Thursday, January 31, 2013

How I Spent My Christmas Vacation: The Great Alien Mayapocalypse of 2012

 Hi Y'all!

view of impending doom from my mom's balcony
Over the holidays, I traveled to ground zero of the end times, Lake Atitlan in Guatemala.
Those of you who know me well know that I adore all things alien and/or apocalyptical - movies, books, conversations, but especially Actual Real-Life Apocalypses.
Plus my mom lives right on the lake, so I had a front row seat to what I was hoping would be the spectacle to end all spectacles.

The next village over from my mom's is a place called San Marcos. It is overrun by a serious contingent of new age types who for years have been busily sleeping under pyramids, consuming a rainbow of psychedelics, drinking stinky herbal tea, channelling, crystal-gazing, proselytizing on various esoteric subjects, and waiting for the mother ship to arrive.

And now the end was nigh!
Oh, the excitement!
The anticipation!
The sheer entertainment value!

So with all this super-hoo-hoo-hippie-hype, plus my own intrinsic love of the odd and unlikely, I was really hoping that the much-rumored Crystal Alien Spaceship would rise up from depths of the Sacred Lake and invite me on board.

Wouldn't that be something.

And, not wanting to deprive my own tribe of the possibility of interstellar travel, I had magnanimously offered to swing by in said spaceship to pick up my friends in Austin for the great exodus.

Now THAT's what I would call a proper apocalypse.

But, alas, the universe had other plans.

 Here's what actually happened:

  • The wind blew really really hard.
  • A bunch of people (including yours truly) threw a bunch of candles into a big fire while chanting in Quiche Maya and other, less obscure, tongues.
  • Most yoga classes were cancelled due to the end of the world.
  • There was plenty of restaurant seating because the bulk of the gringo population were in the wilderness doing ceremony.
  • A volcano erupted (which is not nearly as dramatic as it sounds, since Lake Atitlan (and most of Guatemala, for that matter) is ringed by volcanoes).

Some of my friends came outside and waited for me at the appointed time, then went about their business when I didn't show.

I was in bed asleep by 10:30.

Stupid Lame Apocalypse.

So now we are in day 39 of the new cycle. In another 5000 or so years, the end will again be nigh.

And next time, there had better be a damn spaceship.

peace out,

Friday, January 25, 2013

Goodbye, Big Al

The path at Tassajara. That's my cabin on the right.
Dang, can you believe it's been almost 2 years since my last post?

Actually, one of those years doesn't count, since I spent it in the non-technological monastic wilderness of Tassajara.

During the summer, I spent a lot of time telling people how, when, and where to chop vegetables, each day bookmarked by a good long sit in the zendo doing some wall-staring.
I also went on a lot of hikes, which you would do too if you were surrounded by all that beauty.
During the winter, I sat and stared at that wall for hours and hours (and HOURS) on end.
When all was said and done, I very decidedly decided that there IS such a thing as too much introspection. Time to go...

Anyway, I've been back in Austin for the past year, settling back into a new/old life. It has been beautiful and challenging and, as always, I've come back with a renewed appreciation for home.

Over the Christmas break this year, I was inspired to resume this blog...I went to visit my mom in Guatemala, where I was at ground zero for the
Mayan Apocalypse. Good stuff, man. I want to tell you all about it - volcanos erupting! crystal spaceships emerging! other stuff too!

But more on that later.

Right now, I'd like to say goodbye to my friend Big Al.

 Yesterday morning, Al committed suicide. I can't say that this came as a huge surprise (not that that makes it suck any less). He had been struggling with his demons for quite a while. He didn't hide from them or from us. He couldn't.

Soon after my return from California last year, he asked me to meet him at Flipnotics. He wanted to talk about my experience at the monastery, about his own search for peace. He knew I could relate.
 We sat and talked for a long time. Although I shared my own history, I didn't push him to share his mental and emotional struggles. I figured that maybe he just needed a break.

I saw him often during the past year - at dance, Maria's, community gatherings. We were friendly, but never spoke again in such an intimate way, and that's ok.

  I think we all feel the urge to do that shoulda-woulda-coulda trip when someone chooses to take their own life. Yes, suicide is a selfish act. It leaves the rest of us in the lurch, going "What the fuck just happened? What could I have done differently?"

But I believe it can also be an act of ultimate self-compassion to end the suffering when the pain becomes too great to bear.

I get it.

I truly hope you're in a better place now.

You are dearly loved, and your absence is deeply felt by all who had the privilege of knowing you.

  Rest in Peace, Big Al!