love laurie

Category: Lifestyling

son of a preacher

On yet another unassuming afternoon in the farmers market I met up with my friend. Our conversation revolved around heartaches and heartbreaks. His latest lady friend seemed up to up and disappear only to reappear rolling around with another male, explanation absent.

The fragment of the story is familiar to many. Recently I had experienced a similar thing and I am still scratching my head at what happened?

We met each other other unexpectedly late in the summer and of course, I was not interested at all but something about the way he smelled and the way he smiled all star-eyed at me got me all curious. He brushed my leg as I cocked my head thinking who is this guy and what does he want? Later that night we were flying down Fraser in the middle of the night. The pavement was warm and steady providing a calm backdrop to the sparkles of the street lit sky. We rode hard and fast and when he turned back he underestimated my speed, as I was right behind him. I screamed his name as I hurtled into the air, over my bike and over his. Spread on the pavement, my adrenaline peaked and it was downhill from there.

Causally our little affair got exciting. I liked the way his collar smelled and his small affections. Text messages gave me butterflies and excited to be in his arms. We would lay in a dark room with a low-lit lamp circling the corner, exchanging worldviews and ideologies of people and places. Low music filled the spaces in between his fingers as he played with the lengths of my long blonde hair; my fingers smoothed the creases of his wrinkled forehead. We talked as if time stopped still. I didn’t want it to end. The peacefulness of his prose made me feel good about the world, those candied phrases come so easy from the son of a preacher.

However our affair took an unforeseen turn. I remember one week the ease and affection grew cold and hard. Texts ceased their command; the butterflies in my stomach sat idle and asked, “what gives?” One day I approached it and asked point blank if something had changed. Did he meet someone new?  He responded, “No I still feel the same as when I met you”. Later that night I saw him out and I knew like silk ribbon falling through my finger tips, he was gone and I would never see him again.

No matter how I try to put him out of my mind I think about him. I hear the clicks and creaks in the cranks from the crash.

I am drowning in the excess of many men yet starving for the attention of one. Why is it that the one we cannot have feels like the only man that matters? I am egoically propelled on the hamster wheel of consumption yet longing for the one who can throw a wrench in the cog. STOP. This jolt would stop my path of destruction. I am walking among the land of excess: society wants more, I want more, and everyone wants more. More than what we have.

In this state of mind, I am tired. I am tired of wanting more. I am tired of waiting for someone . I am tired of wanting someone to want me. I am frustrated and find myself staring off in the distance in tears wanting to tell society to FUCK OFF. I haul my ass through this dull and placid city wanting to see more yet always disappointed in the outcome. Is it just me?

Presently Practicing.

While in Kenya, a country where there is a shortage of food, I gained 15 pounds!   Ask me how I managed to do that, I will tell you that it just was not relevant to worrying about such mundane issues. However coming back to yoga practice after 6 months off loomed in my head like a far off grey cloud, leaving me wondering if it was going to rain, or just blow away. My greatest fear wasn’t the yoga itself; it was the thoughts about the 15 pounds that I had gained. And of course I am basing this reaction partly on my peers’ reaction to such a perceived life fail. Last year, while on a trip to Thailand, I got wickedly sick and lost 10 pounds from my already thin frame. Upon my return my peers and students praised the boney ribs gleaming from my thin frame. I could barley hold a posture but I looked good, apparently. Much of my time and effort in Vancouver revolved around how I looked and what other people thought of me…. What a waste of mental energy. In Kenya I was forced to be present in every situation because that is what one had to do to survive. I exercised my capacity to still my mind and I mediated on loving what is and being present with no expectations. Living among the poorest people in the world and watching and conversing with the nakedness of their being I realized how much I wear to hide myself. In the past I put on layer upon layer of things like thoughts and clothing to hide when really I should have been naked. Naked, floating down the stream of my life. Soooo much more liberating than counting yoga classes.

