Well, here I am at my usual time to write (3 a.m.), wide awake in Joshua Tree and ready to begin. But being in strange surroundings throws so much of life’s routines into stark relief that I learn a very great deal about myself.
For instance, right now I’m alone in my room, but perhaps by tomorrow, there could be as many as three others here, judging by the number of beds.
How will that be when I wake up in the middle of the night, ready to write? I imagine I’ll need to lay quietly in bed so as not to disturb anyone else. All the time the ideas will be running through my head without the opportunity to record them. That could be quite a challenge.
We (my travelling companions, Barb, Hetty and myself) arrived so late at night by shuttle from Palm Springs that there was no one on staff but a night watchman. I’m not entirely sure if there is wifi in the room. There may be. I’ll find out tomorrow.
So I’m living a life at the moment without wifi, TV, a fridge. My normal routine has changed and that’s sure to highlight all one’s patterns. Reaching for my morning coffee (my Dinoccino), switching on the screen, whether computer or TV, remaining up for a few hours and then going back to sleep – all is changed.
Five hours ago I washed my shirt and hung it to dry. Five hours later, it’s dry. That would never happen in Vancouver, home of humidity!
Another interesting turn of events: The night watchman didn’t have a key for me so I can’t leave the room without being locked out. We’re located away from any stores, etc., as far as I know at this moment, even if I could go out.
So I’m experiencing a complete change of routine and that focuses attention on every small, invisible quirk one has. Which is great! For a person on the awareness path, nothing could be more welcome than throwing one’s life into stark relief.
Oh, here’s another interesting turn of events: With the exception of Sedona, I’ve never been at a conference where I’m known, so to speak. I have to watch my P’s and Q’s so much, it throws everything into relief again.
It’s like the centipede who’s just had drawn to his attention the fact that he has 100 legs. Becoming aware of them, he can no longer walk in the same unconscious, rhythmic ripple that he did before and begins to trip over his many feet, ending up in a ball on the floor.
I’m searching for the shift in my mindset that will allow me to navigate in the face of such an abruptly-altered scene. What instantly comes to mind is Archangel Michael’s charge that we completely surrender everything old, everything that remains of 3D, when we arrive at Joshua Tree. OK, I surrender!
An attitude of surrender seems to me the only thing that will have me not only weather the newness of so much, but at the same time do it with enough grace that I won’t shock a large number of people who may be expecting me to behave in an exemplary manner when all I want to do is blurt out: Where can I buy a Dinoccino?
Linda is so sweet. She’s taken care of me at every turn. I arrived to a Care package of mango juice (my favorite), peanuts, and other assorted treats. I probably have to be reticent about all the other ways she’s eased my journey.
Keep in mind that at this moment I’m still a virtual pauper far away from home! Oh, yes, I have my little stash of Vietnamese currency in case the reval hits. But apart from that, I am travelling … errr…. light. And Linda has anticipated everything that a person in my situation (for not much longer!) might need. That so shows the quality of person she is.
When I boarded the shuttle, I said to my traveling companion Barb that I wanted to hear about her. She surely had heard enough about me.
But by the time the bus rolled up at Joshua Tree I noticed that I was merrily wagging my tongue, divulging trade secrets, state secrets, and deep dark secrets. Everything was spilling out like we were old ganja buddies at the kumbha mela. Do I really know myself?
How will it be when I’m on a spaceship and prudence is really required? Will the tongue wag the dog? This is a good test run to see who I really am in the matter. It’s humbling viewed from almost any perspective.
The plane ride down was also educational. One gets to see oneself from so many new and different angles when one travels. I’d forgotten about that side of things.
At one point I was on the plane from Vancouver to Phoenix, juggling a sandwich, sticky bun and coffee in a bulkhead seat (before I remembered we had a table tucked away in the arm), spilling coffee on my computer keyboard, not knowing what to hold onto and what to eat or drink.
The sticky bun was in a small plastic container that was too small to sit on my lap without falling to the right or left every time I tried to saw into it with a knife. So I had coffee in hand, plastic container that was forever slipping, and a sandwich that was in danger of falling out of its part-paper, part-plastic bag. I looked a the man next to me with the most forlorn look on my face!
And I suddenly saw how perfect this was to throw up to view any rough edges. Totally and absolutely perfect.
And the opportunities to lose things! Fortunately I learned from my brother who left a leather satchel in a taxi cab in London in 1968, containing his tickets, passport, travellers checks, etc. I keep my luggage to as low a number as possible and tether as much to myself as I can, by any means.
But I still managed to leave my $5 reading glasses in the shuttle to Joshua Tree. Of course, being well trained by Uncle Werner, (1) I had two more pairs of $5 glasses in my shoulder pack. If I lose those….
Another abrupt alteration in context that caused a contextual flip: Until leaving Phoenix for Palm Springs, I had moved from one climatically-controlled environment to another. I was unaware, I now saw, of anything about my physical setting.
But the small Canadair regional jet that would carry me to Palm Springs was to be boarded from the tarmac and so for the first time I went out of doors and was flabbergasted at how hot it was. I asked an airline employee if it was always this hot in Phoenix and he said this was cool.
Whoa! Mountain man, down from the northern temperate rainforest! I would flip over on my back and die like a bug if I needed to live in a climate as hot as this! Had I boarded the jet from an automated walkway, I would never have experienced what Phoenix was like.
Situations like this cause an educational revolution in oneself. One sees how little one knows of oneself and how much is governed by pattern and routine.
That walk on the tarmac threw into relief what life is like in temperate Vancouver, where temperatures are almost always within tolerable limits, summer and winter. Thank you, Japanese Current! I never knew ye.
Well, OK, it’s now 6 a.m. and someone in the next room is showering. If I were at home I’d go back to bed for a second sleep! But here I’m not quite sure what to do. And by tomorrow, if I’m joined by others, I’ll be staring into darkness at this time and probably bug-eyed by the time the sun rises. I definitely will be seeing many more sides of myself!
What was it that Francis Bacon/St. Germaine said? Travel maketh a man … no Internet access to check the quote … well-rounded?
I can certainly think of no circumstance which brings about more learning and self-discovery.
Now where can I buy a Dinoccino in Joshua Tree please? Nowhere? Oh. OK.
(1) Werner Erhard, founder of the est Training.