Category Archives: Travel

The Truth About Honesty

Lies

Lies (Photo credit: Gerard Stolk (vers l’Ascension ))

Hi I’m Melanie and I’m walking the path of awakening.  It ain’t easy.  It involves confronting my truest intensions and facing my deepest fears.  This is a process that I have to stay diligently aware of.  This can be done by reflecting on my actions.

When you embrace your dark side, you accept yourself AS IS.  To know your dark side, it transforms itself into light.  Love, acceptance and compassion for yourself arrises.  Any negative thoughts left-over should be processed and accepted – not fought.  The ego merges with the soul and it’s all done through self-compassion.

Layers of understanding start to unfold.  You can find the answers inside because you are part of the infinite.  When you’re ready for a new layer, it will be shown to you.  You feel a shift in perception and in seeing truth.  It may not always be the truth you were hoping for, but a truth that sets you free.  Know your hopes, and you know your fears.

Empty your beliefs to see truth – no one can tell you what’s true.  You have to get there on your own.  Memorizing the advice of Guru’s is not the way.

If you are unhappy with your life, you become stagnant.  Your soul becomes shrouded in a hard-shelled rigor mortis box.  Debris collects on your superficial surface to try and mask whats inside.  Your fears hold you back and your comfort zone becomes a crypt.

I feel at this time in my progression, the small negative thoughts are barely noticeable.  But I still have fear.  I fear my own limitations as a functioning adult.  I don’t have enough experience with being an adult, and so I fear it.  My fear holds me in my comfort zone of security. Tethering myself to video games, beer and my parents.

A new layer into my awakening is just around the corner.  I feel that the only way to break free from my parents is to be honest with them.  Any form of lying is in truth, a hidden fear in the liar.  The liar can not let go (or confront) something, and so must lie in order to protect it.  I’m protecting my comfort zone of being a non-adult.

I lie to myself by saying “it would kill them if they knew the truth.  It would hurt them…etc.”  It would hurt them because they also need to let go.  Letting go feels like dying.  Like a part of you is breaking off – a shard from your soul becomes tethered to another.  You can see where you’re tethered if you’re able to see your lies.

The lie protects the person lying, not the one being lied to.  There is no progress in lies, only anger, confusion and darkness.  When you’re working out negative thoughts, I’m certain there is a lie being told to yourself that you’re not seeing.  But guess what?  It doesn’t matter!  Once you see the lie, you come to find out that Holy Crap no, it truly does not matter.  It can then be released into the ether.

I can say with forthright conviction that everything I write here in my blog is the authentic truth of a girl piecing the pie together.  I lie to my parents, and I know it’s wrong in many ways, but I’m not there yet – but I’m close!  I get closer and closer to telling them the full truth and they are getting closer and closer to accepting it.  My mother today told me that she feels herself accepting my freedom to own my own life.  It has to happen at her own pace, and I keep pushing her forward.

My parents know everything I’m doing in Spain except for the fact I’m doing it alone.  They also don’t know about the peyote ceremony.  They’re just not ready, and neither am I.

How odd it is to see all this happening.  My awakening is my therapist.  It’s different for everyone, but this is my personal journey with it.  The familiarity of these insights are all congruent with others walking the path.

Everyone’s running from something.  This world is shaped by fear, people are fundamentally shaped by fear.  I want to embrace it (within reason).  I want to confront it.

Every emotion we have, every thought we make, is a choice.  I choose my suffering – I don’t hide from it.  I’m not running anymore.  And from where I’m standing, my strength outweighs my fear and my love for myself makes me shine through any heartache.

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Random thoughts about the Camino

Señal del Camino

Señal del Camino (Photo credit: gabsiq)

I’m in work waiting for my client to show.  She’s my pretend sister, my brothers fiancé.

I’m still sick.  All I want to do is go home and put my pajama’s back on.  I feel a type of exhaustion I only felt one other time while I was suffering from altitude sickness when hiking up the goddamned Himalayas.  Unable to move or function.  It’s stress induced, I know it.

And when I am home, I feel bored.  I never get bored!  I’m bored because I’m too exhausted to do anything.  It’s frustrating.  And so I mess around with iMovie and make YouTube video’s like an asshole.

Experiencing boredom makes me understand people better.  They push themselves everyday just to escape this kind of boredom – escape the meaningless of it.  Nobody wants to be alone with themselves.

Time is approaching for the Camino launch.  It really is a big deal.  Not to anyone else, but for me it’s huge.

People go on the Camino expecting to find miracles, insights, to find God, secret cults….etc.  They think it’s some prolific journey and are let down when all they’re up against is walking on blisters.  They can’t find the spirituality they seek.

People need to realize that spirituality happens when you’re alone with yourself.  And just like it is with boredom, it can scare the shit out of anyone.  Make them itch off their skin.  Wanting to get out.

This is the world I live in – the world of reflection.  I’m at ground zero in fighting my own bullshit.  I crave solitude and being alone as a way to find faith in myself, a way to find my ground.  However, with such a big journey approaching, I’m feeling that I need others support more than my own courage.  It’s like reaching for a life raft before sinking into my fears.

I’m not brave enough on my own.

This is why I’m sick.  This is why I felt boredom for the first time in years.  Right now I need to be around people, but unfortunately I’m stuck in bed.  I stretched myself out too thin over the past few weeks and it all caught up.