So with this new outlook, coming back to yoga practice was much easier than I thought (sometimes the thought of something is much more painful than the act itself). Within 10 minutes of me de-boarding a plane to Boston via London from Cape Town South Africa I found myself in my first Bikram Yoga class in 6 months. I felt good! The body loved the heat and the stretch. It was kind of like having a conversation with someone who feels familiar who you are getting to know, but know a little bit about already, it felt natural. I never pushed hard even when in the past I had been able to go deeper and I never suffered. I continued practicing yoga because I genuinely enjoyed it and it was exciting to get to know the body and mind from a place of presence rather than from a place of expectation. I whole-heartedly embraced my practice and body for where I was at that moment, in that presence. I think that is the key. Without the expectation of judgment of past or future, where I think I should be, or where I was, I was able to really enjoy myself. And I have to say I look awesome! It is soooo tiring to continually practice with the thought of past and future, give all that up and just love who you are. Right. Now.

Image

love/truth

What is it about Vicky, Christina and Juan Antonio that makes me want to book a first class ticket to Barcelona and live the life that I think that I am going to live? Could it be all the Chivas I drank watching the movie and writing this post? Or is it my quest for a love/truth of something different in relationships that brings me to review my pattern and discontent.

For the past couple of years I have had a number of love affairs, this is my illustrious pattern. My grandmother, the wise woman that she was, told me at a young age that I should have a man in every port. I don’t know if this is a blessing or a curse. I get excited to play out my fantasies to know how my dreams feel. OOOh the earth shattering thrill of aesthetic impulses. But this feeling, as most, are fleeting. As my friends accumulate plastic colored toys and a list of annoyances of their other half, I accumulate air miles and thinning bedposts.

Nonetheless in the last 6 months I have had this annoying little nagging feeling that I should “settle down”… I know I know, but my idea of settling down is not posting up and playing wifey… my idea is something different. At the current moment I flip flop between being able to have all my love affairs while simultaneously having a primary man to cozy up to and share all those things that people do in those relationships (whatever it is that you do). Moreover this relationship that I am manifesting is a relationship that fires the individuality of the individual… not the coupledom of the couple. To walk on two paths side by side and to have the faith that no matter what the other is doing they will continue to walk their path. In this I imagine a mutual growth, ebb and flow, a fire and airflow that is going to keep that relationship vibrant….what’s love got to do with it? I also want to know how these relationships are going to add to my quest to find truth in my life. Seek. A. Truth. It is in this light that I am compelled to challenge myself to explore what is my truth. What makes me most human? The desire of such experience and how love plays with the truth? My truth of love. He should also fuck like Christian Grey.

Maybe this is just a fancy way of saying I want to have my cake and eat it too.

With child’s eye and lovers heart…

So about three weeks ago I left Kenya in a furry of excitement. As I landed in South Africa I felt like jumping up and down with my hands in the air yelling, “I did it, I did it!” I am not sure what I “did” (in terms of helping a village, growing as a person, lasting in Kenya for four months) as the effects I am sure will be coming when I have a bench mark to compare to back in North America.

Nonetheless I traveled to South Africa to met up with some friends who were participating in an art residency house in Cape Town and going to Afrika Burn. In Cape Town I found myself among a group of talented artists in an art residence /AWOA. It is a genius platform of collaborating artists from around the world, but mostly from Canada seeking to get re-inspired in a culturally dynamic grass roots neighborhood. Pretty. Creative. Murals. This is where I met the crew that would travel 400 km into the Tankwa Karoo desert to experience and participate in Africa Burn. We were all were very excited about this festival, for most of us this was the first burn and experience in Africa.

After a ride thick with anticipation we arrived at sunset only to set up tents only quick enough to ward off the rain. A little bit of fear struck through me. It was cold and raining and although I prepared for anything in the desert, I favored sun and heat in my preparations. Great.

A huge part of the burn is the theme camps that outline the inner perimeter of the burn sites. Our /AWOA crew had hooked up with a giant yellow truck “Judy” that drove down from Rwanda whose theme was “The Land of Soft Things”. . Oh how lovely… to have a nice place to land in the middle of the vast, hard, cold desert. The camp was a massive lounge made from bales of hay covered by a giant yellow cloth. Days prior to our arrival were spent trying to finish her set up. On day two after yet again another effort to set up The Land of Soft Things camp the rain came and it came hard. Rivers (in the desert??) formed beneath my feet and a state of disbelief struck everyone. I feared that rain was going to fall for the duration of the trip and put a damper on the festivities.  Relief came for a few brief moments for us to put on dry clothes when the skies closed up again… but this time it HAILED! Yes… Hail in the desert. I thought to myself.. this truly is unexpected. This too shall pass and it did after which I, being part of the domestic team prepared a warm meal. The sun came out and brought every ones moods. We all rejoiced to shake it off in an epic night of celebrating in the dance tents. What a great night. I was so happy.

