After the U.S election…(short video below)

I was shocked, stunned and disheartened.

Since I am on my sabbatical, I declared a “news blackout” for myself in order to reflect, do my version of prayer (for myself, my beloved nation and her people, and our lovely world) and I took off! Went camping and hiking to one of my most personal and sacred places and spaces on earth: The Sand Dunes National Monument in southern Colorado, USA.

It is a place of stark beauty and immense contrasts (like America!). It contains the highest sand dunes in North America. It is located in-between two mountain ranges of the Rocky Mountains. The prevailing westerlies carry sand from the western mountains and the desert bowl and lay the grains at the feet of the eastern peaks, leaving a most unusual home for these sands.

In these Dunes I began to develop and process how I, perhaps we, can respond to our wounded world that seems to strike out with anxiety and anger (valid emotions of a hurting and frustrated people). Here is part 1 of a 3 part video blog. Perhaps you will listen, make comments, advise and join in revising our present American story and responses. In advance, thank you…

What the Current USA’s Election, UK’s Brexit, the 2008 Worldwide Bank Crash, and an Abused 2 Year Old Child Have in Common

Portals of Projection

http://livingwithmeaning.com/dream-work/in-your-dreams/  and

http://livingwithmeaning.com/dream-work/the-basics-of-projection/

So, “the gush” happened in one of the most beautiful places (to say that is a projection, too (-: on earth, on my recent travels to The Cinque Terre (I so wish I could say those words with the poetic inflections of the locals), along the Mediterranean Coast of Italy. What a place to experience positive projections! I was hiking those gorgeous sea-side mountains, going up the mountains, overland, the day after a severe rainstorm had closed the coastal walkways. So, I was probably primed for lots of gushes of projections from whatever source!

The hiking trails and coast are absolutely stunning as the attached pictures reveal. Hiking after a heavy wind and rainstorm meant that humidity levels were super high, which added to the sweating drama and the huffing and puffing to climb those ancient carved steps and trails.

I met a number of happy and exhausted souls on the way. It is always a cheer to meet others on a trek, from all parts of the earth, meeting on this poetic land and sea. I was taking a picture break, doing goofy selfies and amazing landscape shots when I saw this striking couple (note the projections already on these poor, unwitting souls (-:  They were immediately friendly and spoke immaculate English (unlike me). We started to visit about the hike and beauty of our space. Somehow, someway I nudged my introverted self to go further in our conversation (perhaps my intuitive awareness kicked in, “knowing” something passionate and gripping about these folks and unconsciously wanting to connect more). I asked what they were about in life (I am hiking, silly! and I bring up the meaning of life? Geez, Royce, give yourself, and others, a break!), and they both answered, “We are Ph.D. students studying near Florence.” “Really?”, I thought…Florence? I had just left there about 2 days before, unexpectedly enraptured!! of the art. I guessed out loud, “Oh, PhDs? Cool! Studying art?” “No.” And each answered on their own, describing their focus of study.

We visited maybe three-five minutes at the most. I couldn’t help but smile. I was in a place of joy and my projections were gushing. They were about the business that a part of me is so passionate about! They were studying social justice issues from on the inside of our world’s economic system—banking—, not on the outside looking in, mind you, but on the INSIDE! They were studying at the European Institute, near Florence.

We parted ways in just a few moments. But I kept having conversations with them in my head (I am weird like that). I so wished I had had the time, the wherewithal to have pulled them aside, on the precarious edge of the hiking trail and said: “Let’s do a video interview!” It would have been fun and dramatic to have done a video hanging on the side of a cliff!

