Water and Wi-Fi

Yes this is exactly what I was talking about.

The power of what just happened is still rippling through me.

Yesterday I had two events that were so magical on their own, that on their own they part 1 of a story, and part 2 was today.

It’s funny how subtle it is in the world, like butterfly wings somewhere far from where we are now; and yet how powerfully full of Matter and Significance it is to me, that is just feels like the whole universe around me conspired for that moment, speaking to me, to the participants of that moment, daring us to listen.

At the memorial of a friend yesterday I met Olivia. I felt like I had seen her, or met her, but I needed to speak to her, I needed to know her again, to hear her, regardless of whether I had met her already or not. I saw her and I felt I had to know her. I went up to her and said just that, “Hi I don’t know if we know each other but I feel like I need to know you.” Olivia in her perfect voice full of depth, story, tenderness, Olivia in her full confident presence immediately welcomed me with a “we don’t know each other, but that is so sweet”. I sat next to her and we had a conversation that I suppose, natural to the day’s occasion, began with death. How San Miguel de Allende brings magical people together, and it’s “a good city to die”. I had never thought of San Miguel like that, as my experience was on another specter of life. But now that I had, I saw San Miguel totally differently. Our conversation flowed from politics to identity to philosophy in through in such a natural stream of consciousness that it was one of those exquisite moments in life that make you breathe truly and deeply. We had conversations about race and the way we relate to ourselves through identity where she gave me new ways to see things I felt I needed new perspective in, more properly experienced wisdom. And Olivia was that. No hyperboles, an actor who loves the art, a whole human being of a person who I feel graced to have met and spoken to.

Once the sun went down everyone went home. We did not exchange numbers or contacts. We simply trusted San Miguel to bring us back together. I tried to thank her for the conversation, but words failed me.

Coming back in the magic of that, my mother and I were driving to her house as the sun was in golden hour and beautiful. I felt magical. Driving past my not-yet-complete house I saw some kids hiding in the building. I wanted to know who they were, so I got out of the car to meet them. A little one peeked out from underneath saying he was watching his herd of sheep; maybe he said it a little too fast so I told him, “it’s fine, this is just my house and I want to know who’s here.” I smiled at him hopefully reassuringly and peeked into the structure to see who else was around. It was about 3 kids, young teenage boys. I smiled at them, totally reassured and still carried from the magic of meeting Olivia, convinced that all of this was serendipity.

After a brief greeting and looking at them each in the eyes so that I saw who they were, I told them they were welcomed to be in and around the house, so long as they took care of it. They shyly smiled and consented and I walked away, content.

Half an hour later they came over, with the same shy smiles and hesitant behavior. They wanted to know if I could give them some water.

Before I continue my story, let me explain something about my intentions with my house. It has been the continuous result of the combined creative efforts and hard work of my mom, dad, and myself. I want it to be a labor of love, for it to constantly have that energy be put in it, we have amazing people working on that house for us, and have a beautiful design to work on. I’d like it to be a center for community. For people to come here and feel safe. That if I cannot give them something, they can find the way to get it themselves in the house whether it be food, water, shelter, peace, art, love, quiet, connection, or their own personal magic. But in order to be a part of the community, I have to know the community. Being of vastly different social worlds, and me having my own fiercely introverted tendencies, getting to know the community was something I had no idea of how to do.

So, let’s come back to the situation of these young teenage boys out in the campo watching their sheep asking me if I can give them water.

Oh my God yes, a thousand times yes. I run into my mom’s house, somehow so excited about this opportunity to provide these kids with something so basic as water. I know they have houses, and go to school, and that they have water too. But they’re here now asking me for water and extending an Olive Branch (oh Olivia) and so I say yes, oh my God yes.

We talk for a bit, I ask them their names and what they’re doing. Neither of us really sure what to say to the other and yet still politely observing the other, I imagine I looked weird to them with short faded cartoon-yellow hair, thick glasses and whatever couch-potato frock I was wearing. One of them mumbled something, and then they all laughed. “What?” I asked. They all laughed nervously but no one told me what they wanted. I teased them for not wanting to share their joke with me to which one of them replied “we wanted to know if you had internet?” I laughed. “You want the Wi-Fi password?” and laughed at myself, and how beautiful and funny the situation was. Water and the Wi-Fi password. That’s what the community wants. I can do that. I gave the 6 boys I had just collected on my mom’s yard and gave them the Wi-Fi password. We exchanged pleasantries, and then I said goodbye, and came upstairs into my mom’s house glowing with the day.

What a completely magical day it had been. This was how I communicated with the universe. I could hear it and it was glorious.

Today, the boys came back. Just for water this time. I came downstairs and asked them what they were up to. “Watching the sheep” was the answer. “What do you guys do over there?” I asked, motioning towards my house structure. “Jugar futbol” they said.