Back to the camp, Judy, and introducing our fearless visionary Raf.  Raf gives the best hugs EVER and planned to have a multicolored parachute over the top to shade dwellers from the sun in the day, however rain, hail and a trail of unexpected events stopped that from happening until the third day. Each day we woke and attempted to rally a half effort to sort out our camp. Everyone a little slow which was only expected after epic evenings of jumping on giant snails traversing across the baron land, getting high on deep dark trance music and getting lost then getting found again. The desert was luxurious, dramatic, cold, loving and ever changing. Anything you needed you could find it in the desert.  Even the things that I didn’t know that I wanted or needed I could have in the desert. What surprised me the most was how much Judy provided. She was the loving hearth of the Land of Soft Things, possibly the entire Burn. She was like Mary Poppins bag, items just kept pouring from her. Judy provided. On the last day (or there about) we finally erected the parachute over top. Raf pulled out a huge bag of marijuana and the boys went to work. As the afternoon wore on so did the nibble fingers rolling J’s to provide the biggest smoke out ever. At 4:20pm in true Canadian style 61 marijuana cigarettes were tossed on to an anticipating crowd lounging around.  Bikes primed the crowd with his chill beats and had his one of many moments playing Frank Sinatra in the desert, so prime.  J’s were passed around, everyone took a hit or two and then fruit and nuts were passed out on silver platters. Every detail  oozed from Judy. Next sensation was the laughing gas. Raf and his balloons. 42 balloons were passed out and we all hit the ground in ecstasy (or at least I did.. feeling the best orgasm in at least four months… ha!) oh what a feeling. That night while roaming around I heard gossip of my own camp “did you hear they handed out 50 joints”…. I corrected them, stating it was 61 and we tossed them and your standing next to the roller. So awesome.  Judy got more accolades and as I talked with people compliments came out saying they slept on her, had a great afternoon there and just a general happy awesome feeling.

The burn community is wide open and for many this my have been their first time experience of that kind of genuine openness. I found people to be raw and rare. Each had and has their own unique gifts that they had to give and I as I met them their personal philosophies and messages ballooned over their head like comic book wordage. I strolled along the playa with a beautiful man and embodied love and light. In a string of synchronized events I married to a lifelong commitment to myself (and the beautiful man.. ha!). I gave Tarot readings and met some interesting cats.  Days ran into nights and nights ran into days. Allowing the events and feelings to come up, I was happy yet scared at the dark places in my mind. Looking across the desert onto the erected san clan the scene looked like a drippy painting of Salvador Dali mixed with Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. I started to wonder if this is what the unconscious mind sees and if it is our society and personal filter is the culpruit that puts the damper on things.  Hmmm.  With a child’s eye and a lover’s heart I sought out the light of the desert.  One of the reasons why I came to the burn was I thought it would be fitting to “burn” out Africa. I thought that I would have more clarity about my time on the continent, I thought I would find closure and grounded-ness… I couldn’t have been more wrong. I left the burn feeling more confused and less sure of the world that I lived in. I drifted between the surreal, ideal and real with lost intentions to discern one from the other. And that continues… in another post. 😉

photo credit Isbele U.

photo credit Isabel U

Photo Credit Isabel U

Some days…..

Some days I just wake up in a fowl mood. No matter how splendid the clean windows sparkle with crisp blue sky, my mind grumbles like rusty cogs and I twist in my sheets wishing I could hide in bed all day and save those around me from my wrath. On these moody days I rely on the splendid indulgence of coffee, sex and yoga… addiction much?

