before I left my 70 mile radius from Kona. I ate sushi and mango smoothie outside of the sight of my grumpy bus driver who yelled at me not to eat on the bus. It got more and more lush the closer the bus got to Hilo. When I arrived in Hilo, it was raining, as it would everyday on this side of the island. Hilo was quite small and partly run down for being a capital city. There were a few nice cafes and shops that touted eastern or hippie ideals. I bought some desert pastries from an asian woman in the open air markets. Then I made my way to the still life used book shop. I talked to the owner about the genius of henry miller because he recently bought one of his more rare publications. I purchased the book "An intimate history of humanity" by Theodore Zeldin. Its an interesting book written in a semi-dense french intellectual style. The author takes a sociological biographical profile of an individual and then dissects their perspective from a universal standpoint using anecdotes from different cultures throughout human history. One of the chapter titles is "why there has been more improvement in cooking than in sex." Most of the titles are that odd, bordering on the absurd, but giving enough meaning to make one believe that the secret to understanding humanity is through examining the details of daily life. Gretchen picked me up in downtown Hilo in her broken down duct tape patched 400 dollar convertible from the 80's. I had known Gretchen from California through our mutual best friend Julie. I was her first visitor to the islands since she moved there 8 months previous. She was strangely proud of her car partly because she admired the spirit of the previous owner. I have to admit it was fun to drive the clunky thing with the top down. We took a quick tour of rainbow falls downtown and admired the giant sprawling banyan tree which stood there. Then we went grocery shopping and ate the food at her place. Gretchen was being her cheerful chatty self and telling me all about the places to see. She was pretty anxious to show me around which made me feel at home on the island. Once I was settled in at her place, we took off in the crappy convertible which I started to bond with as well. We drove through the thick canopy of plant growth down the single lane roads of puna toward the lava flow. We stopped at a fruit stand and it started to pour. The old man tending the fruit stand beckoned us under a small hut to join him and a young guy in a midday conversation. Gretchen and I crawled into the wooden enclosure and introduced ourselves to the two punatics (puna lunatics). The old man called himself "z". He wore bummy clothes, had overgrown hair and beard, a feminine and kind voice and intense eyes. The young man's name was paul. He had just moved to hawaii with his woman and daughter from the mainland. He was now working for the local noni plantation owner. He was very enthusiastic about the freedom and abundance of hawaii compared to the mainland. Z was also singing the praises of hawaii. He was very spiritual and enigmatic. He said that he rarely, if ever left the property he was sitting on. He said that his favorite slogan to use was "i let the mountain come to me". He smiled and told me that he recently had a dream which told him that he was the mountain, so now he had to change his slogan. I told him that an interpretation of that would be that the mountain represents the solitude and stillness he had cultivated through his hermit existence. He agreed and said that he wanted to raise other people's consciousness through that awareness. I suggested that his mere presence of stillness would do that. He wanted to be more proactive, but he didn't want to leave the fruit stand. When we left the two fruits at the fruit stand I bought a jar of guava jelly, cause I wanted to give something to this great sage. When we left he was filled with love and compassion for us, which made us feel the same, I don't know why I didn't hug him, probably a masculine hang up. I shook his hand with love and bid him goodbye feeling much more generous toward everything. There was an old man, with no health care, no family, no possessions to his name, but he was happy as a pea in a pod because he lived in a corner of paradise and the land provided for him. We left the two punatics and I bid "Z" goodbye with his new slogan, only I said it as a suggestion "Be the Mountain." Gretchen and I were on our way to the lava flow, and z's stand was the last thing tourists could buy from before they got to the attraction. The road cut through a black crumbling lava field. Some eccentrics like Z had built houses amongst the stark lava. When we arrived, we followed a marked trail along the lava to a place where we could witness the steam rise from the ocean as the hot lava entered it's bosom. I felt grateful to be able to witness such exotic sights, there were vendors selling photographs of glowing lava, glass creations, and t-shirts that said "go with the flow". I started to ponder the meaning of all of this lava. The book on hawaiian spirituality said that pele released the destruction to reclaim the land and give birth to new land. One could see how the lava would crack and break, making room for all sorts of life to peak through the cracks, eventually subduing the hard surface. I thought about how humanity was paving paradise with a material eerily similar to hardened lava. I felt better about it. We humans are merely an expression of this battle between life and death. I for one am an expression of the life and creation, or at least I'd like to be a fuller expression of that. But many of the people running this world are expressions of the suppression of life. They are the pavers of roads, the killers of land, animals, and people. For once, I am at peace with them! They are a part of the process of change. But all of their suppression is in veign because life will always lift through the cracks, water will always win over fire. The soft always overcomes the hard and the gentle over the strong. That's why although I walk through the valley of shadow of death, I fear no evil. When I got back to Gretchen's place, I met her sister and her sister's fiance. They are chill people in tune with puna's vibration. The rain fell on their tin roof and the kokee frongs chirped me to relaxation as I read about the history of humanity, it's always a story of love, and s story of searching, a story of seeking balance, trying to fill the void that results from being half animal, half god. I felt balanced and content from the meal that was prepared for me. Hawaii is a healing place. Puna has the cleanest air that comes from a 2500 mile trip across the pacific. Scientist all over the world use it as a standard of comparison. Hawaii also has some of the cleanest water that comes down as rain and filters through volcanic rock. So with the cleanest air and water, and the fruit of the Rambutans. I fell into a deep island sleep with the knowledge that I could always come to puna if all of civilization fell. Because in puna there would always be rain, there would always be fruit, and there would always be the company of lunatics to keep paradise alive and in movement in the ecstatic dance of life.