I smiled. “Well, I’m going to go over there in a bit to hang out at the house, you guys can stay or go”. They asked me if they should wait for me. “Do whatever you want” I said smiling. They smiled back and nodded in a way that seemed to say they were going to wait. It made me feel important.

I changed into clothes that were a bit more appropriate for outside and grabbed candles and incense to clear the energy in the house, something I try to do regularly. I went there followed by three of the boys and we were joined by three more at the house. As I walked into the house to look around, they all came and followed me around as well. I felt odd suddenly, with this unexpected shadow, so I tried to explain why I was lighting candles and incense in the house. After filling up the awkward silence with what must have sounded like ramblings of a crazy woman, I asked them where in the house they liked to hang out more. They pointed to what would be my bedroom. We went in there and they tossed a soccer ball around and while half the group seemed comfortable with me there and began to act more naturally (after me telling them that I wasn’t going to faint at his mention of a curse word) the other half of the group hid behind their hands or each other. The more confident half of the group relished in the second half’s shyness and made fun of it. This made them break out of their shell for just a moment, and then suddenly they were all six of them, maybe for just a few minutes, existing in trueness. In beautiful trueness. Kids that play futbol, kids that want the Wi-Fi password. Kids that are just as curious about me as I am about them. I smiled and was grateful to See.

After about thirty minutes I came home to work.

I don’t know what’s going to happen now, because I’m very introverted and strict about my space and time. I like to give and be generous but always on my own terms. But I also want to learn about the people around me, provide for them some kind of richness the way they do for me. And also, magic happens when we let go. And by God I’ll let go. I’ll let go all I have to if it means being free to keep Seeing.

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Conversations next to windows

“I wish I could organize my mind, you know? In like…Drawers. Filing cabinets, maybe. With subcategories. I wish the world were like that too. Because then that way, I could choose how to be. Morals and values would be easy, you would know how to live. This is all clearly ‘good’, and this is all clearly ‘bad’. Do more ‘good’, stay away from ‘bad’, then you will have these reactions and consequences. You will not be hurt, because you chose to do ‘good’. You will not hurt others, because you chose to do ‘good’.

But even then, you wouldn’t be able to choose, really, would you? Even now, choosing takes practice. It takes an awareness that also takes practice. Everything is all about the practice, it would seem. Not about the doing right, or wrong, but rather doing. The how rather than the why.”

I could feel that I wasn’t making any sense, my nerves were on edge. It was important that I convey what I was trying to say, but the words weren’t there. I felt defensive, like the words chose to stay away from me.

“Maybe it is more of an unveiling. Of playing a character and unveiling who that character is. ‘Choose your own adventure’.”

I fell silent. I wasn’t sure if I was making any sense and it felt selfish to take up air and time just to go on on some self-important tangent.

“Every emotion always ends up feeling wrong.” I said, off-topic and more to myself than her.

“I guess…” I closed my eyes, and dared to take a minute to gather my thoughts. Trusting her, in her silence. I held my breath for a minute. The whirlwind of my mind was about to begin, but before I let it take me somewhere else, I closed my eyes and listened to my silence,waiting for that moment –that tiny moment– suspended in air, the moment where I knew what I was going to say, the moment you know is going to happen right before it does, but if you take too long then it’s gone because once you realize the moment is “there” it’s already gone.  And right before I felt the moment come, because that’s when you have to seize it, not when you know for sure, and it’s already past, but right before you know for sure it’s coming. It’s a confusing difference, but if you ignore it then you will never know what I’m talking about. And so the moment was there and I breathed in and instead of being carried by the whirlwind of my mind, I was next to it, watching it. The conversation happened as I listened.

“It is not about choosing but about unveiling. You watch who you are.”

“So Free Will doesn’t exist.”

“Well…oh, is that what you meant with the ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’?”

“Yes. You can maybe choose what page to turn to, but the book has already been written. There’s only so many endings. So you can maybe have the will to turn the page, but it isn’t like you’re the writer. So someone else is still in control of your fate.”

“What if Free Will isn’t choosing to turn the page but rather to read the book? To see what stories have been chosen for you?”

“So like, ‘if you don’t like it just kill yourself'”

“That’s very morbid.”

“That’s all it ever comes back to. Like, what is the point?”

I couldn’t think of anything else to say, and she was quiet too.

I sat in uncomfortable anxiety at first, unsure of how to proceed. My brain went back to the movie I had watched the day before, about Robyn Davydson, an Australian woman who had crossed half the continent by foot with nothing but some camels and her dog. The true story is remarkable for so many reasons. For me one of the things that stood out was something I had not only been in awe of in Robyn, but also Christopher McCandless (who they also made a book and movie about, Into the Wild.) It was their sense of being able to be alone, with nature, for so long. To not need a partner, their family, a best friend, or a group. I could not imagine or fathom a life where I am not surrounded by anyone, and yet that is probably only because I am so aware of our meaninglessness. So I envied Robyn’s sense of self. Lusted after her radical independence. She needed no one, for nearly a year. Under all the odds, she did what she wanted as she wanted.

