Being aware of your heartbeat when you wake up should not be a sign of anxiety but a sign of aliveness, survival, abundance, and flow. From my experience, it has not usually been so pleasant and full of gratitude; Instead it has been a jolt, a call to attention, a powerful reckoning with what it feels like, means, and insinuates to be ALIVE.
Some of us have asked the question and keep our minds open to seeking the answers. Why are we here? and "What the fuck is going on?". If you happen to be reading this out loud with others in the room or are under the age of 18, please censor any profanity for yourself.
Listen up to the beat of your heart as you read and keep reading if you feel capable of courageous innervation (sensation, also think inner-innovation) at this time.
Since arriving in Australia every week has been a whirlwind. For the first time in 4 months I have sublet a room in a 3 person house in Ocean Shores, New South Wales, just to have time and space without any outside expectations. This looks mostly like sitting at a desk in a beautiful, creative office filling up pages of journals, walking dogs, dancing, typing out word sequences with and without any real meaning, and listening to books on tape. It has been a container to open up my heart, mind, and more spiritually, the soul to Feeling through Life again.
Some days at the beach the swells are a bit bigger and it takes an extra faltering breath to swim into deeper waters: The places where your toes don't touch the bottom. The water can be filled with seaweeds, changing the hue from the light aquamarine blue to an olive green. The water sometimes has a blue-bottle jellyfish (man-o-war) or 20, marking even locals scared to step near the washing waves edge. Regardless I go in every time. It amazes me how many people don't show up at the beach on a windy day, a cold day, a sea-weed day.
When I look at the water it can be easy to see the pristine, untouched, "okay" reality of global society... but in the casted shadow of the Australian sun (he is extra strong due to the thinning o-zone layer over the country) there is that lingering pain that settles in your spine, just out of reach.
Here is what is Real about this. Because those places are not easily reached, we often don't look at, talk about, listen to anything in that shadow of our Human-ness. It can be easily shut out when the light you shed is only what is in front of you. It is easier than one may think to avoid going to these shadowed bits when one can manipulate their reality around ignoring them.
If one were to arrive in this area of the world, she may first believe she was witnessing paradise. Infinite trendy clothing options, a perfect beach, a lighthouse, clean-looking people and fantastic murals of spiritual imagery and beautiful women. Accepted loitering involves incessant fliers, deals, and opportunities for Good Vibes Only, We Can Heal You for $500 and Drink Up you are Only Alive Once 'campaigns'. Around the corner one will find gentrified, over-priced, rarely local, food options. Okay, okay this is seeming pessimistic because I forgot to mention the Food Bank at the community centre that is open one day per week that somehow requires the surrounding tourist shops to close around them when they are open. I am still wondering why those shops have to close...?
Let's cruise down to the beach to find vans parked in rows, with groups of young travelers and visitors drinking in the grass, and beaches full of surfers, tanned and well-sun-screened bodies, and smiles. It is what many call the "Tribe". It all looks quite clean and enjoyable. We all deserve our celebrations.... of course it is common courtesy to give gratitude to the host, right? I'm not so sure many have been taught these customs. Well, this is the land of the Arakwal people of the Bundjalung Mob. The Arakwal have lived on the coast land around the Byron Bay area for at least 22,000 years (1). I wonder how many visitors know the name of the Indigenous here? Did they give gratitude to those who have lived here, that we now benefit from, WITHOUT their allowance?
In stories I have heard by local Mob members, 22,000 years s is a big understatement of time. Colonizers arrived Botany New South Wales on 1770 April 29 - where Captain James Cook first sets foot (2). The Byron Shire area, called Cavenbah in the many indigenous language groups of the region, which was an important meeting place- it still is! Just a bit more, well... colonized.
Usually when I arrive in Byron I am full of social anxiety. My boundaries become too defensive, and I am in full observation mode... I have to breathe deeply to force any resentment out of my belief system. I usually feel inclined to wear all-black (even in the heat) to counter the amount of tie-dye and imported textile shops there are per block. Between every shop there is a souvenir shop with 100+ dream-catchers hanging from the ceiling and 1000's of crystals. I recently woke up to the question of where do this many crystals come from? How are they supplied? I mean really... either they are factory grown synthetic manipulations selling as "natural" or they come out of a mine. What mine? Where? Who mines them? (I will be releasing a story about industrial crystal mining mid-March, 2019).
Oh I could go on and on and on... but let's get Real. I am not having a vacation. On the first month, this land told me not to climb some of the tallest mountains or to visit what used-to-be-sacred lands because they have been destroyed beyond repair. I have sat and heard stories of 10's of thousands of fish running dry in the rivers. It's been a long 5 months of letting go of any sense of control or preparations I had for this journey. In my mind there is a constant weight of doubt pertaining to why I am even here... I wonder if it comes from the guilt and shame I carry upon my whitened skin, colonized mind, and sensitive body?
Everyday I look out the window to the birds playing on the fence, the trees rhythmic sway, and the strangely symphonic melody of cicada and far-away construction work. Layers and layers of feeling that I am often so crippled by I can barely formulate words enough to share with anyone. That's why I am writing this because my FEELINGS of being Here are how I experience and learn... I cannot wait (not the excited connotation) until I calm down and have a "logical" "well-planned" something to share. I am in the moment of Being it.
I think where I wanted to go with this whole thing is this: It's valid that we can and are enjoying these simple pleasures, these moments of healing, these perceived truths that drive societies and communities in their Being. I have been enjoying drawing and writing and watching strange documentary movies. I have been enjoying nourishing myself with good food (that is when my gut bacteria and candida isn't freaking out inside my intestines!). I am saying this now, from the present moment, that we must enjoy moderately and mindfully while we can and get to know our inner workings, our bodies and to UN-LEARN so much of what is hurting ourselves, each other and more importantly, hurting the planet. It's not going to be invisible much longer. You cannot paint over a flood or re-install a 200 year old mother tree. You cannot drive to the bottle-shop for a pack when borders are shutdown because of refugee crisis, there may not be much fuel. Amidst many of the realistic outcomes, we must find our Center and reason for being in the Now. Go slow (think Sloths!). Love. Act Accordingly. Ask for Help. Be honest with yourSelf. Un-learn the corruption of what we think is "real" all around us. We will find what is Real and we will do it Together and it will not be easy... We have Purpose here and Now- all that is required is the surrendering to that aching heartbeat every morning and living with the bravery and intention to Be who you are.
To be honest, I wrote most of this for myself, so if you have made it this far, thank you. I do hope that something has resonated with your heart rhythm.