Bummer!!!  I never even got their names! So disappointed. I literally prayed, yearned I would meet up with them somehow, someway, again.Hours later, in the cool evening in the tiny, beautiful village of Vernazza, just as I was getting ready to buy a train ticket back to my resident village of Monterosso, my new friends spied me! “Hi!”, they said. Wow! I was not going to let this synchronistic moment escape! We visited a bit more. They were ready to eat dinner. I decided I could miss the train and asked if I might interview them for my travelog as they ate (I am not very polite). They said “Sure!” They asked where and what to eat and, me, the very non-Italian connoisseur suggested baked anchovies, the SPECIALITY of Vernazza.  I had just enjoyed that pleasant light tasting, lasagna-looking dish (I am not a foodie, but I was intrigued how freshly caught anchovies would taste—not bad, needed a bit more of something, but certainly better than that canned stuff in the States)

I got their names, Kinan and Oli, respectively. So, while Kinan and Oli ate, I ordered another!! strong Americano to stay alert and videoed my new friends. I suggest now to watch the video and then come back and read the rest of this post.

I am not sure there is a way to write a good transition between the video and my reflections and projections upon their topic and upon them, Kinan and Oli, as earthlings. But I shall try and, also try to not do damage to their cause or their person-hoods. This is stuff I need to say. And, in the world of projection, as you may know, what I say is always about me anyway. That is why they are called projections. Maybe you will read about you, too. Probably (-:

This topic may or may not bore you as you read, but, for me, it taps many of my deep passions of life: economic fairness for small businesses, agricultural, environmental, poor, middle class and economic issues wworldwide The gushes of theological prophetic voices of my seminary days (the brazen prophet Amos, that gutsy truth-to-power guy was my fav) and beyond flooded me as I interviewed my new friends. The wounded U.S. political and economic system (and the world’s!) that “makes” people vote (if, indeed, they can vote and, then, do vote) with the reactionary, painful and sad and mad frustrations of the justifiable! anger of an abused, helpless 2-year-old was unlocked.

Yes. Please get this: An abused, frustrated 2-year-old, in despair over not understanding what is happening to her or him, and NOT BEING ABLE TO CHANGE IT, as they may be yelled out, starved and hit, that child will strike out in crazy, painful frustration, even if it hurts her or him more. Maybe they will just curl up and die as a way to strike out and give up. Whatever, that striking out will not make logical sense. Sometimes, the 2-year-old abused child grows up to be an abusive adult, needing and seeking abusive power over others. In other words, seeking safety from abuse, sometimes one grows up to become an abuser. Welcome to our world.

Yes, I am calling the common, ordinary citizen of the world an abused 2-year-old. Hello, Syria. Iraq. Afghanistan. Brexit. Hello America, the U.S., the Donalds, the Bernies, the Hillarys within us. Hello all of us, the street murders, the militias, the immigrants, the taxpayers and tax-dodgers, racists, the persecuted, the powerful and the poor. When WE are helpless to affect positive change when we hurt and have things happen to us, when the abusive economic system beats us, what do we do? We attack. We find a way to say NO! Even if it hurts us in the long run. We have a temper tantrum. Terrible, violent tantrums.

The terrible 2s.

Because we hurt so much and so much hurting makes our thinking cloudy and foggy and reactive, we cannot be thoughtful and constructive. Because so much of the power is not in our hands, it is in the hands of the powerful and rich because they are fearful of losing and want more. They, in anxiety, can’t share their toys and yell “NO!”. Get it? So we all have temper tantrums, maybe we even VOTE with and/or for temper tantrums, even if it hurts us later.

At least we get to scream, we think.

Ya dig?

Ha! So Kinan and Oli unlock ALL that in me? Yes. Afraid so. Sorry about that you two beautiful people. I offer thousands of apologies. However, I need to write this stuff in order to reclaim these projections, to call these projections BACK to ME. So that you two lovely souls can be on your ways to sow your own seeds of justice, calmness, thoughtfulness. For me, writing like this, spilling out my raw projections, owning that these are about ME, not really about Kinan and Oli (though they may or may not agree with my projections as part of who they are, that is for them to say) is healing.

