Road to Realisation

Sleep Diver Part 5 (Final)

Road to Realisation – Texas

Continued…

Outside the small town of Realisation, Texas – A gunfight takes place. Two cars stand on either side of the road, their occupants shoot frantically at each other.

On the backseat of one is a suitcase containing $100,000.

One of the shooters is hit in the chest…

“You care for a drink White Man?”

“As a matter of fact Chief,” I reply, “yes I do.”

“Sorry, looks like we’re all out.”

“Aint that a shame,” I splutter. “Tell me old man, you God?”

“Hell no, though I know of Him.”

“The Devil?”

“Acquainted, but again no.”

“Then who?” I ask.

“Isn’t that obvious?”

“Maybe to you.”

“I’m everything you cant let go of Eli.” He pauses. “I’m the weight around your neck.”

Blood trickles from my mouth; I cough and more of the stuff bursts forward. It feels like I’m choking.

“I had a strange dream Chief.” I struggle to breathe, “you were in it.”

“I know,” he says.

“The girl, the runner… the boss.” I gurgle, “all in this dream.”

“You only loose what you cling to.”

“There were others, some guy at a table.”

“Let me go Cryl.” He smiles.

I’ve never felt this cold before. “I’m dying?”

“Sleep Eli, dive into the sleep. Dive in deep.”


A phone call…

“The mark escaped Ma’am, I’m afraid we lost them.”

Silence.

“Theres one more thing… Cryl, he got hit. He’s gone!”

“The money?”

“Sorry Miss Lou.”

“Ok Stan, thats slightly unfortunate. Clean up then come home.”


El Paso – Mexican side

A car speeds towards a crossroads. Dust rises from its wheels. A black Sedan is parked at the junction, its heavily armed passengers lean back on the vehicle smoking cigarettes. The car pulls along side.

“Señor Dan.”

“Zorro.”

“I hope your journey was a pleasant one.”

“We made it.”

“You have my money?”

The suitcase sits on Marcie’s knee. She holds it tight. Dan takes it from her and passes it through the open window, “Its all there.”

“Well done my friend.” He opens the case, takes out a bunch of notes and drops them into Dan’s lap. “Buy your lady friend a sombrero.” He laughs. “Welcome to Mexico.”

A Diner. Upper West Side, Manhattan

“Hey handsome,” says the waitress. “You want more coffee?”

“No thank you.” He looks at the empty seat across the table, “I just take the check.”

“You been stood up again?”

The Kitchen Table Man gives her $20, “It happens.”

“You’re a regular finder of lost children ain’t ya!” she says.

“Somebody’s gotta do it.”

“Maybe they show up later.”

She walks back towards the cash register as he says, “he’ll get another go; we all get another go.”


A little beach somewhere in California – The sky paints crimson again; this time its Sunrise. Exhausted, I wade through the water and crawl across the sand to the trailer.

Inside I find an old woman stood at the cooker, “Good morning Eli, how would you like your eggs?”

“Easy over, with some home fries,” I reply.

“Salt and Tabasco?”

“You know me too well,” I say, still not certain who she is.

“Indeed I do.” She laughs.

“Eva.” I begin to remember, “Lou.”

“That’s me sugar, sometimes ‘Shawn’.”

“Eva Lou –”

“Eat your breakfast Eli.” She puts the plate in front of me, it smells delicious. I feel a warm glow come over me. It feels good.

“Where next?” she asks.

“I get another go?”

“Sure do, still plenty left.”

“Home fries?”

“Experiences,” she says.

It all starts to come back. Different places; different times. The sensation washes over me like a Déjà vu.

“How many left?”

“A few…billion.” She cracks some more eggs into the frying pan. She looks a lot older than the Chief.

“Is there any reason for any of this?”

“What, you mean for living every life that ever lives?” She smiles, her eyes are so friendly, her skin so wrinkled.

“Gonna take a while.”

“You have a better idea on how to walk through eternity?” She scoops an egg from the pan and catapults it onto my plate.

“I get to choose?”

“Hmmm… you can suggest.”

“Somewhere warm.”

“Afghanistan?”

“A little too close I think, hows about Hawaii?” I’m starting to like the sound of this.

“Pearl Harbour 1941 looks interesting.” She begins to chuckle.

“Really.” I say, “I get to experience everything?”

She leans forward and runs her hand through my hair. “No Eli, I do.”

THE END

“One day your life will flash before your eyes; make sure its a show worth watching.” – Unknown.

“When we reach out to what is unknown to us, we let go of the notion that we can control what we experience.” – Ken McLeod

“We’re all just asleep, dreaming that we’re awake.” – Unknown.

The journey is the reward.

— Taoist proverb

D&O in Fresno

The 4th Step Flamenco

“Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple programme, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of been honest with themselves”.

