Friday, September 24, 2010

Learning to Accept

Within hours of arriving back in Miamisburg, I walked down to Kroger (a local grocery store chain) to get some victuals. On my way back, I approached the entrance to a gas station out on Central Ave., the main drag through Miamisburg. A silver '70s model Chevy pickup truck passed and I heard a feminine voice shout something incoherent at me. Most of the drive by shoutings I've experienced in this town have happened near that particular spot. Perhaps there's a sign on the road there that reads, "Shout at pedestrians" and for whatever reason I haven't spotted it yet.

Even better, last night I rode 5 miles up to Walmart along the "bike route." The "bike route" is really a sidewalk that turns into the shoulder of the road. You know it's a bike route from the tiny green sign that reads "bike route" that has a corresponding picture of a bicycle. I stopped at a red light, and when it turned green, I proceeded into the intersection and was nearly run over by an old guy in a white, monogrammed polo shirt driving a Lexus. He stopped short and laid on the horn--a mere three feet from my ear--and then squealed his tires when I got out of his majesty's way. I turned around to look at the old fart, as if to say, "What in the world is wrong with you?" surprised to see that he had the exact same look on his face. I was a split second from flipping him the bird, but thought better of it and just continued on my way.

Souls come into this life to have different kinds of experiences. This is something I have constantly to remind myself of, especially living here in Ohio. The people in this area, I suppose, came into this life to live a relatively challengeless existence. Perhaps they are young souls who haven't had the experience of facing significant travail, or they experienced serious turmoil in the previous life and are here to just take it easy, roll along, and not have to think too much about anything. In this world, you can drive your Lexus without having to worry about cyclists riding on a "bike route," impeding your passage to the Country Club. Or perhaps, you don't have to consider that ambulating is a function with more purposes than taking you to the refrigerator to get a beer, a snack, or both. Shouts from old silver Chevies is the result of absolute surprise and wonder.

Living here, I feel the oppressive weight of constriction and judgment. In taking on a life of relative ease and lack of challenge, the trade off is that anything different or out of the ordinary presents a supreme challenge. Anything not experienced before is not only confusing, but very likely also evil. This is the climate I grew up in and through it, somehow managed to overcome this small universe and live a life of relative diversity and variety, appreciating differences, even seeking them out.

So, why did I come into this life in this particular place in the world? First, I needed to overcome the stultifying stench of conformity and Fascism. I had to learn to be an individual with wildly erratic impulses in a world that tends to slap down anything that falls outside the ten commandments. Second, I needed to learn to accept that some souls simply aren't ready for that. For them, it's a challenging life. Like the hiker who traverses continents who comes upon people complaining about having to walk a mile to get somewhere, I have to learn to see that not everyone has come to this world to expand, to explore, to tear down walls, to think outside the box.

"You get what you give," I've heard people say. If I want acceptance, I must give acceptance. For the time that I'm here in Miamisburg, I will endeavor to accept that these people are exactly where they need to be. I realize I'm not and am going to do everything I can to get to California and live there. In the meantime, "Hello Mr. Aristocrat in a monogrammed polo and Lexus. You go on ahead. The people at the country club are just dying to see you." And, "to you in the silver Chevy, I'm not from another planet, but I can see how you might think that. Don't worry, I'm going home to eat some beans and cornbread. Just close your eyes and in a minute I'll be gone."

Monday, September 20, 2010

Out of the Fog

Realizations can come like a flash in the pan. One moment, I stand in complete confusion, not knowing what steps to make, and the next, there is clear direction and a sense of purpose. Not that I'm particularly happy with where I'm headed at the moment. I fly out of LA tomorrow back to Miamisburg, Ohio. I've come to terms with this decision and no longer see it as failure.

About two months ago, I had this idea of going out to LA for a week or so to get the lay of the land, meet people, get around, see what it's like, etc. This trip has been very much like that, I have met such incredible people. I've met so many interesting people who have encouraged me during times when I felt so afraid and uncertain. So, I made my short trip and have seen that I fit here, that this is a place where I could flourish. I'll go home, write my ass off and do whatever I can to get my screenplays into production, perhaps have to file for bankruptcy, but we'll see.

When I was in Mankato, when I just happened to show up at the University as the watercolor painting class was painting, I felt I'd found my tribe. Later that afternoon, I met an eighty-one year old psychic healer at Cub Foods, yet another member, perhaps a shaman in that tribe. This was the day after my catharsis in Sakatah State Park, of learning to trust the Universe, that she is always concerned with my highest good no matter how it feels to me. Those moments were like a death, and the very next day, I was re-born into a new phase. I've come into a time of attracting my tribe--people who see the world similarly to myself.

This past weekend I met a woman who is studying at Fuller Theological Seminary (one of the three leading Evangelical seminaries in the country). In many ways, we have been on a very similar journey of becoming fed up with Evangelicalism, but she's stayed inside while I've gone outside. This experience reminded of a time when I spoke to my pastor in Irving, Texas, perhaps eight years ago. I explained my radical thoughts to him and his response was, "You're a prophet. God has put you here to challenge the church." His words resonated at the time, but have long gone dormant since I disavowed my Evangelical beliefs. But in meeting the seminary student, I'm considering opening my heart to the possibility that there is still something to it, though I have to say I'd really rather have nothing to do with the church. But the more important point is that meeting such fascinating people is the connection between the Minnesota Bike Tour and the LA Reconnaissance Tour. They are two phases of the same journey. I intend to write an essay about it and will try to get it published.

I really don't like Ohio. It was difficult to live there. But I believe there must still be some remaining karma for me to work out--otherwise, why go back at what seems to me a very critical moment? One thing is I know I need to be more accepting of others. I also need to learn to live in the moment and not try so hard to figure out what's coming down the road. I almost never get it right anyway, so I'm going to try to stop trying to figure it out. I know that I will write screenplays and be paid for them, but I don't currently know how I will get from A to B. I accept this next stage and will do my best to be the man I need to be under those circumstances and try to enjoy myself in the process.

Miamisburg, Ohio residents Fred Lucas and Billy Rae Le Suer find themselves resistant to the current "faggot" direction things are going with Mark Weaver walking and riding a "gad-derned" bicycle everywhere.

One thing I've learned on this two-pronged tour is that the Universe often brings things to us to get us to see who we are in comparison to our potential. She doesn't care how much it hurts either--consider the Holocaust in Germany. Sometimes all we can do is just bear the pain and get through it. Nevertheless, there is gold in those painful moments if we are willing to dig. Digging's hard and it often requires that we act or think in ways that challenge us at deep levels, as I wrote in a recent post. Our highest good is always her goal, and she doesn't care what pain we experience to get us there. The Universe can be quite ruthless, but it seems it's better to go with her flow than to resist it.