This is not just Royce needing to vent. Writing like this helps me see that I have powerful projections gushing all the time in me. And if I do not explore and own them, know what they are, then I will contribute to the world being an even more dangerous place than what it already is. Writing about this freely means that I may not always act like a wounded 2-year-old. I just might be able to grow up for a moment, create room to love and forgive my perceived enemies, while still holding them accountable for their awful injustices to me, and others. Holding them accountable, seeking new strategies to bring loving, constructive, not hateful, justice into the world. I need help with this. I need to be wise. Join me?

This is WHY I love to study the meanings of night-time dreams. That is the place where our most unconscious, raw projections lurk, and they, our dreams are doing their best to nudge us into understanding these projections for our waking health and wholeness, for our very wounded waking world, for the abused 2-year-old adults in our world.

2-year-olds want to rule the world.

No. We cannot let them. It is our thoughtful mission to invent ways to help the universal 2-year-olds heal, us heal, because we are all the same. They are us, we are them. It is never OK to have a temper tantrum with weapons, suicide belts or exploiting economic power for selfish gain. Never. 2-year-olds need firm, consistent, loving limits. And they need to be HEARD, not even agreed with but heard.

So, Kinan and Oli represent that part of me that is DOING that (sometimes), seeking to bring thoughtful, logical justice to some part of our wounded world. I know my profession is all about that, too. Part of what excites me about Kinan and Oli’s work is their mission is in the arena of the wide world of economics. Mine is the quiet, confidential space of a confessional, a consulting room, exploring what we dreamed last night. And both places and spaces are sacred and effective. I think my connection with Kinan and Oli reminds me that I’d like to trade spaces sometime (-: please?

That is why I am writing this for you to read. Besides diagnosing me as certifiably crazy (I am, happily), and a wild-eyed, loving radical (I hope I am), I also invite you to be curious about YOUR projections. Even your night-time dreams. You are the only you.

Be Curious.

Be in Wonder about You.

Vote that way, too.

How can words ever describe the beauty of our lovely Earth?

Just can’t. Ain’t ever possible. So we just gaze…in wonder, speechless.

Here are a few shots of my last moments in Italy, in the Cinque Terre. I am now in London getting ready to fly back to the States, tomorrow, my Wednesday. Because of Wi-Fi and some computer issues, I haven’t been able to post to my travel log, nor add pictures or videos, or interviews recently. However, once I get those matters taken care of back in the States, I will. Promise!

I have more amazing pictures and an interview with some people that deeply touched my heart. Can’t wait to share it with you. I’m crossing my fingers that I can get these videos and pictures posted properly.
Thank you so much for your patience, and your lovely support of me on my sabbatical.

For ALL of our healing and creating meaning,
Royce

Touching Base

I apologize for not being in touch recently. My recent WiFi connections have been weak, plus I needed to mail back my computer last week due to problems. So, I am using my phone which is difficult to use to post articles on my blog.

When I can, I am using Instagram to post pictures and brief commentary although that has been sporadic as well. I hope to do more beginning today. The slow internet connectivity has been frustrating. However, If you have not yet signed up for Instagram, and I hate making an advertisement for some kind of social media, but please do. It is Simple and Clean and Effective. You will probably want to use it for your own purposes as well at some point. I will be posting pictures of my most recent travels there.

However at the moment I am surprised that the WiFi connectivity is very good so I will continue to babble and hope not to bore you.

As most of you know, after I finished my amazing Ridgeway National Trail hike I skedaddled up to Oxford, then to Scotland. I was so enthused and entranced with Scotland that I stayed for some extra days. However, the weather on the island of Skye was challenging and because I was stationed so far away from everything I decided to not go hiking as I desired to do. That was disappointing. I had a most delightful visit, though with bus drivers and locals and I so desire to go back to Skye, if nothing else to listen to the deep mix of Scottish / Gaelic brogue. “Aye! Aye! I so long to hear your poetic words.”

So, as I left I had no plans and decided that perhaps it would be a good time for me to work my way to Germany to visit some lovely friends. In the meantime, I had found out that the Unitarian Church in London felt like they could not host the dream workshop that we were hoping to offer because so few people had signed up. That was disappointing of course but it allowed me time to continue to do some amazing explorations. Thus my trip to Germany.