Now I’m stretching myself out on my bed with my laptop on my crotch.  It’s 9:10 pm.  I downloaded three audiobooks for the Camino.

Ellen DeGeneres – Seriously….I’m Kidding

Tina Fey – BossyPants

Mindy Kaling – Is everyone hanging out without me?

They are all safely stored on my iPhone awaiting day one of the Camino.  In all honesty, I’m looking forward more towards listening to those books than I am to the actual walking part.

I’m having second thoughts about this whole thing.  No no, wait, am I?

I can’t stop sneezing.  My coughs are coming from the bowels of my spleen.  The spleen is a dark slimy green, loud, mucus organ.

Omg I need nightquil.  I have a tear rolling down my salty hot cheek.

Why am I doing the Camino anyway?  I already went through all that spiritual crap, I get it.  Let go, go with the flow, hold no negativity, be compassionate, all suffering is self inflicted.  Yep, got it.  I don’t need to walk across Spain to gain understanding!

My laptop is getting all germy with my hot sweaty hands all over it.

I’m walking it for pride, for ego.  So I can someday look back on it and say “Hell yeah I fucking did that.”  There is no other purpose other than that.

That seems to be the reason why I do everything.  Or is it?  Do I really care about seeing the world and what’s out there?  Or is it all just an attempt at filling that empty space in me that yearns and yearns?  Am I yearning for a proud moment?  Is there meaning in pride?

This is how the camino humbles people.  They see themselves as the horse asses they are.  Possibly once they transcend their arrogance, transcend hiding their weaknesses or lying to themselves, that’s when they reach their ground zero – the true person they really are.  And no, there’s no meaning in pride – it’s only yet another illusion of ego.

You have to stand directly in the light in order to see your own dark shadows.  The camino physically puts you there in that light whether you want it to or not.  That’s the spiritual part of it.  When your physical body gets pushed, so does your soul.

It’s all about thinking, getting yourself good and humbled and asking yourself while looking down that endless road, “is this really all there is?”

Yeah buddy, that’s everything.

You are it!  The zen is already in you.  Which brings me back to the beginning, why oh why the hell am I doing this?

Most people choose to walk alone because they haven’t reached an understanding in themselves.  They need to think more on it.  Think about what?  The why, that’s what.

“Why, why why?”

Me – “Cause it just is man.  Let it go.”

I let everything go.  I let everything go and now I want to walk and leave it all behind.  I want to vanquish even more shit hidden in me.  I want to be both the water and the rock.  Unable to ever be hurt again, but soft enough to embrace change.  My soul is the rock, my physical self and mind are like water.

I want to get there – the foundation, the answer.

In moments such as this, when I find peace – I feel I have it, but then as soon as I’m around people, it gets ripped from me.

Ayahuasca told me I need to be strong for others – maybe this is what she meant.

I need to sleep.

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Ultra Light Packing List for the Camino De Santiago

Here are some links to all the stuff I’m bringing on the Camino.

I didn’t mention these in my video, but gel toe caps are fantastic!

http://www.feetrelief.com/feetrelief/products2.htm

The place where I bought my sleeping bag:

www.cyclocamping.com

I bought my backpack at REI.  It feels perfect on my back.

http://www.rei.com/product/828430/osprey-aura-50-pack-womens

1,000 mile socks

Sock liners

Outdoor research Seattle sun / rain sombrero 

Guide book

Solar Charger

Portable Cup

Mesh Bags

Pack liner (you can also use a garbage bag)

Ear Plugs

Carabiners

Platypus Big Zip

Small day pack

Dry packs

Blister stuff

Backpackers panties 

Biodegradabile soap / shampoo

My official ultra light packing list for the Camino De Santiago:

First Aid kit

Moleskin, bandage tape, small scissors, etc..

Toe gel tips

Knee brace

Clippers

Sleeping pills

Clothing

2 pair undies

2 pair 1000 mile socks

2 liner socks

Flannel shirt

Long sleeve purple shirt

Long underwear

Tank top

T shirt

Hat

Head band

Bathing suit

Outer Shells

Rain jacket

Down jacket

Rain pants

The essentials

Sleeping bag

Sandals

Guide book

Itinerary / passport / I.D / Credit card

Travel towel

Platypus bottle

Journal / pen

Everything else

Pack liner

Secret travel pouch

Travel backpack for groceries / airplane ride

3 mesh bags for loose items

Carabiners

Drain plug

Clothes pins

Ear plugs

Eye shades

Head lamp

Sunglasses

Small knife

Handkerchief

Folding cup

Eat N tool

Rock from home

Electronics

Iphone / earphones / charger / solar charger

Converter

Toiletries

Shampoo / soap / detergent bars

Comb / mirror

Razor

Toilet paper in ziplock

Deodorant (no dispenser)

Toothbrush / paste

Period stuff

Sunscreen

Staff

Spanish cheat sheet (lighter than a book)

Good cheer

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How To Prepare for the Camino De Santiago

This was my Thursday night.

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Peyote Anyone?

Desert

Desert (Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn)

After writing that last post, I popped over to FaceBook to check my messages and saw that one of my good friends from the Colombian retreat asked me to go to Arizona to partake in a Peyote ceremony.

“Um……YES!”

