Sunday, October 31, 2010

After Work Smiles

I met Floyd and his mum on my walk from one town to another yesterday. A little rain started to fall and so I took shelter with them as they were coming out of the mountains from working their rice fields all day.

Despite a long day in the fields Floyd was full of energy and playful joy. I guess thats what happens when your outside all day working your land surrounded by green mountains. Floyd was dancing around, jumping off rocks, drawing on the walls and driving his Mum crazy. I had to laugh. And so did they.

They had both such amazing smiles! I had to ask them if I could take their portrait to share with the world. Their response was to give us this great mother and son pose!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Oneness Delivery to Delican

This is my journey to Delican, a remote village in the Filipino mountains, to deliver a portrait of a family that I met on my last pass through their village. The village is 12 hours bus from Manila. One hour by rough dirt road. Three hours hike on a winding foot path. There's no road access, let alone phones, computers, printers or cameras.

I filmed this a few weeks ago. It's a real rough movie shot entirely with first takes. I have been a little ashamed to put it up, not just because it is so rough, but because so much effort went into gifting so little.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Book of Job

I was talking to a friend the other day. She listed off the various things that have happened to me in the last few months-- being hit by a massive Typhpon, landslides isolating my village, getting deathly sick, running out of food, having no connection to the outside world, forsaken by a lover, being stripped of all my wealth, etc. It reminded me of the Book of Job in the Bible-- you know the one where God decides to test his faithful servant Job by besetting him with every possible calamity.

So the other day I took the afternoon off work, picked up the Gideon Bible in my hotel, and read the Book of Job. Reading out loud some of the passages where Job speaks, it was as if I was speaking what I had to say.

So anyway, I just give up.

I think that's gotta be one of the messages of the book. If God can be so frivolous and do all that nasty stuff to his best servant, and no matter what Job says or does, he can't make it better-- then what's the point in trying anyway?

I don't mean give up, give up. Job may have wished he was dead, but he kept going. I mean, I am just going to give up fighting the current.

The current took Job from being a wealthy man, to a diseased and impoverished nobody who's most trusted and loved friends forsook him with judgement, then back again to his former stature.

Job had a great life until the demise of his success. I've had the most amazing life ever, almost like multiple lives within a life. I've been like a father with a log cabin house in the countryside with a a wife and two kids. I've lived amazing lives in central America, the middle east, Europe, a loft in Paris and heck I've even been a farmer in Iceland. Now I am a missionary embedded in a remote Philipino village.

That's where the current has taken me.

So rather than resist, I am going to just let it be. And in the meanwhile be as massively generous as I can be with what I happen to have.

So, whatever. Now that I think of it, now that I release the dire grip on my expectations and wants, I actually have lots to give still, and many people I can bless.

So, I am just going to keep going with that current.

The Flower

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Yelling, Cursing and Screaming are Good

Have you ever just yelled and cursed at the top of your lungs?

I don't think I have have. Not til this afternoon on my walk back to Sagada, anyway. I am too mild mannered and come from a culture where politeness and reason reign.

I've been cooped up in bed for a long time being sick. Thankfully, I think I am finally on the mend. Returning to normal. So, I choose to walk the relatively easy part of the road back from Bontoc to Sagada today-- to get some fresh air and exercise. I've barely eaten in five days nor left the hotel. The walk home to Sagada is a gorgeous winding and lonely road through the towering green mountains. Just what I need.

In this fever time, I have also been getting really angry-- at myself, my situation, the universe, my conservative brother, my lover who abandoned me through silence, my geographic plight, the fates, the gods, money, etc. In fact, my intense feelings probably went a long way to making me sick and attracting my situation.

Haha... "Probably"... Of course they did. Its nobody's doing to me. Judging and blaming only make one sick. It is just how it works. I guess, best just to laugh at what I already know too well.

So there on the road I realized that there was no one else around! The road workers and rice harvesters seemed to have gone home, no trucks were coming, and I had this vast and silent and imposing landscape to look out upon from the perched highway. That's when the idea overcame me.

YELL. Let it all out.

I stood on the embankment and yelled and yelled and yelled. All the profanities and curses and anger and emotion and frustration and shit. I just yelled it all out.


Did that feel good. I highly recommend it.

I felt alot of weight lifted. Purged. That seems to be the theme of this crazy last week were anything I ate would flow right out of me. It was like a seven day fast with a full system flush concluded with an emotional purge.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Five Days of Fever

This will be what I call a Vaughn post-- where I write about bad stuff. Bad stuff, sickness, accidents, anger, frustration are so much harder to write about. My good friend Vaughn urged me once after two months of golden sunshine posts that I needed to make it real. Life's got its ups and downs and I can't be visiting school children everyday.