In Kenya I am left to my own devices with no such crutches, and this country continually challenges me. Like not just once and a while… likes everyday, sometimes two or three times. Not only am I missing my tools to re-centre, re-align and re-focus, I feel stranded on a foreign continent. I try to muster up my character to sense out the situation and that too is gone. All my intuition and sensibility has gone west with the wind. I feel like a witch without a wand. Every characteristic that I usually rely on is a little shaky. So every new little stride in a plan or a stable feeling is fleeting because Kenya changes… and then changes again. Kenya in her ways is relentless in her ability to call me out, she coaxes me to come out to play, she hustles palm trees and bird songs to relinquish everything that I thought I knew about myself. Just love and let it be.

pinch me I am here

Two days ago I drove for the first time to my village in the outskirts of Mombasa alone. I drove into the madness of rush hour, Matatu’s buzzing past like a scene from Nintendo Mario Brother (Matatu’s seem to be the ONLY ones that move fast in this country), past the markets teeming with men trying to make a dollar. I drove across the sorry excuses for roads. I drove on the only road out of the only major port in Eastern Africa. I drove into the eyesore of the chaos surrounding Mombasa into the palms trees of the village. And of course I was late for the first Jipe Moyo Woman’s Group Meeting. Dr. Keith had kept time up to this point and today I causally sat on my veranda and had another cup of coffee knowing that I was going to be late, but did it anyways. Ha! Maybe I am part African! Anyways…I was calmly confidant that the women would like my presentation. I translated words into Swahili, drew pictures and made food. All to stress the important issue: Prevention of disease. I charismatically solicited they should ‘prevent illness in your kids so that they have a better life than you, prevent illness so they can learn to read and write’ I preached with science and with emotion, pulling on all the heart wrenching be a good mother strings I knew of. During the last two months of clinics I have learned from Dr. Keith the pathology and treatment for the primary afflictions that their children suffer from; ringworm (tinea capitis) scabies and parasites. While discussing parasites I told them how Schistosomiasis enters the body, through a water source, the quarry, that they all use for free water. The prevention tactics up this point were doable; washing sheets, not sharing combs, keep finger nails clean, but Schistosomiasis has long term health implications and difficult to combat because it is endemic. It affects 20 million per year and 85% of the cases are in Africa. Kenya’s Prime Minister Odinga stated that those children with parasites are more likely to be illiterate.

After that translation there was a snicker among the crowd… I found out no families can pay the 5 shillings for 20 gallons of water. 5 shillings is less than 3 Canadian cents. How could I teach prevention of their biggest problem when the source of their problem comes from the only commodity that they receive “free”? I suddenly woke up. I am a white woman sitting in a small Kenyan Village among 40 women who live day to day with no resources. We are worlds apart, and I don’t understand their problems. I have never ever had to choose between eating and not eating on any given day. I realized that I can’t help them, they have to help themselves, they have to work together and collaborate as a community wanting to sacrifice the nothing that they have in exchange for the idea of something unknown that MIGHT be for the better. These women know very little other than surviving, having babies, and having more babies. I had take 20 steps back to get their perspective in our discussion. I asked why they couldn’t pay, who had jobs, if they wanted them, where and what they would do. Would they like to work in the village or out? Who has husbands that work? Who worries about food and who wants their children to live differently than them? Their silence and solemn nods told me everything. I let them discus among themselves and come up with ideas. They all looked at me for answers and asked me good questions. Could they kill the parasite in the water? I told them every parasite scientist in the world is wondering the same thing. I told them they have to think together, work together to come up with a joint solution because I don’t understand their problems, I told them I would support them but I wouldn’t do the work for them. I am teaching them how to think differently, not immediatly providing them with the answers. If they had income they could feed their children and pay for water. As much as they looked to me for answers, and as much as I wanted to answer them and tell them what to do I turned the questions on them and forced them to come up with the answers themselves. What would be your ideal situation? How are you going to make that happen? I am still scratching my head at the events as once again African’s ever changing stoic façade has caught me blindsided…and hopeful.

Zanzibaaaaaar!

Star fruitcoral cave boatson the dhowcaptain all smilesopen to the worldopen doors and open mindslazy merchants

5 photos

shy girls

little boys who got it...

Portreitz School for the Handicapped

elephant rump at Tsavo East

me on my perch, lovelaurie

The King of The Jungle

“Lions are more intelligent than some men and more courageous than most. A lion will fight for what he has and for what he needs; he is comtemptous of cowards and wary of this equals. But he is not afraid. You can always trust a lion to be exactly what he is – and never anything else.” B. Markham