How to win all the time

23-may, 4:21am

Be Here Now. Almost on land, altho I hardly ever think of it that way, or succumb to the countdown. in fact, I’m the voice of opposition on-board regarding this, asserting politely that I’d rather not know any countdown-related statistics. (It’s really an opposition to Time, a principally oppressive concept.) I’m very particular about this, as my crew-mates would tell you, although to me it’s perfectly acceptable to celebrate our progress. “10 days down!” or “1500 miles behind us!” are to me quite positive statements compared wih “20 days to go” or “1500 miles to go”, as the latter sound like glass half-empty statements to me. To call attention to how much we haven’t accomplished yet has a tendency to make time drag its heels, and isn’t constructive or feel-good at all.

I’m similarly snappy about calculating end-results. like when we’re playing cards, I’m abhorred by those keeping constant tallies of who’s in the lead, or when asked how many cards I’ve got left. count your own cards. to me it’s invasive when people are so concerned with what I’m doing.. worry about yourself.

both of my peculiarities are borne out of an attempted practice of being Present, living for this moment and not for the future. In the present, a continuous satisfaction can be achieved, instead of living for an uncertain payoff later, a momentary peak or spike in an otherwise uneasy air of anticipation.

Winning. (This is a bit of a rant, and a tangent, but it’s related.) I’m not saying it’s right, but in being consistent with the Be Here Now outlook, it’s natural for me to play games with the intention of exercising skill and to have fun in the moment, preferably so that’s mutually satisfying with my opponent; not to prevent them from scoring. A good analogy might be made with Sex — can you imagine how terrible it would be if you were only aiming to please yourself, or even worse just to have an orgasm? (Okay, analogy ends here.) In cards and in sports, I play more offensively than defensively, because it doesn’t hurt me if my opponent smiles and enjoys the game too – it’s better actually. to me it’s just more fun to flex some skill and make some goals, without being preoccupied about the outcome; and there’s an abundance of opportunity within a game for plenty of this to go around. and regarding the outcome, I don’t care if I lose, as long as I’ve played to the best of my ability, and everyone had a good time. it’s playing for the moment, not to Win. one thing I don’t like about competitive sport, whether it’s playing cards, ping-pong, or verbal debate, is that if there’s a Winner there’s also a Loser. it’s ironic to me that you’re often competing with friends. in my opinion, among friends, if there’s one Loser, then everybody loses. I see winning as an ego-driven satisfaction at the expense of another, dominance of the strong over the weaker player. this is why competitive sport among friends can be counter-productive, and why intention matters so much. It’s all energy exchange; make it pretty, keep it positive.

I realize I’m up against the very fabric of our society, as we’re bred to compete, dominate, kill or be killed. It’s a bit Buddhist of me (and aligns with my veganism too) that many of my actions are guided by the intention to alleviate suffering in the world. When we live in the future, it’s either at the expense of the present moment, or can cause us suffering when it doesn’t turn out how we had planned. So forget about it!

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Christmas Dayze

Gator-deer in New Orleans
Gator-deer in New Orleans

Christmas Day 02:35 AM. Mérida, Yucatan, Mexico.

I’ve been traveling for four consecutive Christmases now, and each time has been a (third) eye-opening experience. It may seem contradictory but I don’t even miss it.. not when it compares to the ongoing experiment, my tuning-in and dropping-out, expanding thy universe and self-awareness. Questioning culture, the origins of our motivating forces, playing with attachment and detachment, stretching my soul, listening to my heart. Observing what happens on Christmas in other places and homes, or among new acquaintances.

First time, in Nepal, there was no Christmas. On Christmas Eve my three compadres and I were stuck on the border when Cara lost her passport in the neither-zone between India, and preceding that there was no trace of the holiday approaching. It was just another crazy day.

Second time, in New Zealand, I was in the forest at my first Rainbow Gathering. Been there for two weeks already and didn’t even know it was Christmas until very late in the day (Rainbow time!) when I heard a ragtag caroling procession. I recall wishing a Merry Holiday to a few people who each laughed a little, as if choking on my small gift, (like it was a joke.) Rainbowland is pretty non-denominational (except at the US gathering where there were at least three Jesus Camps), but you know what? It was bliss. Just another beautiful day… From my diary:

Merry whoever you want! Xmas music in the woods, breakfast w coffee & eggs at little fire, was gifted the most delicious smoked salt & spices by Rabbit & Maria (Cz girl), Geo. Everyone nudie this morning. Bkfst crcl w Sanae, worked the mud pool, swimming in th creek, chees & Pb&j on crackers snack, shared some mint chocolate & down to the waterfall, up the hill w Sunae. Dinner crcle already, massive. Feasted on rice/salad, Sufi dance & other songs, to bakery for vegan brownies & cookies, laughed a lot w original crew & Katherine. Back to sleep early, 2?!)

Third time, I was studying Spanish language in Sucre, Bolivia, and for once I felt the oncoming holidays in the spring air. Lit-up street decorations glowed twinkly rainbow hues over the town’s signature white-washed stucco, a couple small holiday markets sprung-up, and Santa gave hugs in front of the department store. We had a Christmas party at my language school (where my teacher & I were gifted sexy novelty underwear!) and on Christmas Eve morning I attended my class as usual (+ a tiny bit of weirdness). On the church’s borrowed wifi I video-skyped into Christmas dinner with my family (whose party seemed downright bacchanalian by the slurry sound of it!), then biked up to a beautiful spot overlooking the city to order a mistletoe – the same drink they were getting sloshed-on back home. In the town square I found a torrent of little kids parading around asking for candy, and passed the evening merry-making at a pot-luck dinner with my awesome Couchsurfing friends, featuring a beautiful (vegan) nut loaf. I marveled and was refreshed because, for the first time I can remember, I enjoyed the season.. not just Christmas Eve (and morning with Mom) – the reward for all our hard work. It came naturally for me to send love home, and it was well received.

Fourth time, I’m in land of the Mayas, as well as in a new head-space. I’ve been practicing waking meditation, lucid dreaming, and attempting nightly to astral project (leaving my body so I can fly through the spirit plane.) It’s time for an evolution, and I feel like all of a sudden I’m ready and capable. In these ancient cities, I’m listening, absorbing, feeling the lingering energy of Quetzalcóatl, the plumed-serpent God, who is predicted to return and usher forth this shift in consciousness.

Tulúm Yogi, Mexico
Tulúm Yogi, Mexico

Do I really believe all of this?

Not any more or less than I believe any of the rest of it. To me it’s all the same. Different manifestations of the supreme energy which shines in everything. None of it exists, and all of it exists. Religious mythology, Voudoo, Hedonism, Astrology… Ayurveda, Science, Modern medicine, Magic… Peace, Politics, War… they’re all in our minds, created by us and given power by us. We are Christmas if we want to be. We are God. We are Everything. And we are Nothing.

Fourth time, I didn’t really celebrate, not officially anyway. Today I worked on my energy body, exercised my spirit, traveled to my Home, and into the pieces of everyone I store in my heart. I tried to make midnight mass tonight, for the first time since I was a teenager, walked to two cathedrals and a church in the center of this biggest town on the Yucatan Peninsula, but I didn’t find what I was looking for. Kids have been igniting Christmas explosives in the main square all night and it’s 4AM. Just another day I can’t bear to sleep and miss any of this, until I get excited to project again. See you in infinite Paradise, loves!

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