This Sabbatical trip has been full of the normal and abnormal experiences of me getting lost in city after city, trying to find my way back to where I started, and also experiencing amazing synchronicities of grace that mysteriously confound me. One such example was to keep missing the bus in Skye to get me to Glasgow. When I finally did catch the bus, the bus driver was quite arrogant and frustrating. However for some reason he and I begin to hit it off. I must say it took my humorous diplomacy to finally connect with him. After that, I was a part of a wonderful and beautiful conversation between he and one of his friends who was a passenger on the bus. And they became my guides to the intricacies of the world of Skye. I so miss that conversation.

When I finally got to Glasgow, 7 hours later, and had decided to take the train to London, most of the train personnel told me that there was no way I could catch a train until the next morning which was about 6 or 7 hours later. However, as I kept politely talking to various people one of them pointed out to me to go talk to one of the conductors on the waiting London train. Not only were they gracious and kind, but I found out that I could actually get a sleeper car for that night. It was a little pricey but worth the 7-hour train ride. And certainly more enjoyable than waiting in the train depot for the next 7 or 8 hours.

So on the way to London I also began to investigate how to get to Germany. I had originally thought I could get to Germany via the train from London on to Paris and beyond. However, because I’m naive and also spontaneous on this journey and did not make any advance plans, I begin to find out that that idea was probably not going to work. However, once again by talking with various train people I found out what was possible. I suppose it was my naiveté and also a little bit of gusto  on my part, but I went to the pricey business and first class office of Eurostar rail company to talk to them about how to solve this problem. The main reason I did that is because they were so nicely dressed and fancy looking and no one was in their office (-: So I figured, what the heck? The worst they could do with this strange hippie looking guy would be to kick him out. However, they were super kind and they began to problem-solve with me. They did confirm that it was not possible for me to take the train from London and beyond at this point.

But what these lovely people did for me was to say, you need a travel agent. I haven’t used a travel agent in years. But at that point I thought sure why not? They took the time to Google the nearest travel agent and referred me to them. Now, finding that travel agency was a challenge because it was located on the second floor of a building that had no identification signage on the outside. So it took me contacting two Bobbies and various other people on the street and other businesses who finally knew where the travel agency was. When I finally got to the floor of the travel agency I made some silly comment about, “boy! you are hard to find” and one of the agents jumped up and laughed and said “and we are worth it!” And they were. TEB Travel of London, and Maria in particular, were amazing! She took nearly an hour working out ideas and plans about how to get me to Osnabrueck Germany from London. Rather than go through all the funny and maybe even silly ideas I had, she finally said, “Royce you are going to fly from London to Amsterdam and then you will take the train from Amsterdam to Osnabruck”. Ha! No kidding! Maria took charge! Go TEB Travel!

Maria got me on the next flight that afternoon on EasyJet. It is truly the cattle car of jets. It is cheap! No offense to cattle and no offense to cars. But the jet DOES fly and it did get me there in 90 minutes. So, I spent two days in Amsterdam. Maria had booked me in a boutique hotel near Center City. So I got to wander around and enjoy visiting the historical sites of Amsterdam. Beware of bicycles and bicycle lanes! Nuff said.

After that amazing city, I took the train to Osnabruck and spent a lovely time with friends. Due to their family commitments, I only stayed 2 nights. In less than 48 hours, my lovely friend educated me on this beautiful German City of Peace and also some of its tragic medieval history.

So, since the dream workshop in London was canceled, I had basically an extra 8 or 9 days to continue exploring the world. What shall I do? Well, my friend in Germany and my son who lives in Singapore, sort of unintentionally conspired together to encourage me to go to Italy. Again, to make a long story short, through their help and coaching, I am now dictating this travel post from Florence.

In a little bit I am going to get lost in the City of Florence and hopefully find my way back to this little hotel. Tomorrow I will take a tour, official sights of Florence tourist tour, which is a first for me and a concession!! to conventional travel(-:  to want to make sure that I see some of the beautiful historical sites of Florence. My primary desire is to see Michelangelo’s Statue of David. After that, all of Florence is simply going to be added Beauty. BTW, let’s get proper here and honor the correct name of this city,  Firenze!