It’s an invitation only ceremony which means that you have to actually know someone in order to get invited.  I’m not sure of its legality, so I’m not posting any names, faces, or locations.

They sent me a very professional PDF brochure describing the event details and a list of bio’s describing the people who’ll be attending and my lord I got goosebumps – not even joking – GOOSEBUMPS!

It sounds amazing.  Absolutely amazing to say the least.  We’ll be camping out under the stars next to an oasis in the desert.  Being fed organic food, listening to a DJ and a spoken word beat poetry man amongst the mishmash of amazing people who’ll be attending.  Hot springs, a medicine man that will pass out peyote buttons while we watch the sunrise over the desert horizon.  Partaking in a traditional ceremony by the Aztec indian church of Quetzalcoati Teocali.

I mean WOW!  Holy crap wow YES I will go!

It costs a mere $333 for three nights, but the plane ticket will cost me $500.

Me thinking – “Just when I start getting ahead of the game, I have to go ahead and do something crazy like this now don’t I?”

Okay now get this, listen carefully.  Being a girl walking the path of her spiritual awakening, this path involves following my bliss.  Following my heart and my passions.  It has led me to opening up my own business (which is flourishing) , it has taken me to Colombia where I was first awakened, it’s taking me on my first Camino adventure, and now this – sleeping under the stars in the desert surrounded by my much loved ayahuasca friends.  These are the same people whom I experienced ayahuasca with.

My Spiritual journey is out-weighing all of my preconceived notions of awesomeness.  Everything easily sliding into place.  This happens due to synchronicity.

When you are not lucid in this world, the synchronicity of karma places you in harrowing ordeals until you “break thru” to understanding.  Once you have broken thru and see that you have full control over your life, then you are free to follow your bliss.  And when you follow your bliss, synchronicity starts working for you, not against you.

I went over my budget trying to figure out if this is indeed doable.  It takes place the week before I leave for the Camino, so it will cut into my Camino fund.

But guess what miraculous thing happened yesterday?  I made $800!

I made $800 in one day.  I had 4 full priced clients and I sold a few package deals online.

I mean shit, right?  Come on now, really?

I only have one client today at 5 o’clock.  I should hike up sleeping giant for exercise – I badly need it for the Camino.  But I have so much stuff I gotta do at home.  My room is completely demolished, I got my new iPhone 5 in the mail days ago and I still haven’t set it up yet.  I’m starving and need to eat, I need to write up my definitive Camino itinerary but most of all I just need to clean.  Once I’m done cleaning, I can organize my thoughts better.  My brain doesn’t work if my house is a pigsty.

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The Camino, facing your fears and contributing to healing the world, and the benefits of pot – all in todays entry

I smoked pot last night and started looking up info on the Camino.  I was high and mellow, letting the herb do what it does until I saw this picture:

road 2

“Oh shit what if something happens?  What if I twist my ankle or get so tired that I can’t go on?  I’ll be all alone in a foreign country looking down a road like that!”

Then it got worse.  I looked at several more roads and imagined myself on them.

road 3 road

“Oh shit oh shit oh shit I can’t do this!”

Then I watched this trailer for a documentary about the Camino:

(They say they have a new and improved trailer, but I like this one more.)

After that, I became excited again.

When looking down that lonely road what I’ll really be looking at are my fears, mostly my fear of death.  Pilgrims have no choice but to rely on one another for support and strength.  Being around people can make you feel courageous and strong.  It’s your love and their love that cuts through fear.

My pot addled brain told me that by walking the Camino, I’m helping the world heal itself.  By helping others along the way, by conquering my own demons, I’m adding to the bravery of others and in truth, I’m instilling bravery into the world.  It’s humbling down to the point of facing the truth in that we all need each other.

I can say that I’m walking the Camino for myself all I want, but I can’t get away from the truth of it effecting the infinite energy body of our one human spirit.  It’s unavoidable.  Last night I came to this realization that no matter what I do, how solitary or secluded I keep to myself, or how much I give – the world will be effected either way.

Then I told myself not to question this new insight once my high wore off.  There’s no logic to it, or words to describe it, but it was an unmistakable feeling of true reality.  It was a feeling – taking place in the deepest part of me.  If I were to try and break it down for my rational brain to accept, it won’t happen.  It’s true.  Leave it.

You have to trust these feelings as real and not argue.

I thought about Amy and how her perceptions seemed so real to her, but not real to the rest of the world.  And it made me wonder if all this I’m feeling is only in my head.  But then I realized it was her own fears coming to life.  She was projecting them onto me.  That’s why it’s extremely important to let go all fear – fear is absent of light, it’s evil all in itself.  It’s seeing the world through fear-laden goggles.  And you will never know what you’re afraid of until you become self-aware.

Honestly if you want to be humbled and forgiven, try facing your truest intentions.  There you will find your fears (or desires).  If you don’t know whether or not your intensions are honest, ask yourself if it’s the compassionate way, or merely your ego talking.  Compassion is the road to sainthood, and saints change the world for the better!

So why do people not choose compassion?  Because of their ego’s.

Ego’s keeps us in the “fun” zone.

When I was under Aya, she told me that the ego can be fun.  But to keep in mind that it’s not real.  It’s only a delusion, or illusion.  Ego makes you feel like you’re in control and you can play the world like a game.  She also said there are many games in the world to choose from, and they are all there as learning experiences.

