“Create or die”. That’s what a spiritual counselor told me is the motto that my Soul has set up for my life. The last couple of years I started wondering if Door #2 would be more pleasurable and less laborious than all that creative work—with the unanticipated sorcerer’s-apprentice manifestation of my almost-dying experience in February.
I didn’t find out if dying was less painful than working/creating but I found out that I didn’t like the illness process that led up to it, which was even more work than your everyday life in the body. (It’s a good thing I wasn’t incarnated/incarcerated in a female body because I would would have sewn-up and triple-locked-up that channel so tightly that what they call “labor”, or making babies, would have been a 100% impossibility.) Paradoxically when I was ill and I thought I might be escaping from physicality, I had to pay more attention to the body than ever before. It was like unexpectedly popping up in the warden’s office when you thought you were tunneling out of prison.
So I took the steps required to stay in the body and was healed just in time to work close to 24/7 on the Israel trip. I got more attention from John Morton than ever before, through words and physical touch a couple of times, I guess because there’s more work for me. It seems like there’s no escape anyway, so I decided that maybe pleasure and pain, like sex and childbirth, were always going to be inseparable, and God was going to keep poking holes in all the condoms, so I took the healing—but tentatively. J-R has said that one of the greatest prayers is “thank you,” but mine has always had a question mark after it. Can you have a prayer with a question mark after it? If not, is just a question mark, without any preamble, an acceptable prayer? I think it should be, because Jesus said that his yoke is easy, and that’s proved to be true in my life. It’s only my imaginings—all the preambles before the question marks—that were hard. Instead of making babies I’m baking maybes.
On the last day of the Israel trip I ended with a question— whether I’d stay in the body and do photos at the John Morton/MSIA/PTS events in France that I was planning to attend, or if I’d just hang out, dangling out of the airplane for a while to breathe the fresh air. It turned out that the answer was that I’d do photos and maybe even some writing, since the effort required to stop the process is greater than the effort required to participate in it. (John Lennon said that once you open up the channel to songwriting the songs won’t leave you alone.) But before the France events I decided I’d throw some chaff in the channel so that maybe I’d be undetectable by god’s radar (or you could call it an ultrasound) for a while, and indulge in the painkillers of Rome, Lake Como and the Alps on the way to John Morton’s Strasbourg events. Art and nature are God’s great anesthetics. But when you’re feeling good/god you want to do something with the energy, so although I told myself I wouldn’t take any photos a few pushed themselves through the channel/canal.
I’m so in love with Rome I can’t even begin to describe it, which is strange to me because aren’t these the nice folks who violently conquered, ruled and plundered the world, killed Jesus and fornicated with his teachings, etc? But aren’t most murders crimes of passion, and isn’t the first suspect in a killing usually the one closest to the deceased?
Rome seems to me to be one of the few human-created places that’s actually organized around pleasure rather than some kind of pretense or yearning or hope or striving. (Paris is too self-conscious to totally immerse itself in pleasure—like Narcissus it won’t jump into the pool.) I got a tour I’d never heard of before—a bus tour of the Vatican gardens—that afforded views of the dome of St. Peter’s that I’d never seen. Michelangelo is the Creator-God of Rome, the first time that a person fully incarnated all the faculties of the creator, with all of their order and chaos, pleasure and pain, in a single human body. He answered yes to it all. (OK, maybe Leonardo was first, but he and Michelangelo are sort of like two halves of one person, very much like Mozart and Beethoven. Divine order is so perfected in the first incarnation that it makes the leap to encompass chaos as well in the second.)
I’d also missed Michelangelo’s Moses somehow in my previous trips to Rome. It’s in a small church near the coliseum and forum, and while there are thousands of sweating, gelato-guzzling tourists around the coliseum magnifying and reflecting the August sun and heat to each other like some kind of new viral pandemic, and competing for little tree-masked areas of shade, the adumbral church has maybe a dozen people looking at one of humanity’s greatest creations.
Of course it turned out that the journey after the spiritual journey was just as spiritual, because if a spiritual journey has an end to it, it can’t be a spiritual journey. And there must have been a strong tailwind from the Israel trip, because in spite of the chaff I threw out it seemed I was impeccably piloted to spiritual sites and experiences. On my second day in Rome I woke up in the morning with a hit that I was supposed to go to Assisi. I always loved St. Francis (of course more so when I was younger and spiritually ambitious even though he leans too far to the pain side of the equation for my personal taste now)—but he took it to the limit, and as J-R has said so often, 100% either way is God.
I had just enough time to get a train to Assisi, have a bit of medieval mending and spiritual straightening, and get back to my airbnb in Rome for more fun. The funny thing is that I kept barely missing trains and connections. My first train was on the one platform in the whole station that required a 5-minute walk instead of a 5-second walk. There’s no more frustrating experience than running at top speed after a train just as it’s leaving the station. When I finally got the next train an hour later and got off at what I thought was my train change, there were no signs for my next connection, I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to get off, I asked some moron with a backpack who looked like a local and he said I needed to get back on the train I had been on, and just as it was leaving I found out that I was supposed to get off and change trains after all. The second most frustrating experience is pounding on a train door trying to open it just as the train that you’re not supposed to be on is leaving the station.
At least I had lots of time for SE’s and enjoying nature, anesthetic #2, through the train window. At some point in all this delay-induced leisure, watching the Tuscan greenery whiz by, I stopped and realized that I could contact St. Francis just as easily inwardly as I could in Assisi. Everything got very peaceful inside me and St. Francis’ teachings about nature as a representation of ease, serenity, abundance, healing, grace and the-blessings-that-already-are made sense. And I realized that he’s probably the one who arranged all my train delays.
I got to Assisi at 4:00 in the afternoon, and I actually benefited from having less time. I had no time to ponder about where St. Francis might have been or where I should go to bring and be brought into the Light. I got on a bus all the way to the top of the hill, sussed out the whole scene, it all became very clear where he actually was vs. where the tourists had peed in the pool (you wouldn’t believe how commercialized some of it is now), and I was able to walk briskly downhill aided by gravity, going straight to the places to tune into his energy in some areas and to help plant the Light to clear others. I didn’t need to spend 15 or even 5 minutes doing spiritual exercises to tune in or clear. It could be done in an instant.
And I even had time for some ravioli in a little hotel by the train station before I left, with the sweetest small-town waiters and hoteliers you could imagine, especially one old guy who just smiled and said buona sera, and I felt like all the genuineness and heart energy of Italy was poured into me—in an instant.