Saturday, May 31, 2014

Friday, May 30, 2014

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Night I Saw a Shooting Star

I saw a shooting star!
Yes, I saw it too. It was over there! Did you make a wish?
No
Make a wish!
(my brain scrambled and nothing came up)
Say that you'll be back here.
(tears rolls down from the corners of my eyes as fast as the shooting star).
I'll be back here.

In that instant, the past and future converged into the present. As I laid in my sleeping bag in the wet clearing, underneath the most spectacular blanket of stars, I knew I was watching the same ones the Incas saw when they lived across the valley. My struggles were theirs; their exhilaration was mine. It mattered not what the future will hold because I've already accepted it. This moment is the summation of all that came before and all that is yet to come. I was there, the most beautiful moment of all moments. It came and went in a flash but there was no doubt that I was there.

Only later did I realize that happiness is when you see a shooting star and have nothing to wish for.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Cuzco Day 1

Arriving in Cusco, I was greeted by cool crispy air. I made my way through the insistent cab drivers and made my way to the hostel the local way, a 50 cent bus ride and a few blocks up the hill. The scene that followed resembled one of those dreams I don't want to wake up from: warm mate de coca, a vase full of Callas lilies, Coldplay and every acoustic version of their songs, me crawled up on a bean bag in front of the heater on a cold night in a foreign land. In an instant, the world as I knew it gave way to a crimson horizon pregnant with new possibilities.This is what I live for.

What started as a dream turned into a nightmare when I woke up this morning with the worst headache imaginable. In an instant I knew it was altitude sickness. I can be healthy as I'll ever be but altitude sickness has no regards for that. My head hurted so much I felt like my eyeballs were going to pop out of my skull. I listened to mama and didn't eat anything when I arrived last night. It was a good advise because when the morning came I couldn't even keep water down. I was miserable. I stayed in bed until 2pm and finally mustered up enough energy to talk to the trekking company to check in. I needed to off load the cash I've been carrying. I told the guy I was very ill. He seemed unemphatic at first. Asked where I was from. NY, I said. He snickered and commented, "ha, a sea level city." Now there's a reaction I've never received before for mentioning NY. When all the paperwork was done he directed me to the pharmacy on Sol to get Sorojchi for altitude sickness. He then handed me a business card with his cell phone and told me to call him anytime if things get worse since no one will be at the office tomorrow, Sunday. I left feeling hopeful. By now my illness has subsided a bit. It was nice to walk around because Cusco is beautiful. The houses on the hold reminded me of Granada. There are beautiful plazas and cathedrals everywhere I turn. The sun was strong. It feel good. I dodged into a tiny eatery full of locals watching the national championship soccer match. For 13soles I had a pea soup with pasta and potatoes and chaufa con carne. The food wasn't anything to write home about but it was goos to finally eat something. I needed carbs.

The temperature cooled as the sun approached the horizon. I read the instruction for the medication before I took it. One for every 8 hours, not to be taken with Advil or other OTC pain medications. All my symptoms went away by night fall. I found a boy from Connecticut in my room. Are you traveling alone? He asked, is this what you do? I liked him instantly, something about being young and nice looking. I told him about my nightmare with altitude sickness and sold him a third of my pack. He accompanied me to get some food before meeting with the rest of his cohort. This is his first big trip outside of the US. I could see the start of a life long passion. This is the right time to do it, I said, you have to take every opportunity you can. Do you travel a lot? He asked. Not so much now but I used to. Well, you're still doing it. I smiled, I guess I am!

I ate my pollo ala brasa back at the hostel with a Swiss archeologist. He's worked all around the world and was last stationed in Chile. He's being traveling for himself since last September. I chatted with him about Lima and Cuzco. I asked if he was doing the hike to MP and what his next stop is. Maybe the rainforest, he said unenthusiastically. Sounds like you have a case of traveling fatigue. Yes, he laughed and said, how did you know? Are you a psychologist? We talked any my favorite place in earth, El Chalten. I asked him about different places he's been to and the Galapagos.
In the meantime Justin relayed my nightmare to his group and scared everyone into getting Sorojchi. I walked around with him and another very young couple from MS to find a pharmacy and some food. I liked seeing hopeful young travelers in training.
On our way back Justin played and danced with the locals. It was a great sight to watch. For once i wishes I had some dance moves or knew how to play the drum.
Sleep found me easily. Tomorrow is another day.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Recovery

I've been feeling sick this week, throbbing headache, stomach cramp, and unending nausea. People say it's stress. I don't think it is but my body can't lie. I retreated to bed at 7:30 yesterday. Got up a few hours later to force some food into my rebellious stomach. I listened to the unrelenting rain on my skylight. How beautiful it is and how fortunate I am, I thought. The sound was louder in the stairway where the large glass dome hung above. What's with all the hype about breaking through the class ceiling when we can sit under it and be mesmerized by the sound of rain? I brought a stool to the hallway and listened. I read few chapters of KMM's new book Paradise in Plain Sight. Faith is the pause in between each inhale and exhale.

The reality is that no one comes to Zen as a matter of choice. We all come to it kicking and screaming, much like the way newborns are brought into the world, I imagine. I came to it because Lorazepam didn't work and I thought Lorazepam was my last option. I wasn't on the verge of dying a physical death but I felt the spirit that once burnt so bright was fluttering away. Without that we're just an empty shell, and what's the point in that? And then, I found my place on a small round cushion called zafu. It propped my body up into the mountain pose. I didn't know what I was doing. I still don't. I don't continue because it makes me happy or because I think it's going to help me to attain some enlightened spiritual state. I sit because I don't know what else to do, because there are no other options, because it is the only way for me.

I slept for twelve hours. I drank coffee. I sat. I feel better, as well as someone can be on a continuous journey of recovery. This is faith and I am love.