I’m in work waiting for my last client.  Einstein, the dog, just licked the inside of my mouth – how do dogs know the exact place where you don’t want to be licked?

Maybe the mouth is the most vulnerable place.  That’s what makes it so sensual.  Oh man, am I still high?

I’m using pot as a tool to acquire these insights (it stimulates the pineal gland which is the gateway into the spirit realm).  But with pot, you have to cut through the boundaries of your ego whereas with ayahuasca, she detaches it with ease (unless you don’t surrender and trust).  In my experience with smoking weed, you have no choice but to let go of everything – when you don’t let go, the babble in your brain goes into hyper drive.

I don’t see the point in smoking it with others who treat it as a recreational drug.  The point of the experience will be lost if all you do is giggle and get silly.  Not to mention it makes me unbelievably lazy.  Before I smoke, I make sure everything is done for the day.  That I’m fed, I have water next to me, sheets are washed, alarm clock set – everything must be done otherwise I’d forget, or fall asleep.

I’m getting acquainted and familiar with the feeling of being high and so I’m able to guide it into my higher state of being – of course my body and language center are tuned out during this time, giving pot its bad rep.  Plus people abuse it.  But it’s just another tool, another sacred herb to reach us in ways that our everyday brain can’t understand.  We are so hard-wired and pattern-seeking survivalists that in order for us to get out of our patterns, we have to think differently.

Pot was calling to me for a reason, I knew it!  But how deep will I go with this?  How many layers and insights are there?  Am I strong enough to hold it together?

There’s a reason why we are in the dark.  People just aren’t ready.  They’re not strong enough – hence the importance of evolving.  The first step to evolving?  Self actualization.  Then there’s facing your fears, suffering, compassion, etc… and another layer of strength unfurls.

I learned all this on my own, but if you go on YouTube and listen to spiritual teachers for yourself, you’d see that this stuff is EVERYWHERE!  It’s strange I never noticed it before.  I’m 33 years old and I finally found my true religion.  More like it found me.

I’m finding that spirituality is a religion.  The truths are all congruent to the point where I can call it organized.  But unlike with other religions, Spiritual believers don’t fight or cause wars.  We don’t worship anything but ourselves.  We bow our respects to Jesus, Moses and the like – because ALL religions have truth, they all teach the same insights.  But they were organized and made solid by the fears of the parishioners.  If they let go of those fears, trust and let in compassion, they will embody God.  They would have no choice but to accept responsibility for their choices and the roads they had taken.  And that alone can scare the SHIT out of everybody!

Complete control and complete responsibility for all actions and all that happens to you.  Who wants to admit to their faults?  No one!  So they blame.  They are free to live a life of denial so long as they can place blame.  In a crazy way if you think long and hard about it, a fear based religion can do this.  Anything that places judgement, anything that places another person as being “higher” or “right”, causes war and hatred.

Again, another day not knowing what to write about turned into be a beauty.  My client will be here any minute so…..

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Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
by Dr. Seuss

Congratulations!
Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.

You’ll look up and down streets. Look ’em over with care.
About some you will say, “I don’t choose to go there.”
With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet,
you’re too smart to go down any not-so-good street.

And you may not find any
you’ll want to go down.
In that case, of course,
you’ll head straight out of town.

It’s opener there
in the wide open air.

Out there things can happen
and frequently do
to people as brainy
and footsy as you.

And when things start to happen,
don’t worry. Don’t stew.
Just go right along.
You’ll start happening too.

OH!
THE PLACES YOU’LL GO!

You’ll be on your way up!
You’ll be seeing great sights!
You’ll join the high fliers
who soar to high heights.

You won’t lag behind, because you’ll have the speed.
You’ll pass the whole gang and you’ll soon take the lead.
Wherever you fly, you’ll be the best of the best.
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.

Except when you don’t
Because, sometimes, you won’t.

I’m sorry to say so
but, sadly, it’s true
and Hang-ups
can happen to you.

You can get all hung up
in a prickle-ly perch.
And your gang will fly on.
You’ll be left in a Lurch.

You’ll come down from the Lurch
with an unpleasant bump.
And the chances are, then,
that you’ll be in a Slump.

And when you’re in a Slump,
you’re not in for much fun.
Un-slumping yourself
is not easily done.

You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.
Some windows are lighted. But mostly they’re darked.
A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin!
Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in?
How much can you lose? How much can you win?

And IF you go in, should you turn left or right…
or right-and-three-quarters? Or, maybe, not quite?
Or go around back and sneak in from behind?
Simple it’s not, I’m afraid you will find,
for a mind-maker-upper to make up his mind.

You can get so confused
that you’ll start in to race
down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space,
headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
The Waiting Place…

…for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or waiting around for a Yes or a No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.

NO!
That’s not for you!

Somehow you’ll escape
all that waiting and staying.
You’ll find the bright places
where Boom Bands are playing.

With banner flip-flapping,
once more you’ll ride high!
Ready for anything under the sky.
Ready because you’re that kind of a guy!

Oh, the places you’ll go! There is fun to be done!
There are points to be scored. there are games to be won.
And the magical things you can do with that ball
will make you the winning-est winner of all.
Fame! You’ll be famous as famous can be,
with the whole wide world watching you win on TV.

Except when they don’t.
Because, sometimes, they won’t.