 

The first thing apparent was something wasn’t quite right. I had no idea what and even less of an idea how I knew. But I knew. Of that I was certain. Simply put – my insides didn’t match others’ outsides! But no way was I going to say that out loud. Who would? Even though I had the love of some beautiful people, I knew from the word go I was dancing this one alone!
Looking back there was a few who could see and one or two who tried to raise the issue but that door was firmly closed. Besides all this I quickly found a solution and it was to accompany me every step of the way across four different decades. The journey with the illusion had begun 

Flamenco;
Noun- a style of dancing (solo) that is strongly rhythmic and involves vigorous action (including clapping of the hands).

 

Humans in general have nothing more than a nodding acquaintance with self-honesty. Everybody is quick to point out the other mans faults and almost blind to recognise them in themselves. The funny thing is, we don’t need to see them to be aware, we just need to listen. My problem is no different to anybody else’s. Its not that I chose to look the other way it was more a case of “soak in the praise and reject the appraisal”. Basically I surrounded myself with people, good or bad, who through no fault of their own, co-signed my bullshit. The delusion was in full swing and the masks fitted comfortably… for a while. Drink, drugs, violence, disastrous relationships, all from an early age had me believing I was some Romeo in a porno show. But whatever it was that was apparent first thing just kept clapping louder and louder until enough of the self imposed crisis routine embarked me on a journey into honesty…  

Education and information are wonderful things. Personally I love them and happily endorse them but on their own they are a fucking horror show. Since the invent of Google and social media everybody is an expert and a world leader in their chosen field of the day. Just so happens that since the internet made an appearance the insanity level powered up a few notches. Our planet is now the mental institution of the Universe and all sides think the other side is to blame. Infants in charge of an ego – dangerous game!
Thats where my issue with others has to end. Quickly I recall it all started long before any digital mindfuck and even if the Matrix really is a public information film instead of an action movie what good is that going to do me. The Flamenco is a solo dance but never danced alone, it requires vigorous action. There is action and more action… 

Throughout all the chaos, peppered with high octane excitements and soul crushing lows, the dice landed favourably enough often enough to warp my perspective. Education, information and greater efforts all mean jack shit without an awareness. What is awareness other than honesty in action. Am I honest enough to see my resentments are not the responsibility of somebody else’s efforts or can I see that Im a resentful fucker regardless. It matters not who’s name is on the list, it could be Micky Mouse, when it asks ‘Who is resentful?’ Its always my name in that column. Its the same with fears. It looks like the world and his wife have all got some form of anxiety disorder they are popping pills for. But honestly when I ask myself why I have them isn’t it because self reliance reminds me Im applying for Gods job but Im not qualified to sit in the interview. What about conduct? Does selfish self-centredness explain it with any justice? All I know is when it came to sex, money, prestige, there was never enough for me.

Whats the common denominator in all this? Me? You? Us?

“The first thing apparent was this world and its people were often quite wrong. To conclude that others were wrong was as far as most of us ever got. The usual outcome was that people continued to wrong us and we stayed sore. Sometimes it was remorse and then we were sore at ourselves”.

The first thing apparent was something wasn’t quite right. What was wrong? I thought I could and would dance this one alone. But we are never alone. There is no me, there is no you, there is only us. Talking of honesty, there are some people that I will never like, some that I tolerate through gritted teeth. But it doesn’t matter. They are as much a part of the ‘Us  equation as anybody else. None of us qualify for the interview. The same life force, the rhythm, that flows freely through me flows through you flows through us. Separation is the illusion.

We don’t mature through age, we mature in awareness~ Byron Katie

“The fundamental delusion of humanity is to suppose that I am here and you are out there” ~ Yasutani Roshi

“Whatever you do to the least of my brothers and sisters, you do to me” ~ The Carpenter 

D&O in Fresno

Warrior Mundial

The world is a big place and full of people, amongst other things. I like travelling, it’s something I was introduced to as a kid by my parents. I’ve always loved witnessing new scenes, sampling different cultures and climates, seeing first-hand how other nationalities go about their everyday lives. It’s fascinating stuff.

It’s something I’ve always done, even towards the end of my drinking when things were pretty dark and depressing there was still time for one last mad session in Magaluf with the lads. Not much culture witnessing going on there but a more favourable climate and change of scenery was always appreciated whilst hurtling full speed to oblivion.

When this challenge landed via email (using a map as your muse #day 14 everydayinspiration) it got me thinking about how far I’ve roamed and more importantly my constant travel companion – Me! Wherever I go I take me with me!! There lies the problem, my ever present dilemma. Geographic solutions always seemed extremely inviting, after all… the Sun is always brighter and the grass is always greener isn’t it? Well… No! Looking back it was a case of the drink was always cheaper, everybody was always drunker and situations were always more forgiving. Sounds like a perfect combination until you realise it’s just another recipe for advanced insanity that always wears me down until I’m left with no other option other than to withdraw back into isolation with the bottle as my only company.

