I was recently in New York where I had the opportunity to visit many of my favorite old haunts. My friend, David and I attended a weekend intensive (not sure if that is the right word?) at the Omega Institute near Rhinebeck, New York. A highlight of the weekend is simply the Omega grounds. They are gorgeous, hilly and contain a lake. We kayaked, rested in hammocks, and took night-time pictures of orbs. Fun! Our accommodations were fantastic: We stayed in cabins Willow-B, situated close to the Cafe and Bookstore. Score! The workshop gave me a deeper insight into the use of guided meditation (we did them repeatedly, so I also had a chance to practice patience, and look at my judgments, some of them warranted?) My favorite event was what our facilitator called “A Shamanic Journey” in which we were invited to visit one of three places: Astral Planes, Earth as it exists, or the Under World. I have some previous experiences with what I call “Breath” and meditation, so I decided I would take the plunge, into the ocean. (Yeah, I was scared). Suffice to say, I had an amazing experience: too bizarre to literally translate. I can tell you this: I jumped off a cliff (Huelo, Maui) into a net created by gigantic sea turtles. One of them offered me a ride on its back (amazing, if you’ve never tried this, I say: go for it!) We traveled over a long oceanic distance, ending up in the Gulf of Mexico, near the current oil leak. My panic began to register when I saw the impact of the oil on the birds and wildlife. My host turtle (in a nutshell) explained to me that the animals are taking care of things. (Because clearly, as humans, we are incapable of cleaning up our messes). When we were led out of the process (it all happened lying on the floor, eyes closed, Native American drums beating), I ended feeling energized and fantastic!
We also did a lengthy process on Father’s Day (happy day, Dad!) which was powerful in the context of thirty men bestowing our loving attention on one another. Such a gift to be more generous, vulnerable, emotional, to be felt, seen in this way. Something our planet could benefit from in huge amounts.
Incredible healing sessions followed on Sunday at the Omega Wellness Center. My friend, Michael in Los Angeles has a dear friend, Kellie, who is manager at the Wellness Center. We’d never met Kellie, but she arranged for David and I to have excellent massages on Sunday. My therapist, Gi, really made some progress with my current disc situation.
On our return to Garden City, we stopped for dinner in Katonah, NY where David and I lived briefly in 1998. Memories, like the corners of my mind! We kept watch for Marissa Tomei or Stanley Tucci, both used to live close by. Nothing like good diner food to nourish the soul.
The next day was Summer Solstice. No better place to celebrate than Jones Beach! Another location I’ve been numerous times with David and Andrea: Area 6, past the Jones Beach Theater. The doonies! And exotic birds with orange beaks. The sounds of the waves. Those cirrus clouds. The sand. Laughter with David. Endless time. Another layer of connecting deep inside to my reason for being here.
That evening we saw the new Joan Rivers movie at the Malvern Theater. What talent, drive, and raw energy came from her performance. It gave me fresh insights about her. I always knew she was funny, crass, a certain zany brilliance. What I didn’t know was that she wants so desperately to be taken seriously as an actress. Not a comedian. And, of course, she falls from that personal truth again and again, and again. She is so hard on herself. It made me reflect on how I do the same. In what ways am I being ruthless with myself? I recommend seeing the movie. Joan is a force to not only be reckoned with, she is 75 and has a work ethic better than most college graduates.
Tuesday was our Manhattan day! My former playground. We trained into the city and met our sweet friend, Andrea at Taralucci E Vino on 18th Street in Chelsea. Great eats, fun catching up, and a sweet waitress from Haiti who is a trained makeup artist. Go figure! One of the many things I love about the Big Apple. Next we stopped at Cupcake Cafe attached to a bookstore, down the block. Shared dessert and large mugs of dreamy coffee combinations. And what would the day be without a little shoppy-shop at Catharine Malandrino’s trunk sale. I was hoping to see the Housewives of NY there, but it was afternoon. Jill and Ramona were probably there when it opened. Next we blasted down to the Village to the GLBT Center for a poetry reading with Matthew Hittinger, Stephen Motika, and Michael Montlack. Moderated by Steven Cordova, a very gracious host. The work was diverse, voices distinct and it made me feel so excited to be there. And I set another writing goal: I want to be part of the reading series at the Center. I want my work to be included in that realm. I spoke with Steven as we were leaving, and he seems interested. Just say YES!
It would be remiss not to mention the time I spent with Evelyn, David’s mom. Evelyn is like home to me, a wonderful, adorable, considerate, and darling woman who is so kind. She also makes a mean french toast. And grilled cheese. Hang in there, Ev. I hope to see you again this summer.
I had two more pieces of my work published over the week that I was away. The first, a poem was at Amphibi.us. Thanks to editor, Shannon!
Also, I had a racy piece taken by Sleep. Snort. Fuck. Thanks editors!
The writing continues to fly…summer takes off…what are you up to? Any big trips on the horizon? How will your life benefit from your 2010 experiences?
A few other random things I recommend: Christina Aguilera’s Bionic CD (get the European version if possible), Coco Chanel movie (sad and reverent), James L. White “The Salt Ecstasies” a poetry collection with a foreward by Mark Doty. And the New Yorker‘s issue (June 14 & 21) was dedicated to ’20 Under 40.’ Meaning twenty writers under forty years old.
Then, as I am a dedicated user of Facebook, Dan Wickett, Exec. Dir. of Dzanc Books published an alternative list called 20 Writers to Watch:
Hope you enjoy both!
Peace, Love, Fly.