I’m afraid that some times
you’ll play lonely games too.
Games you can’t win
’cause you’ll play against you.

All Alone!
Whether you like it or not,
Alone will be something
you’ll be quite a lot.

And when you’re alone, there’s a very good chance
you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants.
There are some, down the road between hither and yon,
that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.

But on you will go
though the weather be foul
On you will go
though your enemies prowl
On you will go
though the Hakken-Kraks howl
Onward up many
a frightening creek,
though your arms may get sore
and your sneakers may leak.

On and on you will hike
and I know you’ll hike far
and face up to your problems
whatever they are.

You’ll get mixed up, of course,
as you already know.
You’ll get mixed up
with many strange birds as you go.
So be sure when you step.
Step with care and great tact
and remember that Life’s
a Great Balancing Act.
Just never forget to be dexterous and deft.
And never mix up your right foot with your left.

And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)

KID, YOU’LL MOVE MOUNTAINS!

So…
be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea,
you’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!

My old substitute teacher, Mr. Thomas, knew Dr. Seuss.  They went to school together at Dartmouth and he said that Seuss carried around a wooden staff that he carved all of his funning looking cartoon characters on before they were famous.

I can picture the young creative Seuss as a college student strutting his stuff with his carved wooden staff in hand.  It paints an enchanted picture.  A freshly mowed field, shiny polished shoe’s, big white smile in springtime and Seuss humming tunes straight from the parody of everyday living.

Gotta love Seuss.

Mr. Thomas was super old, super Irish and just about the most adorable man you could ever possibly meet.  He was a character straight out of Tolkien.  Living a happy peaceful life in a big luxurious tree stump with other little hobbits.  No, kidding.  But the guy was truly magical (and tiny).

For Mr. Thomas to have known Seuss personally, makes perfect sense to me.  It’s so funny how a simple little man from high school can unwittingly add a tiny pinch of sugar that sweetens an otherwise ordinary life into something slightly more extraordinary.  Simply by being himself and being my substitute teacher for a handful of times.

I love you Mr. Thomas!  I love you Dr. Seuss!

Dr. Seuss adds his sugar simply by pouring it into his magical poetry for the world to become a better place.

I want to be brilliant someday.  Wouldn’t that be something?

I really want to write a post about creativity and how to unlock it.  I feel I’m so close to understanding how it’s done, but I never fully understand anything until I write about it.

Alas it must wait.  I have 9 days of clients left.  9 days of massaging non-stop.  A client canceled today, so I have this hour free.  Well, it’s no longer an hour, more like 20 minutes left.

I’m tired.  I need to breathe.  I stayed up late last night watching YouTube video’s of the Burning Man in Nevada.  My buddy from the Colombia retreat asked me to go.  And let me just tell you, hole-lee-shit.  It looks amazing.  Absolutely freak-tastic amazing.  I’m signing myself up, renting a car, driving across the country and popping a tent.  Honestly I’m not sure what I’m more excited for, the Burning Man or 7 weeks in Spain.

My life is starting.  Who I am is becoming….something.

Okay, need to publish and zone for five minutes before my next client gets here.  I feel stupid today.

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More of Melanie’s Empowering Philisophical Ramblings. Does Any Of It Make Sense? You Be The Judge.

A few weeks back I massaged a devout christian lady who told me that God sent her to tell me to go with God on my journey to Santiago de Compostela.  If I didn’t go with God, my trip will be very bad.

She said this after I told her I see truth in all religions and that Hinduism was particularly interesting to me.

Client – “I feel that you have a choice to make while you’re out there and you can either choose God, or not.  If you don’t choose him, things will go very badly for you.  I know this!  He sent me to you!”

Me – “Thanks for the insight.”

Client – “You know what got me upset?”

Me – “No, what?”

Client – “Someone on Facebook left a comment to my friend telling her that she should  ‘find strength from within’.  But people don’t have strength from within, they find strength by pulling it from God.  God is out there.”

Me – “You don’t think God is within?”

Client – “I think he is separate from us.  It makes me feel protected that he’s there watching over me.  It takes the responsibility off myself.”

Me – “Oh, I see.”

She actually said that!  Using those same words.  Protected, not responsible, separate.  All that bullshit I came to learn on my own, is not the way of God, but the way of man.  Using fear alone to decipher the teachings of Christ.  None of it is real.  We are the one’s responsible, not God.

I asked ayahuasca if Jesus was a real man.

Aya – “There are many Jesus.’  They walk amongst you and live righteous lives as martyrs.  They live in pain so that others can see.  They can be seen everywhere you go.”

Me – “But was he real?”

Aya – “……”

Me thinking to myself – “Maybe I’m not ready to know.  But how could I not be ready to know that?”

People often become spiritual because of a life altering event that they need to make sense of.  They feel helpless, hopeless and without control.  They seek guidance and find their missing security and protection by worshiping their chosen idol whom could support and comfort them.

I’m sorry but, no.  That’s not my way of doing things.  To idolize and worship anything only tells me that I don’t have the power in myself, or that I don’t believe in myself.  I’m the lesser and will always be the lesser.

I believe Jesus was a flesh and blood man who knew that God was in him.  He knew it so immaculately that he was able to use the bounty of God’s power to save lives and change the course of humankind forever.  He was no different from anyone, only HE was truly awake.