Waipio Valley




The next day the guys graciously allowed me to accompany them to Waipio Valley. It was the highlight of my trip to the islands. It was a long drive to the other side of the island. We took winding roads through the cowboy country of the middle of the island, past the town of Waimea. The fields of brown grass and rolling farmland filled with cattle reminded one a mainland western landscape. In the distance, the mighty snow capped Mauna Kea emitted clouds of vog (volcanic fog). When we arrived at Waipio, we unloaded a picnic and watched tourists gawk at the beautiful vista of the coast meeting the mountain valley. Then we began our trek down hill. It is a 25 percent grade, only 4 wheel drive vehicles are allowed down the hill. As we hiked at a 45 degree angle for a half mile it became easier to run down the hill at the risk of not being able to stop, rather than inch our way down like feeble old men. Kyle ran down with me, he was the risk taking cheerful one of the group. After a while we got to the end of the decent and found ourselves in a peaceful semi flooded valley. Waipio Valley is a place with nebulous private property rights, the authorities rarely get involved in local disputes. There is no electricity from a grid for residents. The only connection to civilization is a lone telephone wire. People came down here after Vietnam to get away from it all. Now they have tourists being shuttled in past their homes. When we arrived at the shore of a small river, we hiked beside it through thick jungle like growth. There were many vines that we tried to swing on. Guava hung from the trees. We hopped on stones and crossed the stream a few times. Finally we came to an area that required us to hold our packs over our heads and ford the water up to our upper chest through the murky rapids. I couldn't believe that I didn't drop my over sized pack in the water because every footstep could have thrown me off balance if I had stepped on a moss covered rock. We hiked through half beaten trails along the stream until we reached the majesty of the water fall. The force of the water falling and pounding on the water created a misty wind that blew into our faces and soaked our clothes. The waterfall cut through the center of an elliptical side of a mountain. God had cut out a bowl in the cliffs to create a respite for us. The mid westerners jumped into the pool and swam around the falls. I stood atop a rock and soaked in the scene along with the droplets of mist. The guys swam and played like children and beckoned me in, but I was too cold from the wind. We made our way back and I stopped atop a huge boulder and looked down into a deep pool along the stream. It must have been 8-12 feet deep. I told the guys that this would be a perfect place to jump in and proceeded to do so. Before you knew it, all the guys were jumping in and taking pictures, because the falls were in the background. I even performed a full front flip into the deep pool and ran up to do it again. It reminded me of the rose garden rope swings of Pennsylvania. This was my peak experience, even though it could have been had 2 miles from my house in Pennsylvania, I guess I needed it in the most remote island chain in the world to give me the right perspective.

