29 April 2010
Once a year or so, certain thoughts re-surface; today I'm thinking back, way back to the flat on Hickory Street. I go back in time, to moments that have shifted my awareness and left me more open to the world. These thoughts make their way out of the sleepy corners of my brain and into the bright sparkle of consciousness I call my, "Monkey Mind". Triggers are constantly firing up my memory to the past and now that I'm living in a larger city again, the force-field of my quiet little life is beginning to open up with intentions of birthing me right out from my core into its shiny center.. My old school was two blocks from the beach. My new school is on quite on busy street with every scenario happening all around at five times the speed of light and twice as sticky. There are buses and people and traffic. There are sleepers and hackers and friendlies and students and jeeps. There are honkers and gawkers and suits and hippies and geeks. There are commuters, punks, monks, strutting down Shattuck shoulder to cuff: going, getting, going and gone.
Growing up, we lived way out of town and the nearest market was three miles in any direction. My parents didn't pay me much mind, but they did my laundry.
What I didn't find there, I found later, in the ashrams, temples, and along the river communities to the north.
After living in the city a mere moment, I vividly remember one particular rainy day that left me forever changed.
I had ventured my way to the closest laundry-mat, which happened to be located across the street from the projects in the Lower Haight area of SF, and near the flat I was sharing on Fillmore Street.
As I sat waiting for my clothes to dry, a boy, about 5 years old came in with a bag of dirty clothes half the size of his body. I can still see him stuffing little pants and shirts into the machine and watching his fingers push large coins into the machine. This memory is slightly foggy, but It left quite an impression on me all these years. I started a casual conversation with the man-child.
He explained he was the only one to do the laundry these days, as his grandmother was too old to climb up and down the stairs, now that it was just the two of them.
I couldn't believe what he was telling me. Here was a boy of just five years old doing the family laundry at a public laundry-mat with absolutely no one but himself to It was one of those moments, a peeling of my reality.
Welcome to the big city, sweetheart.
Sometimes life is like being force-fed the dharma with a really big spoon.
Looking back, I feel so blessed to have met him, to have had parents that let me grow like a weed and for the land that tormented me like a prison but turned out to be a palace all along.