A babbling brook flows lazily past us as we lounge in the humid August heat of rural Pennsylvania.
The sycamore trees are incredibly tall and chunks of their bark are dropping all around making rustling sounds in the forest. The sprawling top limbs of the trees look all smooth and whitish, while the trunks remain gray and covered in bark. The first signs of autumn are showing as the occasional yellowed leaf flutters to the ground in the breeze.
We are spending another two weeks of fun and learning with my nephew. He's approaching 11 years old and would happily spend all day, every day in nature. He repeatedly requests to hang out at "a body of water". He brings his little net and hunts fish, frogs, crayfish and anything else that crawls or swims. (Like a carbon copy of myself when I was a wee kiddo.)
The last time I was here at this stream with Tanner, about 3 weeks ago, a woman appeared with her dog and she was wearing a black tank top with bold, white lettering that said "GO FOR IT". We said hello and told her we really liked her shirt. She said thanks, and said that she normally doesn't venture into the forest and to the stream alone, but today she decided to break out of her normal routine and go out adventuring solo with her pup. She said that shirt gave her the push to just do it.
In our culture, most of us are taught to play it safe. Stick to what we know. Follow the formula that is already tried and true. Think inside the box. Don't venture outside what is comfortable and familiar. Fear the unknown. Blend in with the herd. Etc. Etc.
Well, that's not how we have been living for the last 4 years (probably longer, really?) and we needed a reminder on that day to keep on keeping on being ourselves. Her shirt was just perfect!
We had been feeling a bit frustrated about the lack of forward momentum in our realities and felt a bit confused about what our next step might be.
We inquired about residency at the yoga ashram and never received a response. We both also applied for work there and no follow through came from that either. We found that all to be fairly bizarre and not to mention, quite unprofessional, so we finally decided that it was not our destination and it felt like an energy drain for us both to keep pushing. We aren't meant to be a part of that organization right now and that is A-OK. When one door closes, we have to be awake enough to recognize the other doors when they open.
I will speak for myself in saying that my trust and patience in the universe were really stretched to the supa-dupa max over the last month. I found myself wondering what the heck we were doing in this part of the world and where we could be headed, if not for there to continue studying yoga? New ideas and scenarios presented themselves, but each new trail of breadcrumbs kept leading us into a wall. Hmmmmm...
We have had a handful of mini-redirects from the adjustment bureau of the universe. One week, Tanner had a high fever and headache for several days, which was fairly limiting for him. Time for resting and resetting. In addition, our car has been acting funny on occasion, sending messages and warning lights that make no sense to us. Mechanics can't even seem to figure out that issue. At least she drives fine, inspite of that.
My thoughtful younger sister gifted us birthday tickets to see Nahko and Medicine for the People on the waterfront in Boston a few weeks ago. That was quite an adventure. Apparently, marijuana is legal in Massachusetts now. I have never been in such a huge cloud of pot smoke in my life. MFTP were an opening act and there was also a reggae band from the Caribbean and they were encouraging the crowd to light up their weed, eh Mon. The music was great, as always, but the east coast crowd just didn't have the buzz and enthusiasm that the west coast crowd has for Nahko's messages. Hopefully soon their inspiring message spreads eastward. Optimism and unity are needed here (and everywhere) as far as I can tell.
We headed northwest to Vermont to visit our long-time pals in their new abode. We stayed for about 10 days. Tanner helped out with installing some new flooring and I mostly helped with cooking, tidying and prepping some details for their upcoming wedding.
Part of the intention of our mobile lifestyle has been about having the flexibility to support various family and friends in many locations and all stages of life. We are now approaching a point where we are just about ready to move on to a place where we can spend some time nurturing ourselves. What an idea! Constant travel and immersion into other people's worlds can take a toll on mind, diet, exercise and routines. Everyone needs a time out here and there to reset and rejuvenate.
Through our travels it has become more and more clear how our current societal model strives to train, direct and then trap each generation into striving for the "American / Canadian Dream". (It's pretty much the same formula in both countries.) In general, it seems that most people that we know are less than happy and less than healthy. This is no accident. It's appears that it's all part of a master plan to create a society of cheap labor and mindless slavery to keep the wheels of growth and progress turning smoothly. Because after all, that's what really matters, right? Or does it? Someone is laughing behind the scenes of the grandest puppet show. Buy stuff, borrow money, work a lot, pay a lot, consume more, climb the success ladder, repeat.
Who's idea was this anyway?! Why aren't we finding an alternative to the collective madness? Does anyone else feel like this is simply crazy?
Stress is so prevalent everywhere that it seems as though it's draping thickly over this part of the planet like a blanket of stupefying smog. Many folks are hardly keeping it together and barely making ends meet. When you aren't in it, it's very apparent. It's always easier to see from the outside looking in. You must step off of the wheel, even briefly, to see what I am seeing. It's not pretty.
Perhaps, I'm reflecting, just maybe, it's time to stop and question a few things? Such as: Why are we all here on earth in this amazing time of unmatched technology (and constant information influx) and how can we use it to our advantage? What do we actually need to live fulfilling and joyful lives? How can we begin to make that a reality?
Best answer: We've gotta just get back to basics. It's time for a reality reset. It's the only thing that makes any sense right now.
There seems to be too much fogginess, fluff and distraction for most of us to think and operate with any amount of consistent clarity. It's like a zombie nation everywhere we look. Smart phones and television. Alarmist news headlines and scare tactics. I feel like we are the weird ones most of the time because we are among the minority who are actually aware of the traps that most of our society has accepted. I feel so aware that it can be extremely lonely, frustrating and often deeply disturbing to try to communicate or make any progress with the rest of our brothers and sisters.
Let's help each other to bust out of this insane pattern. It just doesn't have to be this way. It's not necessarily simple to make the changes, but with persistence, and baby steps, life can be better. We can choose to put time and effort into a joyful existence or we can put the same time and effort into maintaining a chaotic and exhausting existence. We each have choices.
The two of us have done some deep, deeeeep digging and we have concluded that it's time for us to share some of what we know in a retreat setting- away from familiar distractions and societal standards. We have thrown the idea around in the background for a couple of years and we are finally ready to GO FOR IT...
***Early 2018 in Mexico. Stay tuned for more details this fall. Mexico is calling. Can you hear it? It's sounds like coconuts and crashing waves. Mmmmmm.