Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Wondrous, the Unexpected and the Absurd

My hunches were almost always accompanied by soft internal tremors, cool rushes of fear: I am soon to return to Venezuela. But it was a good fear, the kind you know only exists to test you, to try and trick you, that is at once a veil of ego telling you to give your head a shake and the dim but perceptible light of something great begging you to move forward. I put all of my trust in that sliver of light, sold and donated most of my belongings and bought a one-way ticket. When I arrived back at the Quinta PROUT, the Ananda Marga research institute where I was a volunteer in 2008-2009, Dada Maheshvarananda greeted me at the front door: "Welcome home," he said. I knew that I had crossed a threshold and was now beginning a very different time in my life.

It was more than just a fatalistic inclination that brought me back. It was the spiritual community and the dedication to service. It was the sense of adventure. But above all, it was to join hands and lock eyes once again with an amazing woman and continue on a magical path we started to walk many months before. On the day of the Lunar Sun in the month of the Cosmic Moon (June 26th) we were married in a beautiful Ananda Marga ceremony as Samkalpa (me) and Dharmamitra. It was bright and uplifting, with devotional singing of the universal mantra (Baba Nam Kevalam: everything is the expression of cosmic love), collective meditation and delicious vegetarian food. I never expected it to happen so soon after arriving, but deep inside I knew it was destiny. Every day since then I've fought small internal battles with an ingrained socialized part of myself. It tells me that I should worry. I don't have a job and no money is coming in. It reminds me that the last time I left Venezuela I told myself that volunteering wouldn't and couldn't be my primary focus because it's irrational and naive to think that I can get by without money being a primary concern. Without a doubt, it will, as it always has, work itself out for the best.

For the last month we have been sleeping outside in a tent, in the lush garden area way back behind the house. At night we hear the mangoes falling from the trees all around us and hope that in the morning the bugs haven't gotten to all of them. The wind chime outside our tent jingles nicely. A little further off in the distance, across a small urban valley in the nearest slum, gunfire rings out loud, over and over and over again. We've both had some pretty intense dreams lately. Some are nightmares. Waking up panting and sweating, terrified. In one such episode I was driving in a carrot car with a beet car in front of me and an orange car behind me. The driver of the beet slammed on the brakes and I crashed into him and the giant orange into me. The scene of the accident became a watery grave and I was struggling to get out of the mangled carrot, the resulting "juice" cascading everywhere around me. I woke up absolutely trembling and panicked. Darlin comforted me, only imagining what kind of horrible dream it could have been. She asked me to tell her. "Tomorrow, " I answered, hoping that she would forget and not ask, but the moment my eyes peeled open she reminded me to tell her. Before I could even finish she was nearly in tears from laughing. The story has made its rounds through the house. Over lunch. After evening meditation. It is now known as the "Tres en uno" dream, after the name of the famous Venezuelan juice that is made fresh in the bakeries and lunch spots: Carrot, Beet and Orange. Mmmmhhh.

The birds wake us up in the morning. Hoards of parrots making a giant ruckus in the mango trees, no doubt arguing over who should get the juiciest of the fruit that day.

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