Table of Contents

Leaving Tallahassee (Part 2 of 2)

Part 1 is here.

But we'd drifted apart. The lake house was needed for other uses; we got booted out. We found a place that had room for all 3 of us way out off Highway 90 east. There were two buildings, a small house and a smaller duplex. Marty moved into the house, and Linda & I split the duplex, which had interior connecting doors so we could hang out together if we wanted. But I had begun withdrawing into myself. I came to Tallahassee full of life and energy, and life in the lake house had been a blast, but I was beginning to get too comfortable in my cushy state job. I was headed into a miserable ease.

Glad I got that outta my system. I lived there a year, and got big into herbalism. I had several herbals. I even bought John Christopher's absurdly expensive book, considered the absolute cat's pajamas of herbal wisdom. I fasted, and even went so far as to give myself an herbal enema once.

Also the last time, at least so far. The duplex started feeling cramped with all my stuff in it; I'd become an intrepid thrifter. I was more into stuff than people. Time for me to branch out on my own. I moved into the lower left apartment in a classic old fourplex on E Park Ave, all tree-lined and residential back then. Except for a few months in my overheated trailer, it was the first time I ever lived alone. I wanted to live alone because I wasn't getting along with people very well. I started being hypercritical, an old bad habit. I was well on my way to becoming a comfortable asshole.

Living alone, I pursued other interests. My interests had a theme: cool old stuff. I'd been frequenting thrift stores and used bookstores. I furnished my bedroom and living room with elaborate, heavy, dark antique furniture, including bookshelves. I furnished my kitchen with noritake china, silver plate utensils, and delicate etched glass stemware. I filled my bookshelves with theosophy, Sufism, and Gurdjieff.

The Western esoteric tradition. The new age church was all about the Far East: India, the Himalayas, China. Listen to that intro; it's brilliant. I rebelled against that. I expanded, first to Madame Blavatsky & co, then to the Sufis. Studying the Sufis led me to Gurdjieff. Now I'm hitting my stride. TH was big into Gurdjieff, but by the time I met him I'd read Meetings and was making my way through the 4 volumes of Bennett's Dramatic Universe. I loved to torture myself by reading really dense crap like that. I wasn't enough of a sucker to waste my time on Beelzebub, and Ouspensky? What a load of crap.

Alone v. lonely. I loved living in my apartment alone, at least at first. I would leave for work in the morning and return in the evening, and everything was just as I left it. And then after a while I noticed the same thing again, only differently: everything was just the same as I left it, no surprises, pleasant or otherwise, no greetings, nobody cooking up something good. There was no life there. That started to feel a little lonely.

So I adopted cats. So much easier to get along with than people. First a Burmese I named Sattvic, and then her daughter, an F1 Tonkinese I named Bhakti. They kept me company; they were good at it. They both talked a lot; that's what originally drew me to those breeds. Engaging, quirky, funny: pretty good company. I wouldn't have cats again until I lived in Bridle Trails, decades later. By then I got along with people much better. The two Tigers were also a mother-daughter pair.

Healing arts fair. Marty, Linda & I may have gone our separate ways, but our new age church was still chuggin' along, and eight or ten of us had become ministers. We were still putting on the weekly chanting + meditation. We added a new thing: an annual healing arts fair in the summer. That gave me some chops that I later used for the Tilth Organic Harvest Fair, which I coordinated for a few years right after I arrived in Seattle.

TH. I think it was in the runup to our 2nd annual fair that I heard from an old college chum who'd gone off to find enlightenment a few years before and landed in Boulder. He was studying with a guy named TH, who taught a holistic healing system called Harmonizing, and he said I just had to have this guy in our healing arts fair.

Mad psychopomp. In one of my lost pix, TH is sitting in my Kennedy rocking chair, toasting the photographer with a beer, a mischievous gleam in his eye. He had that a lot; he was full of mischief. He was to be my guide to a new life. There's a word for that role, one I learned in my mythology studies: psychopomp, the conductor of souls, the guide. Rilke has my favorite depiction of the psychopomp in literature, a poem called Orpheus, Eurydice, Hermes. Here's Stephen Mitchell's translation.

Transformation. I did indeed move to Boulder to study Harmonizing, and it's a good thing I did; I needed to live with a lot more self-discipline, and life in Boulder was good for that. But for me, by far the most potent and transformative part of my relationship with TH happened while I was still living on E Park Ave.

That's as good as never. TH read my ticket right off: I was poised for spiritual growth. Everything in me was in great shape, there was just a piece missing. TH made me find the missing piece by dancing: once a day, alone, no music. Just whatever kind of dancing I felt moved to do. I quickly felt moved to dance outside, and from then on danced in the back yard of my fourplex. I was probably observed at times, but never to my knowledge.

Words can't hold it. I can't describe what happened in that dancing; it's not the kind of thing that words are good for. It clearly sprang from what happened to me in college when I was studying comparative mythology. What I can say is the dancing really developed, very strongly, and as it did, so did I. Once I connected with that missing piece, I took off.

Even though I resisted like the dickens. That's the essence of what I got from TH on a deep level; it would be 30 years before I was ready for the next step. In the meantime, I needed to not kill myself, or make myself weak through lousy self-indulgent living habits, so it was Boulder to the rescue. In Boulder I got to confront all my bad habits, my laziness, even some of my dishonesty. I spent the 80s there, with some side trips at the end, and my living habits got better.

I'm grateful to everyone there for putting up with me. There were also things about life in Boulder I couldn't accept. Nobody made a big deal about it. I got what I needed out of Boulder despite my contrary ways.

No one can mediate for me. The next step didn't come until 2006. What I had to do was reject all outside authority, all teachers books and systems, and humbly surrender to my wisdom.