Kona Side of the Big Island, Kohalo Bay




I hitch hiked and bussed my way to the airport in Kauai. From there I landed in Kona on the big island. My cousin Molly had hooked me up with a friend of her's in Kona. Jason picked me up from the airport and I went to his house for a much needed shower. Jason lives with a whole bunch of main lander transplant guys, mostly surfer christian intellectuals, and I enjoyed their company. The house was huge with a view of the ocean. That night we celebrated Eric's (roommate) birthday and ate a meal together. We also watched the movie "300" on their projector set up. It was an interesting movie. Even though it appeals to gamers because of the bloodbath and special effects, it appealed to me because of the history and philosophy. The next day I went to the bay and had a picnic to celebrate the birthday of another one of jason's friends. It was an uneventful day... I was still resting and winding down from the napali coast trail. The following day Jason hooked me up with 5 mid westerners visiting his friend Beth. They were on spring break, checking out what outdoor adventures the island had to offer. They were jovial guys, like all mid westerners. We went camping on the beach at Kohala Bay. Cody and I went sea kayaking in turtle bay and flipped the kayak in a wave as we tried to bring it ashore. The turtles were lounging about the volcanic shore, enjoying their protective sanctuary. All 5 of the guys plus Beth and I were in great spirits despite the cloudiness. Casey, Cody and I collected firewood and we had a fire that lasted for hours that night. Not far from camp was a fresh water filled lava tube of crystal clear water, we all went bathing in the chilly water. There was a humpback whale family teaching a baby how to swim in the bay and we all got intimate views of them rising and crashing in the water. It was cool that these 5 strangers took me into their fold. There wasn't even a hint of imposition. I felt like I could go anywhere in the world as long as there were mid westerners to accompany me.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Kauai




Kauai is the third eye of the Hawaiian island chakra system. It is the Jurassic park, ancient sharp mountain island. I arrived and took public transit for 2 hours to Hanalei. Its a nice little town with smoothie stands and natural foods stores and restaurants. From there I hitch hiked to Haena beach with a mother and daughter from Michigan. They were super sweet. They even had me watch a movie with them in their tent. We both set up camp at the beach without permits. The waves were fierce and I was afraid my cheap tent would break under it's pressure, but I slept well. The next day I got a ride to the napali coast trail from the mother and daughter. I was hoping I had enough food for the 2 day trip. Its 11 miles each way, 5000 feet elevation change each way. I was going strong for the first 2 challenging miles, then i started to burn out after another 4 miles on a waterfall side trail. I took a short rest and resolved to be stronger than the tourists who always turn back after the first 2 miles of the trail. Over 700,000 people come to the trail each year, few people go past the first 2 challenging miles. The fruit was on the trees, I bit into some guava partly from necessity, I didn't think i would have enough food. At the 5th mile I ran into Lawrence, a guy I met at the beach. We hiked for a few hours together and got to know one another well. He runs a sustainable website called greenhome.com So we had a lot to talk about. We were separated on the most challenging part of the trail from mile 7-8. I can't believe this trail is open to the public. The winds were gusting hard and the cliffs were sheer. The mountain goats were butting horns below me as I tiptoed on unstable crumbling soil of the 2 foot wide trail. On false move or wind gust and I was sure to die. It was one mile of this. I got to the 8 mile camp feeling victorious. There were two hippies there with red hair sitting around a fire. I smiled at them and asked if i could rest with them. They were very welcoming. We talked about wwoolfing hawaii and they fed me tarot root that they were cooking. Lawrence showed up a while later feeling like he conquered the giant. We both decided to camp there for the night. The sun set at 8 mile, and it was a spectacle to behold. The napali cliffs were the perfect backdrop to accept the darkness as the sun performed its ancient ritual. Us humble hikers watched it with reverence. I was woken up in the middle of the night by a night hiker that wanted to set up his hammock above me.
(i had a tarp hanging over me, it was pouring rain.)Even though it was weird, these hikers are friendly as anything, they're just grateful to be in the wild with wild people like themselves. We both slept well from the exhaustion of the trail. I woke up at dawn and started toward kalalau. It was an easy hike to the destination. The end of the trail was amazing because after all of those cliffs all you want to see is a beach and a waterfall, and that's what was there. There were many people lounging about, grateful that the hiking was over and they could cook food and rest at the beach. I filled up my bottles at the waterfall and talked story with some hikers. The nicest people! They're just glad to be in the presence of the beauty of the napali coast. I got some food from the generous souls and started back due to lack of food and an anxiousness to leave the island. I don't know why, but I knew I had to go. I followed my gut and hiked all the way back... 14 miles that day. When I got back to the end of the road i hitchhiked to hanalei and drank coconut water and ate snacks from the natural food store to my heart's content. I was exhausted, dirty, sore, stumbling around with droopy lids. I hitchhiked back to heina beach and set up right on the sand. the waves and rain put me to sleep and I basked in the glory of my accomplishment.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Honolulu




