Snorkeling with Wifey and Monkey: A Week in Belize, Part 3

Fox the fox
Rat on the rat
You can ape the ape
I know about that
There is one thing you must be sure of
I can’t take any more
Darling, don’t you monkey with the monkey
Monkey, monkey, monkey…

David

I monkied with Monkey today. I took him snorkeling hoping his fear of water would end up with either Monkey drowned or on life support. Not a good swimmer, he curled up inside my head and looked at the sea from his hidey hole. I was tempted to grab an eel and stick it in my ear to ferret him out but the eels were too big. I tried to terrify him by swimming with sharks. Tried to appease his insatiable appetite for new things by showing him rays and sea turtles and swarms of fish swimming within in fingertip reach, fish playing in a coral haven, more heaven than haven. We swam in the midst of fish with large black eyes, eyes that held light with the ferocity of a black hole that, if stared at for too long, would have pulled my soul into its depths leaving me as much of a shell as the massive lobster we feasted upon for dinner at Ajit Bistro. Continue reading

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Sounds of Silence with Monkey: A Week in Belize, Part 2

A gentle breeze again greets me as I walk from our inn, barefoot across the white sands still wet from the predawn shower, and take my customary morning seat at the edge of the cushionless wooden lounge chairs. A solid wall of low clouds lines the horizon extending high into the sky, and overhead. There will be no visual color this morning. But, there is an abundance of auditory color. So, I lay back and close my eyes. It takes a couple of minutes to adjust to the auricular world.
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Slapping the Monkey: A Week in Belize, Part 1

Heron Full Length

The first question of Belize Vacation is, “How long will it take my monkey brain, aka Monkey, that generally passes days slam dancing to Punk Rock inside my head”, he is partial to the Dead Kennedys especially ‘Holiday in Cambodia’, “to chillax into Island rhythms predicated on the ebb and flow of the surf during a lazy afternoon while birds are floating effortlessly in a lightly clouded sky?” The second question is, “Is it even possible?
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Tranquility & Erotica @ Khajuraho (India 2017 Part 6)

A painter once told me that I’m like the Khajuraho, which you see once but which remains with you forever. I thought that was exquisite. ~Vidya Balan

No Time To  Center

I planned time for soul reflection in India, the country I consider my second home. I figured a large block of meditative time at Bodh Gaya sitting in the cooling shadow of THE Bodhi Tree deep in the aura of praying Buddhist monks and nuns. But Air India shit on that plan. Varanasi, the holiest city on the holiest river in India, promised to be a place of profound reflection.  The city was an onslaught of sensory stimuli from every direction, a whirlpool of insanity in which I barely kept emotionally afloat induced an agitation in my spirit I preferred to ride than to soothe.

The result of not having reflective time, I was riding an emotional bicycle precariously hovering between balance and crashing. In the real world, aka home, I write at least 1/2 an hour every weekday to maintain cognitive equilibrium. Since our visit to the Golden Temple, where I was able to sit for a spell and experience Sikh spiritual energy, I found myself unable to float in the river of universal consciousness flowing through India, my second home, let alone find a tranquil oasis to refresh my soul. Continue reading

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Inhaling Souls, Manikarnika (Cremation) Ghat (India 2017 Part 5)

Early in the morning, we crossed the ghat, where fires were still smoldering, gazed, with our Western minds, into the Ganges (Ganga). ~Mary Oliver

Manikarnika (Cremation) Ghat

The Perpetual Flame

We stood in the midst of the swirling smoke, smoke the color of brushed aluminum battering our bodies, endured the heat waves crashing into our sweat-soaked flesh, breathed deeply the carbon atoms released by the ravenous flames, flames crackling, hissing, spitting intertwined atoms of charred wood and scorched human flesh into the universe.

The flame birthing the pyres has an ancient tail. It has been burning continuously for 3,500 years, ignited close to the time prehistory became history, started its sacred burn at the hand of Lord Shiva before it was given as a gift to man. It flickered to life during the empire of the pyramid building Egyptians, was breathing before the Greek’s invented philosophy, danced enigmatic before the Romans ran riot over their known world, helped people enter Nirvana before Siddhartha sat beneath the Bodhi tree and became the Buddha where he outlined the eightfold path to enlightenment, was granting people access to the afterlife before The Christ was born and hung on a tree opening the gates to the Christian Heaven, was consuming people long before Muhammad formed a loose band of desert wanders that would be consumed by the faith that became Islam.
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A Slap in the Face @ Varanasi/Benares (India 2017 Part 4)

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Ghat Crowd

The city illumines truth and reveals reality. It does not bring new wonders into the scope of vision, but enables one to see what is already there. Where this eternal light intersects the earth, it is known as Kashi. ~Diana L. Eck

Hubris

When you date someone on and off for 10 years, then live with them for another year and a half, you feel as if you know them at a deep level, are connected by an intimacy reserved for lovers. You believe you are familiar enough with them that the unexpected is always expected and the possibility of surprise was replaced long ago by an endearing comfort.

This was how I felt about India…until visiting Varanasi (also known as Banares, Benares, Kashi) an ancient city founded by the Hindu God Shiva sometime around 800 BC. Artifacts found nearby in 2014 date back to 1800 BC supporting the view that Varanasi was inhabited at this time.
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Never, Ever Fly Air India! (India 2017 Part 3)

Air India = Lies, Lies, Lies

We arrived at the airport early the next with the plan to connect through Delhi and visit Bodh Gaya. From past experience flying on Air India, I made sure there was ample time between flights. In this case, I planned four hours. It wasn’t enough. The severe pollution in New Delhi, the source of our flight, resulted in a delay of more than 5 hours. We missed our connecting flight and the chance to sit beneath the Bodhi tree.
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