To worship anything shows that it is separate from yourself.  That they are better, more deserving of their hidden talents and glorified traits.  Whenever I do anything entailing a high superiority of awesomeness, I shrug it off and say, “Eh, it’s no big deal.  Anyone can do it.”

I’m so humble, aren’t I?  I mean just look at how awesome I am and how humble I stay…yep, truly amazing.

Let’s look at reality for a minute.  The Camino for instance.  What exactly is the Camino?  The Camino is anything you want it to be.  If you want it to be a trek to find God and miracles, then that’s what you’ll find.  If you want to walk it to find yourself (you can never really find yourself), you’ll get closer to understanding, or it can be for exercise, scenery, friends – anything you want, that’s what it’ll be.

In my reality of the Camino, it looks like a hell of a lot of walking and a hell of a lot of partying everyday after each walk.  Beer and wine is aplenty.  To me it looks touristy, with all the amenities needed to survive without any real danger or work.  The only work you’ll be faced with is the walking.  The Camino looks to be safe and fun.  However, if you’re in a bad mental state, it can be miserable.  But this is the case for traveling anywhere or doing anything.  The Camino is exactly what you want / think it to be.  It can also be what you fear it is.

Try to see life in the big picture.  Keep an open mind to let in the grand scope.  Fear narrows our view of whats real.

If you focus on your fears, it will be a trying venture.  If you focus on your hopes, they will be delightfully surpassed.  Surrounding yourself with good company brings hope.  Surrounding yourself with negative company, brings fear.

And yes it is that simple.

Before I left for my trekking expedition to Nepal, I had a very powerful profound dream.  Long story short, I asked a tribesman if I will have fun on my Nepal trip and he told me to “Be the experience.”

I had no idea what he meant by that, but now I see.  I totally understand.  You can make it your own journey, manipulate it to your liking – we each have the power to do that.  It’s about putting yourself in a good frame of mind where nobody can touch you negatively.  You know the truth of life, and with that you trust.  You trust God, you trust yourself.

We all have the power, we can all be praised.

Wow, it’s so crazy the shit I write about when I have nothing to write about.

To sum up the post is this:  Be inspired, don’t idolize.  Praise and believe in your own imaginative power, be the experience, learn that life is meant to be fun and relaxed.  All hardships are only in your perspective and state of mind.  Hope is always found within.

Wait a tick, I just want to add one more thing.  Let’s look at the reality of those worshiping the lord.  If they believe in the lord, they also believe in his plan.  Everything happens for a reason according to his divine will.  This thought is comforting, but still the fear-stricken parishioner can’t let go.  Even though Jesus teaches people to trust him, people still can’t let go.  When we cling to religion through fear, it binds us.  If we lose all fear, in a way, we lose that which binds us to the lord.

It doesn’t mean that we lose faith or don’t believe, it just means that we don’t need him.  And the thought of not needing the lord is sacrilegious.  It can go so far as being seen as evil, and this is where people go wrong.  This is where judgement, blame and anger come from.

I believe in God, I believe in Jesus, I give my thanks and tip my hat, but I also witnessed the illusion of ego.  Those who seen what the ego is, can’t dispute its hold on us.

Part of growing up is taking responsibility and not having to rely on anyone.  God doesn’t want us to rely on him, it’s not him that makes miracles, it’s us!

It’s just that the way the world is set up, it’s in a way where people stay asleep in darkness.  Our government anoints a new idol for the people to worship and believe.  We praise the new anointed leader and follow in his greatness, because us alone are not great enough.  We don’t know any better and must be controlled.  And you know what?  The government is right.  We receive only that which we give.

In my religion, I throw up my hands to it all and laugh.  Laughter is my true religion.  Laughter and not taking anything seriously.  Don’t take my blog seriously.  Seriously, don’t.

My favorite comedic actor is the late great Leslie Nielsen.

And now for your enjoyment, sit back, relax, enjoy some buttery popcorn and a foul tasting Heineken, and watch this 4 minute clip.  Curtesy of yours truly, and the people of YouTube and all those of you who fought against SOPA.

Enjoy.

You are sorely missed my friend.

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A rough sketch of my Camino adventure

Bulls running on 7th July 2005, Consistorial S...

Bulls running on 7th July 2005, Consistorial Square, Pamplona. Image taken by Johnbojaen and uploaded on 1st september 2005. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve spent the whole day planning my trip to Spain and let me just tell you, hole – lee – shit.  Holy shit.

The majority of the time was spent figuring out what airport to fly into.  It needed to be an international airport close to the start of the Camino, St Jean Pied de Port, France.  I googled and googled and everyone had so many different routes to take, all confusing, all Spanish sounding.  Jumping from bus to taxi to train.  I felt like an alien on this planet we call earth, no understanding of its foreign ways of traveling.

Let me point out that this is my first time planning a trip.  I went to Colombia, sure, but it was booked through an agency that told me what to do.  Colombia was peanuts – PEANUTS I tell you!

Finally I narrowed it down to Pamplona.  It was the cheapest flight I could find, close to the boarder of France, and there’s a rumor floating around the Camino forums that there’s a woman who organizes shuttles from that airport straight to the start of the Camino (no other airport offers this luxury).  However, I still need to contact the lady in charge and set my pick-up time.  I’m putting all my egg’s in her, so let’s hope it works.  Otherwise, there is always hitchhiking.  People actually said that!  To hitchhike to St Jean Pied de Port.  A single white girl from the states, not knowing any Spanish….shit Mel.  I’m a Goddamned idiot for doing this, aren’t I?