When I arrived in Oahu, I called my host, Renee, a great Cajun PHD woman. We talked about Louisiana and she gave me a tour of most of the island in a long road trip on the north shore coast. I was staying in a 20th floor apartment in a high rise outside of the city for free. It's amazing what is out there if you open yourself to it. I was very joyous to be in the islands even though I didn't have a cent to my name. Or at least access to my money. I tried to worry about it, but the island wouldn't let me. There is a great energy here. The people are noticeably friendlier than mainlanders. According to my theory of homeostasis, they should be happier living in such a temperate hospitable zone. The trees are dripping with fruit here. The next day I went to the city. Honolulu, is a charming Pacific city. Not extremely so, but it has many redeeming qualities. It has nice government building architecture (spanish style)nice parks, and some pedestrian shopping areas. Waikiki is a grand beach. Although touristy, I fell under its charm. It has a beautiful mountain background, like Rio. The beaches are white sand perfect. The swells are gentle and large, good for beginner surfers like me. I rented a board, but wasn't very successful. I walked along the strip at sunset and began to fall in love like a honeymooner as the luau music played in 5 star hotel lanai's. There were a great many Japanese tourists. The next day I went to the leeward coast on public transit. Its odd being a minority amongst the Hawaiians. The poverty was pretty bad on that side of the island. Apparently there is a meth epidemic. There were tent cities along the beaches. I made my way to Makaha beach after a few hours on the bus. I sat on the beach and watched 20 surfers battle harsh winter swells. I ate cheese and crackers and rejoiced in my freedom. Then I got back on the bus to the apartment. It took the whole day. The next day I went snorkeling at shark's cove on the north shore. Nature makes the perfect respites for us humans and fish. I bought a book about Hawaiian spirituality and read it on the long bus ride to Paiea. I have a better grasp of aloha spirit. I am trying to live it. The next day I leave for Kuai'i

Monterey


I was going to go straight to santa cruz to prepare for my departure to hawaii, but I had a friend in Monterrey through couchsurfing.com She is a stainglass artist. We went out for Mexican food and she gave me a walking tour of Monterrey. Its a town full of steinbeck history, broken down warehouses filled with mafia mystery and renovated canneries from the town's fishing heyday. Janice was filled with encyclopedic knowledge of the town and it made me appreciate it more. I had always viewed Monterrey as just another seaside town that catered to tourists and the rich. We went to the aquarium, which she had free passes to. We went with her friend and we all gazed at the creatures of the sea with wonder as they both filled me with knowledge about the animals they had acquired from being around the aquarium so often. After the aquarium we went to a bar and drank, which is not very like me, but i had some beer and went with the flow. I was filled with the spirit, excited about life and my upcoming hawaii adventure. I was beaming with confidence and gratitude. We all went to Janice's house and watched Guy Ritche's Rock n Rolla, a Tarontino'ish gangsta comedy. The night was waning, and I didn't know how to get to the airport. Janice was quick on the draw and very helpful. She set up a shuttle trip from Monterrey. The next morning I left in a hurry, forgetting most essentials and leaving my credit card in the atm machine. I was pretty stressed but set on making the flight to hawaii. I knew that was where i was supposed to be. janice drove my van all the way to santa cruz. Thanks Janice! Relying on the kindness of strangers or anyone is quite humbling. That's also how it would be when I would arrive in Oahu.

