I feel like there's too much to say right now about my experiences leaving Ratna Ling. That place, the people and the teachings I received there are innumerable and intimidating to try and write down. Essentially I'm lazy. But! We're living in Charleston now.
Re-integration after renouncing (most) of my possessions and moving to a Tibetan Buddhist commune in the woods is a complex thing, but so far I've felt re-energized in a way I couldn't have predicted. I'm still going through the process and there are challenges, but for the most part I would place my general happiness and desire for creative output and meaning at an all time high. I have a beautiful, wonderful and supportive partner, I have some friends and a spiritual community here already, my family is closer than in Cali and I have a new city to explore!
So far, Charleston has been wonderful and fascinating to me. It's an old place, with deep and complicated roots when it comes to American history (and in particular, race in America). "A Holy City, a flawed city." Source. Once, many pirates lived and died here. And many unsettled ghosts purport to still haunt just about every street corner, if the guided tours are to be believed.
Shepherd Fairey is a Charleston native, as is Darius Rucker, of Hootie and the Blowfish fame. If, like me, you were unable to recall that exact blend of bad 90's ideas:
You can almost feel the fucking humidity in this video.
Edgar Allen Poe lived on Sullivan's Island for a time, and there's a restaurant I ate at called "Poe's" by the beach. No fried raven and waffles though (yuk yuk).
The greater Charleston area is called the Lowcountry, which encompasses swamps, pluff mud and what I can only assume are metric shitloads of alligators. I have to say the fauna around here is a little scary for my taste, what with the shark attacks and the gator attacks and the palmetto bugs (giant cockroaches that actually fly [they goddamn fly with their awful satan wings] directly into my nightmares).
The above is a Magic the Gathering parody card and of the 5 readers I have no doubt zero percent get the reference. If you do, leave a comment because that is funny.
But there are also beautiful herons, cranes, dolphins. The weather is fantastic and even though I'm too terrified of sharks to actually swim the cautious and anxious wading has been divine.
Charleston's past is tangled and gets pretty dark - politically I've seen some confederate flags around, although C Town (or Chucktown if that floats your boat) is pretty liberal for the South - here's how South Carolina played out in the election:
Look at Charleston! Hang in there little buddy. At least until the impeachment/revolution.
Kate and I are staying with our friend from Ratna Ling, Alexandra! Here she is Salt Bae-ing fried green tomatoes:
I've been teaching Kum Nye classes at Still Soul Studio thanks to Alexandra, which is Charleston's first and only meditation studio:
Life has been awesome so far - I'm also working on creative things with Layerframe and feeling up to any and all challenges, opportunities. I look forward to setting goals and making an impact here in the dirty south.