Then I realized, “Good God doesn’t the running of the bulls happen in Pamplona?”  I googled it and sure enough, there it was.  It start’s July 6, so I planned my entire trip around it.  I even bought my hotel room in Pamplona!  I had to buy it now or else I would’ve been screwed.  There’s only a meager 10 or 15 hotels left to choose from.  The cheapest was $415 for four nights which is a great deal for it not being a dorm (all hostels were already booked) and so close to the city center.  There was only one room left available and the next price up jumped to $800, so yeah, I had to snatch it up.

I’m so excited right now.  REALLY excited.  I even told my parents about it and my Dad is stoked.

Me – “I’m sweating I’m so excited!”

Dad – “You better not run with the bulls.  You know better than that I hope.”

Me – “Of course not silly, that’s crazy talk.”

Dad – “You’re going to have a great time, that I know.”

I made $400 during these last two days of work.  So what do I do?  I went to REI and got fitted for a new pack and some gear.  And I actually did my research this time!  I looked online for the best size and best pack for the camino, searched for the nearest dealer and next thing I know, I’m standing in front of Joe, the most educated pack man alive.  He was literally talking to me for a good half hour whilst I stood in front of the mirror with a pack on my back.  It had 20 pounds of weight in it and still felt light.  Joe adjusted straps up and down, blushed when he cinched a strap near my boob and talked about his own plans with attempting the 500 mile trek.

I got the woman’s Aura 50 Liter pack made by Osprey.  It’s super lightweight and perfect for the Camino (said by Joe and people on the Camino forums).  And it’s made for a woman!  The pack I used in Nepal was honestly a pack most suited for a cave man.  I was a one-man Three Stooges act every time I swung that thing on and off.  It was uncomfortable, and oh man it hurt.  But I didn’t know any better.  I thought a pack was a pack – all unisex and fits the same.  I was so wrong…

That same day I came home and searched the web for the best sleeping bag.  It has to be the lightest weight and most compact as they get.  Several people on the Camino forums suggested the GoLite Adrenaline 1-Season Sleeping Bag.  I researched and researched and finally settled on it.  Then bought a high quality poncho and some rain pants – it can rain for 15 days straight during May.

Here’s a rough draft of my trip thus far:

Leave May 15 from JFK.

Arrive in Pamplona to meet my shuttle bus to SJPP.

Arrive in St Jean Pied de Port and stay overnight.

Start the Camino May 17.

Walk for 41 days (this is a very roomy, ample time-frame I’m allotting myself.  I love old architecture and don’t want to miss a thing while I’m there).

Arrive in Santiago June 26 and stay 2 nights.

Hitch a flight to Madrid and stay for 3 nights.

Leave Madrid July 1st for Barcelona (taking plane).

Stay 3 nights.

Leave Barcelona July 4th by train to end my trip at Pamplona to watch or participate in the running of the bulls.  And stay for the bull fight and festivities.

My plane leaves from there, the day after encierro, July 8th.

The entire cost of the trip including hotels (thanks to Booking.com), planes, trains, $30 a day on Camino – everything will cost $3,152.

This total doesn’t include food and activities while staying in Santiago, Madrid, Barcelona and Pamplona.  So that leaves me with 12 days of food and fun not tallied into the grand total.

And guess how much I have saved specifically for the trip?  $3,000!  It’s all in cash tucked away safe in a secure hiding spot.  Tomorrow I have to deposit it so I can book my other hotels and flights.

It’s like….perfect.  You know what I mean?  It all seems so easy.  I’ve spent the whole day planning, but now it’s like, so plainly laid out in front of me.  I don’t understand how the Angry Orchestra of Melanie Haters can complain about planning trips while I sit back and relax – planning is freaking fun!  And it’s not even that difficult.  I’m planning a 7 week adventure like slicing through pie, while the Haters complained about all the work it entails.  I don’t get it.

HOLE – LEE – CRAP I’m actually doing this.

I’m going through bursts of hysteria – utterly unable to contain myself, sprouting fits of joy and loud boisterous rabble to anyone who’ll listen.  But then put me in my bedroom, all quiet and alone, and my heart sinks in my chest and I wonder why I’m doing this.  Why am I doing this?  It’s a dumb idea.  Amy would say it’s dumb and all a waste, my mother would agree with her.  The Melanie Hater’s would all assume I’d be coming home in a casket (that got lost and ended up in iceland somehow).  But my Dad and Brother applaud my venturous escape into the unknown.  All the backpacking blogs I read, all the travelers journals get me excited – unbelievably excited.

There’s so much I want to write.  I haven’t even grazed the surface.  But it’s late and I need to put the blog down or surrender myself to insomnia.

Buen Camino!

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Melanie’s Amazing Adventure Just Got More Amazing and More Adventure

English: camino de santiago

English: camino de santiago (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Okay, so my original plan was to go on the Camino De Santiago pilgrimage and walk the entire width of Spain.  I decided this before I went to Colombia.  It was an elusive, scary idea that I couldn’t fathom undertaking alone – or without some kind of kick in the ass to get me going.