The Perfect Day, Point Lobos, Carmel Valley



Before my trip to Hawaii, I decided to squeeze the most experience out of California. I drove the van to carmel valley, which is incredibly idyllic. It possesses that mountainous comfort that surrounds and soothes you. The sun shown its rays on the wildflowers as I followed winding dirt roads past wine rooms and spas into the more remote nature of the valley. I arrived at Marianne's whom gave human form to the valley's beauty, and my gratitude in her presence fueled the celebration of our reunion. We were both in wonder of the valley as we drove its roads to the small village store area to do laundry and eat toasted wraps. We assumed a great familiarity with eachother. As two honest souls basked in gratitude of the day and of life, we looked forward to our upcoming adventures in point lobos. Marianne bought chocolates and gave them away to strangers like a generous chocolate saint. It was a day of abundance and indulgence. We arrived at point lobos and pulled over to the side of the road. We walked and talked all the way to the ocean, holding hands and enjoying the mundane in anticipation of more beauty. We really are fools for beauty. Simple beauty. Nature's beauty. And so we arrived at the ocean. Huge Pelicans stood guard as the sea breeze tested the mighty bird's foundation. Marianne and I climbed the trails along the cliffs. Each turn wrapped around another cliff, giving more intimate views of it's grandeur. We became lost in the maze of trails, jumping and skipping up the stones like children. Marianne became more like a child, more happy, the more that she hiked. We would stop and smile for our own pictures. I would try to sneak candid pics of Marianne when I had the camera. Our energy levels and qualities were matched along the trail. We stumbled upon a Painter trying to capture the form of the cliffs and the color of the sun. Behind him were tame deer, we stopped and whispered about them. We arrived at the end of one of the trails and came upon a stand with animal pelts and maps. An old man who was volunteering for the park smiled broadly at me and spoke to me enthusiastically. "Feel this!" he exclaimed. Then he handed me a seal pelt. His enthusiasm for the softness of the pelt matched my enthusiasm for the day. I admired his spirit. Why can't we all enjoy the softest texture with joy? Marianne and I got lost in the trails. She ambitiously wanted to do the full 8 mile trail, but the sun would set soon. We decided to go back to the car and make our way to Carmel Beach. We went through ritzy Carmel, which caters to the elite's fleeting tastes. The beach was much more traveled than the boutiques. The sun was about to set, Marianne and I walked up the stretch of sand and spoke to children and dogs. The dogs frolicked in the freedom of the place and we all tried to live vicariously through them. They were all rich people dogs, groomed to perfection, rolling in the sand and jumping in water. They wrested with each other and chased tennis balls. The sun set behind the water, the water glowed like an iridescent silver blanket in the wind. Marianne and I found a Thai restaurant in the valley and ate curry with coconut ice cream. The pleasures were diverse and we were careful to layer one onto the next with patience and gratitude. The thai waitress was sweet, so was the meal, and Marianne and I broke bread together, cementing our bond. As we arrived at Marianne's quaint bungalow, we looked up and the stars overwhelmed our senses. We didn't expect that so much pleasure could be experienced so late in the night, of the most perfect day.

Oahu

I have really enjoyed hiking with the meet-up group in Santa Cruz. Many of the participants, including Marianne and Gayle have told me of the beauty of Hawaii as well as the liberal culture. So out of curiosity, I checked the flight prices. Turns out that since it is the rainy season (it rains only rarely during the day), and because of the recession, there are 300 dollar round trip flight from CA. So, even though I am unemployed, I am in a position of freedom. I thought that since I had the time I should go. I booked a trip for 19 days, enough to make me a traveler, not a 12 night tourist. I arranged some couch surfing hosts including one in Honolulu.