I write with a fever. This should be interesting.

Just before I was about to leave the remote village of Mainit I got sick. I had been out delivering portraits and toys to an even more remote village. Maybe it was the food there. I felt Real bad. Fever. chills. diarrhea. It sucked because their was no Internet or cell access and no pharmacy. My good friend/angel Sarah helped me get the medicine I needed.

I got back to town and felt beter. Then it got worse. And worse. Now five days later I am back at square one with a fever. Shitty. I feel like I am going to slowly wither and weaken away into meaningless nothingness. Satre would smile and say I've made a great existential revelation.

My friend points out that everything is connected. So my last blog commented on the challenges and obstacles with my art project. It's at that crazy stage where it is collapsing and exploding at the same time. My finances just ran out to see it through over the gap. The hosting and domain all expire in a two days. The crazy thing is we have a great sponsor lead and just today I was going to talk to a business man that I have been preparing a doc to show him for over a year (well, and show others too). It's agonizing... After so much work and the doc is so strong now.... Facebook would friggin commission us...

Ok... Too tired to type now. I rest. No happy ending here folks. It's insane really...

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Steady, steady...

So, for those of you who have been following the 1Mandala project you have been getting our updates each week. Each update is the culmination of months of work by our team. Each newsletter reveals a component of the project that we've co-created over the last eight months. Each newsletter is a piece of our Intention Map, new website content and a series of pre-planned blasts to bring our 3000 followers up to speed with the new project.

Of course, now that the momentum is going again, all sorts of temptations are arising. Getting back to my journey, starting the project movie, contacting investors, etc. At the same time things are getting immensely challenging-- my resources are dwindling and yet cost and bills and debts threaten to strangle this critical stage.

I feel a little bit like Luke Skywalker as he flies his X-Wing fighter into the Death Star to take it out. As he approaches his target he is bombarded by fire on a sides. The target is small and requires steadiness and focus.

It's hard! It requires not just trust but humility and faith. Trust in the process, the universe and the unfolding of the intention. Humility to let go of expectations and of pride. Working with a team in the cocreative way means fluiding accepting all the ideas that come. Faith that when you follow your dreams, calling and heart the universe conspires with you.

However, one is still the creator. Your humility (or ego) either thwarts or enables. The most challenging consequence is when it comes time for asking for and accepting help. Is the work important? Are you important? Then asking for help is often part of the process.

"Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and the door shall be open-end to you". Of course, if you don't knock, seek or ask, Well... Yep. Exactly.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Oneness and Mandalas in at Ginayan Elementary School, Philippines

On my way to visit some friends in a remote village in the mountains, my trail literally took me through the school yard of the Ginayan elementary school-- a not so remote, but still pretty remote village in the mountains of the Philippine Cordilleras.  As I walked through the school yard and all the kids excitedly pointed and gleefully exclaimed 'Americano! Americano!' 

On my way through the yard I made the acquaintance of Manuella and Celestina-- one a teacher and the other the headmistress.  I asked them if on my way back through, they might like me to talk a little about Canada.

So, later that afternoon, on my way back, I dropped by again and was kindly invited in for coffee.  The next day, I was invited to talk to the kids about Canada and why I am in the Philippines.

I had a lot of fun.  There's about 300 kids in the school (and only 7 teachers!).  I made the rounds to each classroom and spoke in my now slightly functional Kakana'e dialect.  It felt important to talk to the kids.

 You have to understand that this village is roughly 12 hours by bus from Manila, then another 1.5 hours by really really rough road into the mountains.  There is only one computer in the school.  None of the kids have ever been out of the country.  Most probably never out of the village or province.  The English books date from the 1960's and the class sizes are 30-50.  There is no administration.  Those 7 teachers do all the work.  To have any visitor at all is remarkable.  To have a white guy who speaks English fluently and their language-- no matter what the details of who I am-- is a rare connection and glimpse of the social web on Earth.

The passing of Dr. Robert Muller was still on my mind (see my last blog post).  One of Dr. Muller big ideas and initiatives was to teach a universal educational foundation to all kids.  He emphasizing teaching to the kids their place in the web of life, and how we are all apart of it irrespective of borders or ethnicity.  His foundation (which fits on one page) teaches first the solar system, the place of earth in it, then our place on Earth.  And so, before I introduced them to Canada, I drew the solar system and I explained I was from planet Earth-- a corner called Canada.  I explained I was collecting smiles from all over the planet to share with people from all over the planet.  I asked if I could take a portrait of their smile to share with my friends around the world.

They gleefully obliged. 

Here you are!  (I had trouble up loading the photos to my blog so here is the Facebook Gallery link)