Down and Out in Fresno
Musings of a Recovering Support Worker and his friend “Slim”
as they follow the path of the Buddha, wearing Blue Jeans and Adidas Trainers.

Following on from the popularity of my previous Blog – “A fresh approach to homelessness, lessons from the United States” and the positive feedback I received. I have been encouraged to continue writing.
I aim to write about my experience of attempting “Staying Present” as much as possible, and the experiences I have while doing my best to drown out “the background Static” that most (if not all) people tune into a large proportion of the time when the mind isn’t focused on a particular task, that constant commentary and mental movies (day dreaming) that play through our minds that cause us to miss the true reality of the present moment.
Taking time to be still. Really listening when somebody is speaking (instead of thinking about what I’m going to say next), and hearing all the noises of my surroundings – not just the loud and obvious but also the subtle, distant and quiet underlying acoustics. Tasting the food I eat and not just shovelling it down unaware of the quality of its flavours. Witnessing the sights I see instead of living in my head. Feeling, Breathing and Living one moment at a time.
I must stress I follow no organised religion, though I do have a strong belief in a Power much Greater than myself, a Spirit of the Universe so to speak, I don’t know what you would call it, I’m guessing it doesn’t have a name (The Awesome Warrior; the Native American Indian, called it – The Great Spirit).
I’m not a Buddhist, but I’m aware that the qualities listed in the previous paragraph are what they try to attain in their daily lives and it’s something I have been practising (to various degrees with various levels of success on different days) on a day to day basis for 24 hour periods for the last 4 years. Starting afresh every day is all part of this practice. There are only two days that we can do nothing about… Yesterday and Tomorrow! Life is Here & Now! Living in the past causes regrets, living in the future creates fear, worry and anxiety. These negative emotions are what feed and power diseases such as addiction and OCD.
The Title – I found myself sort of down and out in Fresno last year and it gave me the opportunity to turn a negative experience into a period of growth by accepting what is, and becoming more aware of life as it unfolds rather than demanding that everything and every situation dance to the tune of my drum.
As for Slim – he will remain anonymous, all I will say is he is a very good friend of mine and he will chip in now and again with a small section entitled “As Slim Sees It”.
I’m visiting New York again in the second week of September and that gives me a perfect opportunity to try this out – documenting sights, sounds, tastes and experience. Giving it my best shot at taking things slowly in the Big Apple and experiencing all that the great city has to offer, not missing out because my mind is elsewhere. I hope you enjoy the Blog and maybe it encourages you to slow down a little and take the time to smell the roses.

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“You are here to enable the divine purpose of the Universe to unfold. That is how important you are!” – Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now).

“Go then, there are other worlds than these” – Jake says to Roland (Stephen King – The Gunslinger).

John – August 2016