“Just imagine…” I continued, at first confident that I knew what I was going to say. But then I was imagining. A perfect world in which everyone goes on camel rides across the desert or going into the wild to discover themselves. But in that “perfect world” there is still theft, rape, inequality. I sighed. She had chosen her own adventure, Robyn. It had felt to me like some people weren’t just reading the book of their lives, but also writing it. I tried to explain that, but the moment had passed and I felt rushed. I frowned and looked at her, then back down. “I never know what I’m going to say anymore. I feel like I start one sentence and it doesn’t ever end. It feels like all I ever want to do is talk, even though I have no idea what I want to say, but I know it’s there, dying to be said.” I said finally.

“Well,” she said, right before inhaling and looking out the big dramatic window next to her, “then maybe you should write.”

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Free Hugs

So in San Miguel de Allende, where I live, there’s a beautiful church that stands erect facing the main square. It’s absolutely stunning and everyone that comes here at some point gets a picture of it. It’s our very own Eiffel Tower, if you will.

Well, a couple of weeks ago I was inspired by a YouTube video going around that featured a blindfolded man hugging strangers. I thought to myself, “For February, I’m doing that.” I don’t know what inspired me to do it, but I thought for sure it was a great idea.

The whole concept between “Free Hugs” has always been a great one, but I felt it was too intimidating for some people, and the role that it would put  me in was too intimidating for me.

I liked the element that this particular man had added to it, by blindfolding himself and making it about trust. It was like an extra added challenge, or a more attractive intention for me.

My intention would be to vulnerably, and blindly, give love to the world. Without actually expecting anything in return, but still inviting people to trust me or love me back, which in itself was probably the initial challenge.

I went with my best friend here in San Miguel, Natasha, who took pictures and documented some of the hugs. The plan was this, I would stand in front of the Parroquia, with a bilingual sign around my neck (given the bilingual culture of our town) telling people “Let me trust you. Abrazame” (“hug me”) blindfolded, and arms stretched out. 20150213_124336_20150214091949442

Right before I went ahead and did it, I stood with Natasha and proceeded to freak out for about 10 minutes. “What if no one hugs me?” I thought.

“What if no one does?” the voice in my head asked back. I decided that I wasn’t actually doing this to get hugs, I was doing this because I wanted to give. I wanted to challenge myself in how I gave, in how I showed my love and affection. I wanted to be loud and intentional with my love giving. So I put on my blindfold and said, “let’s do this”. She led me to the spot we had previously decided on and then she sat somewhere where she could watch the oncoming love.

I outstretched my arms, and tried to smile. I set out the intention of simply loving. I stood there, and loved, no matter who or what was going on in front of me. I didn’t care if people did or didn’t hug me, I didn’t care what they thought. I considered myself an art installation.

However not even 5 minutes went by, and my first hugger came forward. I hadn’t really thought about what to say or do so I said “have a nice day” and stuttered and stammered a bit trying to figure out what else to say. By the time she pulled away however and had walked away, I felt free. It was a great high. I had had one hugger, that’s all I needed.

So I stood there beaming in love…and then, soon…

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I must have hugged about twenty people. By the time the 30 minutes were up, I had a mental collection of people’s reactions. I was already going through the mental album I had made of the different approaches people had taken to hugging me and being around. Some had made jokes (some to my expense) others had dared each other, others had hugged me in more a “receiving” fashion while others hugged me in more of a “giving” fashion. It was all ages and genders, most people gave full body hugs though some people did do side hug or pelvis out hug.

20150213_124437I delighted myself in going through the memories I had just collected and took a breath in. The town looked different, colors were brighter, people se20150213_124521_20150214093951545emed smilier. I felt high, on cloud 9, completely in love with love, with people, with life.

I took the feeling with me for the rest of the day, and night. I had a fantastic day and night, and had so much love that I wanted to give everyone else. And sure enough, I see people respond to it. People talked to me more excitedly, smiled more, were more interested in me, and in telling me about themselves.

It was an experiment in loving and love and being loving. It was an experiment because I didn’t want to think about Valentine’s Month as some capitalist month where single people should be depressed and cursing love. Instead, I wanted to bring back February as a20150213_124346 month of Love with a capital L, to give love and be love, to give goodness and share friendship. How people respond so well to it, how it’s hard for someone to turn you down when you meet them with love.

So today, I urge you, if you are bitter or sad about the fact that you aren’t receiving love, remember that it doesn’t mean you can’t in fact give it, and that giving love usually results in receiving it. Sharing love means being love, means linking with your truest most authentic self. Pushing it away will ever only result in pain.

 

So enjoy today, enjoy yourself, be love, do love. All is well.

All my love,

Maelle