Then I was invited to go on a tour of Europe with my friends parents.  You can read about that tour here.  And I thought, “Ah perfect!  A perfect introduction to European travel before embarking on a scary mission to find myself.  It’s a way to start my journey – an ease of access to reach the beginning of my adventure.”

Basically, it was that kick in the ass I needed to jump start my trek.  I’d already be in Europe, so there’s no excuse not to go through with it.  The first two weeks of my European adventure would be living it up like a princess getting three squares a day and a warm bed at night.  After those two weeks is when the umbilical detaches, and I’ll be on my own to find the way to Santiago, Spain.

It was still a bit unnerving to handle for an unseasoned traveler such as myself.  I still live with my parents for cripes sake!  But then Amy said she’d meet me there for the last two weeks of the pilgrimage.  With her going, it became a LOT less scary and more concrete.  She’s already been approved the time off, the dates are set and my journey is beginning to take shape.

Here’s where things get spicy;  the tour of Eastern and Central Europe just got bumped ahead of schedule by a full month.  I’m now leaving in  April, not May.  Which gives me more than just two weeks alone by myself.  The exact dates of the tour are April 7 – 20.  Amy is coming to meet me around June 17th.  So that leaves me with 58 days by myself in Europe.  58 days!  I’ll be gone a total of 85 days.  Almost three months abroad.

I’m a complete idiot.  The last big trip I went on, I got booted out of the travel group – and they were my friends who booted me!  That goes to show you how much of an idiot I am.  And the scariest part is, I don’t even know what I do wrong!

I’ll be going there completely unequipped, unarmed with brains or brawn, carrying around my nana’s 50-year-old police (rape) whistle.

The surrounding rapists will hear the call of the whistle and gather to join in with their fellow rapist like a gaggle of geese, or stampede of wild buffalo.

Rapist #1 – “Do you hear that?”

Rapist #2 – “Sounds like a rape whistle.”

Rapist #3 – “Music to my ears boys, let’s see if anything’s left of her.”

A stout evil Monopoly man with a monocle wobbles behind them rubbing his hands together, “Yes, let’s see what’s left teeheehee.”

A man wearing stripes on a unicycle follows suit upon hearing the rape whistle a second time.

Men rowing gondola’s while serenading romantic couple’s throw down their oars and rev up their hidden gondola engines.

Gondola man – “Get out you two, scram!”

Husband – “But I paid good money for this romantic evening with my new bride.  You can’t just throw us overboard!”

Gondola man – “Shhh…You hear that?”

New wife – “Sounds like a rape whistle.”

Husband – “What do you say honey, shall we check it out?”

New wife –  “Yes we shall.  Let’s see if anything’s left for us.”

Gondola man – “To the rape whistle then!”

Vroooooom.  They storm the canals in their gondola turned jet boat.

At that point I’ll be running for my life.  Throwing down my heavy pack and running full force with my little whistle dangling from my lips.  I’ll end up in the trenches, or the sewers where I’ll meet other women who also fled from the country of rapists.  All of them safe underground, hooking up with homeless men who bring dumpster food home to feed their kids.  The kids have scales, some no eye lids, and extra body parts from conjoined twins.

Me – “Hole – lee – shit.”

Sewer people – “It’s okay, really, you’re safe here.”

Sewer granny – “You want some tea dearie?  I made it from the moss that hangs yonder.  Rat shit-kabobs are on the menu tonight.”

Me – “Well, when in Rome….”

Sewer granny – “Rome is surely wonderful once you get past all the rape.”

She smiles flashing her black mossy teeth.

That could happen to me!  Maybe not in Rome, but surely in France.

No, of course that won’t happen.  I’ll be safe, I’ll sightsee and stay on the main roads the whole time.  I’ll have enough money as long as I keep my expenses low.  As of this very moment, I can afford it but it would be very tight.  I have five more months to fill my pockets before I leave. In five months, I should have more than enough.

Shit…I have so much to do.  So much to plan!

I’m such a lazy lay-about.  Truly, I love to sit.  To wake up late and sit some more.  Have my blog in my lap.

Amy just stopped by my office on her way home from work.  She came very close to talking me out of this.

Amy – “I can change my time off to meet you sooner.”

Me – “Nah, that’s okay.”

Amy – “Are you sure?  That’s 8 weeks man, it’s a long time to take off from work.”

Her biggest concern was me missing work.  For the past 31 years of my life, I had no money to save.  I not only had no money to save, but nothing to save for.  Now I finally have a little extra.  I have the right job, the timing is right, the budget fits – and who know’s when I’d get another chance like this?

My heart is saying do it, my brain is saying “whoa there slow down Nessie.”

Double thinking things through drains me.  I don’t like to think twice about anything my heart is telling me to do.  My vibrance trickles out when I don’t follow my dreams, and this has always been a dream.

Once I’m out there on my own, I feel my heart will fill with historic luminescence.  Beautiful landscapes, sunsets, bunking and sharing meals with strangers, my own dusty two feet walking one step in front of the other.  I can picture it.  Walking side by side with the man himself, God.

In the future when I look back at all I’ve accomplished, it may never add up to much of anything, but I’ll at least have this.  I’ll at least have the experience of going off on my own to see the world.  I’m not going to settle for anything less in life.  Abundance follows me everywhere I go.  I’ll always be okay as long as I don’t misuse my nana’s rape whistle.

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