Sunday, February 20, 2011

A secret weapon of seeds

I mentioned briefly before that to me, inviting Pinar on the bike tour was a chance for us to both escape from chaos of our daily routine lives amidst the backdrop of bustling civilization and to finally allow our minds to regroup, refocus, and heal from the heavy weight of society. It was an intense physical challenge for 6 weeks, but even more so it was a mental one. We had been through many tremendous challenges together already, and she was only the second person I had ever begun to open up to about my secret fear and daily cause of pain. I knew that traveling alone with someone for two months, that even if traveling in and of itself is often running or evasion in a way, that we would each be forced to deal with a great deal of our own issues and fears. I felt on the verge of an intense climax and turning point such as this for the first time in years, and I desperately dreamed of sharing this epic time for personal growth with my closest, trusted best friend, despite all our ups and downs and confusing dynamic over the past several months.

When it was all said and done and we finally biked over the Golden Gate Bridge after 1,100 miles from Seattle, I knew that our lives, and probably our connection, would never be the same. We each had looked our demons square in the face many times on this epic quest, and many times they squared off with one another, and one thing, though incredibly upsetting for me, was certain--our next battles, would be for the first time in almost a year of love and support, be fought alone.

We arrived back in Phoenix on my 33rd birthday and that almost seems prophetic now to look back, and realize that indeed on that day a new book was already being written. She left shortly after to write the next chapter of her own healing, on a journey at one point we were thought to be taking together, traveling to Peru to visit a Temple and undergo two weeks of guided healing by Shipibo Shamans using Ayahuasca at Temple of the Way of Light. I went back to couchsurf in Phoenix with my tail between my legs in a way, feeling alone and uncertain and in pain, scared of my next steps. I didn't know how to suddenly face everyone again, full of stories but with a changed voice from my broken tooth no one knew about. I began cooking and baking a little at Conspire to make a little money and feeling plagued by deja vu everywhere I went. Back in Phoenix, homeless again, not sure what to do, but this time, with the bike of my dreams, a few hundred dollars, and dozens of supportive friends in the community. Life wasn't so bad after all, right?

I made my "Ask for help!" shirt and tried to stay positive and began to slowly tell a few friends about my health and try to figure out what my options were, as Pinar after two months of 24/7 time together was completely out of reach. We talked briefly over skype when she was in Peru and she inquired about the status of my teeth. In a way, I couldn't help but feel ashamed. After all we had been through together, I felt like we had some sort of unspoken deal to go boldly into our days from that moment forward and face our fears, and here she was alone in the middle of the Amazon no doubt terrified, yet still finding the courage to greet each sunrise with joy, and here I was, unable to even settle on any number of googled services and make a single call to arrange a dentist appointment.

When she returned a few weeks later and we met each other awkwardly in a cafe for a limited time before she was scheduled to move and begin college in a few weeks, I was excited and curious to see what gifts she had brought me back from Peru.The picture below is my favorite one, which immediately took on special significance to me. It is a necklace created from seeds that was made by one of the shamans she had worked with at the Temple named Rosa. It is a symbolic amulet that I feel provoked great strength in me carried 1000s of miles from the hands of a Peruvian healer to help me, as they helped Pinar. In a way, I feel it was just what I needed it. Also, being made of seeds, it took on special metaphorical meaning to me, feeling like it was synonymous for my own locked away life force deep inside be that lay dormant, stifled by the great walls of fear I built around me for years. Wearing it, made me feel like I could finally find the courage to begin to sprout and reach toward the sun and greet each new day with hope and positive energy to finally begin to heal my damaged roots and grow a new smile.

It is very fragile, and has already sadly begun to fall apart, so I do not wear it as much as I would like, but I wear it to every dentist appointment, and intend to continue to until I see this whole process through, and then retire it. Perhaps, even journey to a distant land, and plant it. Perhaps back to Trinidad, CA with Pinar, full circle, with new front teeth, to bury it near the restaurant where both our lives changed in an instant. This time, though, I would eat that crusty sandwich with complete confidence!

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