The reason I chose Italy though was to try to accomplish one great last hike! I have found on this trip that I’m not just a sightseeing kind of tourist. But I need to stake out a small space of a place and to experience that small place with intimacy. For me, the last several years has been to do that through my running and hiking. Through that kind of experience, I feel like I can connect more intimately in a kind of meditative prayer through the experience of running and hiking in a particular location. And something just as important as the running and hiking for me has been to informally connect with the people of these spaces and places. The combination of hiking and running and conversations with others adds to the deep sacred experiences that I have had.

So my primary goal is to get to the beautiful and amazing Cinque Terre, the Five Villages of the Earth. Some of you have perhaps already visited these beautiful villages. I have only recently heard of them. However, I thought what better way to end this part of my sabbatical then to experience an amazing and arduous hike in the Five Villages of the Earth on the coast of Italy.
Yes, you should join me!! Please!

Check out Instagram, for more pics or just get the heck over here! https://www.instagram.com/roycefitts2016

 

Iona, A Portal into Scotland’s Soul (and ours)

Does a land have a soul? Can “the rocks and stones sing”, truly sing, as ancient words insist? Ah-h-h…yes, for I have seen and heard. There are moments (if this were my dream, and it is! , mind you!) when I hear the land sing, when the blades of dry and green grasses swoosh their melody across the meadows, across the rocks, soil, water, pebbles, carried by it’s beloved friend, the wind…

It is Nebraska. It is Wyoming. It is Scotland. It is Iona. It is the prairie where ever it exists and lives to love it’s rooted-ness in earth. It is true, rocks and stones and grasses and water and wind and sky and clouds, let alone “the birds of the air, the fishes of the sea”, the insects, animals, the particles of all dust of the star-dust of life, all these and more, sings. The heavenly hosts, called stars and suns and planets, and the nothings and the every-things of life, sing. THAT is a lot of music, I admit, and I have missed and not given credit to even more…for my mind is tiny and I miss a lot. Thank you, life, for forgiving my lack of seeing the vastness of the vast of The All That Is.

However, yesterday and today (this first day of October) I have seen and heard more of the songs of the earth. As I am writing these clumsy words, trying to describe the indescribable, I am sitting at a tiny BnB, gazing out the window at a gigantic hump and lump of rich green grass and craggy rocks, on a tiny outpost of earth. In the near distance, I see even larger, mountainous (for here) rocks and sand and grasses. All of this is called the Isle of Iona.

Poets and lyricists haven written love songs and odes and hymns to this Isle. Kings have literally died to be buried here. Landscape artists and photographers (I promise to add pics here soon!) oddle over the light, the scape, the space. The Isle is, what? A God, a Goddess, How does an isolated chunk of land do this to us? It is just a chunk, right? I donno. We should ask that chunk of land in the sky, the Moon.  I think she/he may have some knowledge of that stuff more than us humans. Unbelievable, again, I say, unbelievable, as to where I am sleeping and walking…and dreaming…

Before there was time, there was Scotland. Before there was Scotland, there was Iona.

I am sitting now on some of, perhaps even, the oldest land on earth, on Iona. Australia, too, speaks of this possibility, being the oldest of the old rocks and land. Both can be true, in the graciousness of age and life. Here now, I am in Scotland, and she, he, Life of Rocks and Land, is old, very old.

Before there was time, there was Scotland. Before there was Scotland, there was Iona

I came here at this moment because I had finished The Ridgeway Walk last week. And that, for all practical purposes (and my needed bragging “rites and rights!!”) was a 100 mile wonder! It was a wow!, a big WOW! Walking where 8,000 years of humanity has walked. Obviously, I love ancientness, that connection to the earth, and us, calls me. Always has. I like to see how I fit in with all the molecules of existence. I find sacredness in these journeys of ancientness.

