Life is but a journey. Death is a returning home. —Chinese Proverb
It is approximately 11pm on this warm Northern California Saturday night. I am camping at an elevation of 3,000 feet atop the beautiful and sacred Mount Diablo in Contra Costa County. This mountain is literally in my back yard. This is one of the things that my late partner, William and I talked about doing, but never got to. Tonight, I am checking it off MY list.
I am writing by candle light, inside my tent on what is Pride weekend here in the San Francisco Bay Area. I am gazing up at the clear, inky sky through one of the screen “windows.” From the outside, it might appear that I am camping alone, but the reality is that Mother Nature and I are on a very hot date.
I spoke with my Mom this morning before leaving, as I always do on Saturday mornings. My Mom lives on Long Island in a retirement Community. And as I did, when my Dad was still alive. I told her that I would be going camping for the evening, but would be back Sunday morning. A friend was supposed to be the one that was going camping with her hubby, but they had to cancel. She had asked me if I wanted the campsite- SCORE! My Mom being the cautious, wise elder inquired in her thick Long Island accent “Aren’t you afraid of bears and mountain lions?” “Mom” I replied succinctly, “you forget that I used to teach up in the South Bronx and lived in Williamsburg, Brooklyn long before it was fashionable AND I survived it all.” She laughed. “Well, that’s true.”
I no longer live my life that way, in fear. I used to have a fear of heights, so I jumped out of an airplane. When I was younger, fear held me prisoner. Don’t get me wrong, fear still holds residency here within, but no longer holds me back. We are a Culture and Society cowering in fear. I refuse to anymore. I told my Mom “I believe that when your number is up- there is nothing that you can do to change that.” That is just how I see it. It also helps me to process such huge tragedies as Orlando.
Because of the work that I am honored to do, I feel that it is my duty and obligation to bring to light, the focus on forgiveness and continuing to keep our hearts open to loving. Orlando challenges all of that for me AND our Community. It just means that I have to work harder at it with this one. What I have learned on my very challenging Journey here on this earthly plain, is how to allow all negative feelings to flow through me. Not to focus on any particular one. I acknowledge and watch the Anger, Hatred, Pain, Hurt, Injustice, Helplessness all pass through me. I no longer hold onto any of them or allow them to fester, as I did as an angry young man. I am doing a Healing Ceremony for Orlando on July 13th in Berkeley, California. The focus is forgiveness. Having lived as long as I have and survived SO much, I can tell you without hesitation, that it is one of the most challenging things to do in life and absolutely essential in healing. Blessings to all.