I can’t remember exactly when I had my first drink but I can remember drinking wine in Spain around the age of 9years old. It was at a traditional Spanish evening with some matador looking guy going round with a spouted decanter, pouring wine into everybody’s mouth as they held their heads back. I have this overwhelming feeling I drank twice as much as the adult’s around my table. Somewhere my Mother has an old photo of that night, in it I’m wearing a Sombrero and looking obviously intoxicated.

This was a trend set to continue at home or abroad for the rest of my life until I first got sober at the age of 41. I’ve made a list of countries I’ve visited… 14 in total and I’ve been drunk in everyone. Including Iraq ‘91 when serving in the Marine Corps and under orders to remain dry until we left for home.

The Royal Marines replaced battle honours with the globe in 1827 and that has kind of been my story. “Map as a Muse” seems like way too much description of a story that’s followed a similar path from A to B leaving minor train wrecks to massive tsunami type behaviours and consequences in my wake. A gentleman in an apartment close to mine in St Lucia would shout across the road It’s all bullshit in his Texas accent every time he saw me. He looked like Elma Fudd and I never once saw him with a drink, looking back I think I finally know what he was trying to say. Back then I couldn’t see shit for stink I was too busy trying to drown my travel companion to take notice of an elderly cartoon looking former oil man somewhere in the Caribbean sea.

Cold winters in North Norway above the Artic Circle were bearable by the fact that every time we returned to camp we got beer so cheap it was as good as free. Even though the local bars were expensive we were heavily compensated with “Local Overseas Living Allowanced” which we treat as nothing more than beer tokens – Some of us more than others! The Viking women were very attractive and attentive, on nights when this wasn’t so then the Norwegian men were good for fighting and insanity reigned supreme.

Enough of drinking memoirs… How’s it been travelling sober? Incredible is the Mount Everest of understatements!  The road opened up to Rome, USA and Malta as well as various locations across the UK. One thing all these places, and I’m sure the places I’m yet to visit have in common, is that the Fellowship is alive, well and healthily strong. Before I leave home to go anywhere outside my home town I check out, using the internet, where the nearest meetings are and all there details. I have been welcomed through the door by and made friends with amazing human beings that I otherwise would never have known existed. Friends who wanted nothing from me other than to hear my story and offer me fellowship and support. The way AA operates in New Orleans is nothing short of amazing, and they say NYC is a great city to get fucked up in and an even better one to get sober in. I’ve done both and I have to agree!

Traveling both home and abroad with my constant travel companion I realise I no longer feel the need to drown him. There’s nowhere to run to and that’s ok with me. I get a feeling of excitement and manageable expectations wherever I find myself. I’m able to take in all those sights, sounds and experiences I described earlier without a hurrying need to call time early and get drunk. I enjoy massively the experience of been away from home and also the satisfaction of returning to my own bed afterwards and laying a sober, contented and freshly educated head on my pillow. A recent excursion to Malta with a good friend was such a unique trip. It was my first AA Convention and it was truly wonderful. Full of inspirational people, a great hotel, sunny weather on the back of a shit damp winter in the U.K and loads to do. We both had a blast!

We all go through shit, both home and abroad and we somehow survive. Whenever any of us overcomes a struggle, either a life time’s worth like an addiction or a short term pain like a divorce, we tend to label ourselves survivors. I don’t quite buy into that and prefer to see myself as a Warrior. From my earliest memory of fighting on the streets, through school, on the football terraces and in bars and clubs across the land I saw myself as a fighter. Compounded by my time in the military and endeavours with contact sports, I saw the enemy or my opponent as an objective to overcome. However I now realise this to be horseshit! The battle was always within, and it was always with my travel companion. Learning to accept him, laugh at him and love him even at his most vulnerable and weakest moments has shifted my perspective from fighter/ survivor to one of Warrior.

warrior-sunset-mozambique-andrew-woodburn.jpg

I have journeyed the world far and wide, but the most challenging and frightening battle I have engaged in was the one that was constantly raging inside myself regardless of external locations. One in which I had to face myself… Honestly and completely, without secrets. That started sometime ago at point A, I then arrived at point B in the City this blog is named after, where I finally stared myself down. It is also the most rewarding  journey of my travel, one which continues today and hopefully for some time yet. One day at a time. Its a big world with lots of people… amongst other things!

 

“Adversity introduces a man to himself” ~ Anonymous.

 

“Let no one be deluded that a knowledge of the path can substitute for putting one foot in front of the other” ~ M.C. Richards.

 

D&O in Fresno