So, Iona, this little more than a sort of mile of land, or three, depending on how you count, has existed forever, at least as how humans count time. As I was getting here by bus, well, first by ferry (fairy, if you believe in what some of what the Scots believe, and why not?) my brain, which is always looking for patterns of previously experienced stuff, you know, kept wanting to say, “whoa, this looks like…the Nebraska Sand Hills (it does), or the Colorado Rockies (it does), or…whatever. Finally, when I was here for two hours, walking on the little “one-track”  (as they call it) from my “little bungalow” to the village, I got it. Iona is like nothing else. Nothing. Like no place on earth.

It was raining off and on yesterday, for a couple a days, actually. Honestly, this is the first day or two I have spent in honest to goodness rain in all of Great Britain in the time I have been here. Unusual, of course, and great for me. But, the rain in Scotland, on this Isle is spiritual to me…the weather gods speak.

And it has stopped. The rain stopped early this morning. The sun, mind you, Ol’ Sol is brilliant here! It is like double light! It reflects off the ocean and does a double ray of light. Amazing, I say, amazing! It is blinding and welcoming, all at the same time.

I went for two short runs this morning. The “one tracks” beckon, so you go…One was to see where the one track ends on this side (west-ish) of the island. It ends at the ocean, of course (-: And, it ends on the most blessed green carpet of grasses imaginable. It is a natural green for a golf course…Wait!! it IS a golf course! with sheep! THIS IS the country where golf was created, you know—do you? do I care? no, but it is cool to know…and the rolling swaths and hills of lush green grass (I saw three golfing holes with flags posted, along side of grazing sheep) flowing to the beach and rocks and eternal waves of sea. That was before breakfast. Then, I slowly trotted after breakfast toward the village (east-ish) to attend morning services in one of the oldest Christian communities in the world. Ancient, again. See? There I go again.

The ancientness of Iona is what called me. I have been soooo curious over the years of wondering about the formation of faith here, on this tiny dot of earth. This dot held (holds) some kind of powerful draw, that it is a kind of spiritual portal that makes humans, maybe other life forms, too, lose their sense-abilities and seek the non-rational, dream-time connections to the soul. There are rumors here that long before Christianity existed, others came here for their faith formation. Druids (no one knows what they believed, really), others…unknown to us moderns except by guesses and projections, that humans, at least, came here to Iona to experience the draw of the holy, the scared.

Is that enough, that wonder, to draw me here?

Yes.

And, my dreams disturb me here.

A good sign in dream language. The “not feel good about these dream images” that are always about pushing me to grow. Growing on Iona. Now that sounds cool.

Perhaps I will write more on this at a later time. However, the sun is brilliant at the moment, and I need to bask. To visit with Sol about my soul. Join me?

******
Now several hours later, an awareness unfolds, and more. I needed to say the above about Iona and I realized more that some truths to me were left unsaid. I must say these, too.

How did the Christians take over? Was it like the Vikings of later times, who murdered almost 70 monks on the beautiful nearby beach? The Vikings did their plunder thing several times over the years. My cousins, the Vikings do not give me a calm and happy family connection here. Or how ’bout the Romans? Not nice in their exploitations of any Isle. Sort of like the American imperialists, too, or the British later, or…name your flavor of dominance. The legends seem to point that St. Colombo, the priest that came over from Ireland to found Christianity on Iona about 1,300 years ago (?), had some pitched battles with those Druid folks. But that stuff isn’t really talked about right now. We just talk about the current light and grace that we feel as we walk this land.

What does this mean to me? It means that I have to acknowledge the terror of this lovely Isle’s past as well as love this amazing healing space she/he offers in the now. It means that our whims (OK, mine, if I have to admit it) of lust and greed and power and “absolute” truth will not prevail against the Iona of the sea. Iona does offer grace and offers the portal into our souls without conditions, except one, that is we face our soul, and look into our mirrors and see/own who we are. Then the light of the sea, reflecting from the stars, moon and Sol will hold us. Forever.