24 July 2009

Transition thoughts... last travel email. ... dreamtime...

Melbourne Monday 20Jul09, I'm back. Tired, but very very happy - one of the best trips ever.

Traveling is a bit like dreaming, once you are back the place you've been to fades out like a dream. Yet if you go there again, the other place fades. ... Dreamtime...walking...

This period of transition back to Oz, opens a window of awareness as one country fades out and the other fades in.
so while it lasts here are some transition thoughts...random as they come...

- It's nice being back. That surprises me. It does not mean I don't want to stay away longer, I do, but it IS nice to be back. Here things work, fast, efficiently, cleanly, well.
Stuff gets done. Jobs get ticked off all day.
That's a good feeling, that clean efficient, 'gettin' s*** done' feeling.
What would take a leisurely hour or two in Yangon, gets done in 10 mins here. You HAVE to do it leisurely there, else you burn out real fast. Here you CAN do it fast. So I get a LOT done. Clothes are washed, dried, emails answered, 11 phone messages dealt with, bills collected, parcel from post office picked up, Uni courses sorted out, tutors sorted out, people met, updated on politics and key changes at work, weekend planned...etc...

- When going somewhere new it can be hard to get beneath the tourist-visitor surface. I've eventually found a way to meet expats and locals interested in meeting travelers. It is, not surprisingly, an internet based thing. www.couchsurfin.org,
one of them is a lady who works for http://www.businesskind.org/GoodJob.html

- walking around in Myanmar, was a different way of being. Not better or worse, - different.
It FEELS different, though it is hard to say in what way. to illustrate: if someone steps in front of me, if a car squeezes into my path, or I get splashed with sludge from the street, that's ok, I just move around it, smile and get on with things. I genuinely don't feel annoyed, I don't even have to stop any annoyance. That's how it is. In a car, in a taxi the same applies.
Back in Melbourne, or even in Singapore, people brush me carelessly, step into my path, I feel irritated.
I feel I have a right to move along in my path and others need to keep out of it. Evening today as I slowly ride my bike on the footpath slowly, a lady waves and stand in front of me, then discharges her store of frustration on me for that. Footpath rage. We call each other names, I move on, the atmosphere and mood of Myanmar still protects me and it does not penetrate deeply.
I'm sure such things exist everywhere, it is simply more or less visible, or hidden in different places. On the way to the Hotel in Yangon, I witnessed how one driver got out of a car and opened the door of another car, to hit the driver. Never ever seen this before. Road rage.
I just read an article where an Indian lady gripes about her own country, a rather rude experience at Delhi airport her story here.
As a child in Germany I used to observe adults, and how they related to us kids. I saw how some of the older adults would sit and lie in wait for someone to give them a legitimate reason to discharge themselves. The lawn of the high rise flats where we lived were no-walking zones. Any adult who wanted to vent some anger simply had to wait for a kid to come along and walk on the grass and then they discharged themselves, with 'legitimate reason'.
It was easy to see they didn't care about the grass, they wanted an officially acceptable reason to be 'in the right' and then they'd pack in all the frustration inside themselves and fire off a salvo. They just needed an excuse. But firing off at someone at random would be too crazy, so they waited, to see someone break some rule. Then they'd fire off. Kind of like psychic landmines. I like the modern American term "pushing some one's buttons". Very apt.
Us, kids of the block, treated it as a kind of game, we'd bait the adults and set them off, like the challenge of setting off a mousetrap without getting your fingers caught. In my mind it was understood, that these were our respective job descriptions. Oldies just did that, they grumbled and bitched, and put down the 'decadent' Youngies. And Youngies had to provoke them, they wouldn't be normal and healthy if they just said 'yes, Amen, of course, whatever you say I will do' what kind of kids would they be who did that ? Not normal ones.
So if hair was usually short, then the young ones had to wear it long. Anything to set the adults off. Unpierced skin ? Pierce it. No tattoo is normal - Young ones->Tattoo it. etc... But it was all cosmetic in the end. The youngies turned into grumpy Oldies and so it contiuned.
Yep, I've noticed grumpiness zones in myself too, of course. Some of my friends know exactly what & where they are too :-) somedays I feel like a regular hairball mine, touch any hair and off it goes.

- Ah those grumpyness zones, those buttons... hm.... For the first time I see what they mean by 'observe, don't judge'. I heard all that so many many times.
But the reality is: Usually I don't want to observe myself, or be too aware because I will see things I don't like. "not like" =equals= 'judge' as 'bad', or 'not nice', 'undesireable', 'not good enough' etc... . the logical next step is to change those things.
HOw ? by trying not to do them, not to be them. this usually just leads to symptoms suppression and not any real change. After a while the effort of suppressing symptoms is too hard. I give up, and go into normal, unaware mode again.
Why not play a 'game' for a week ? The game is: I promise myself to make NO effort whatsoever to change whatever I see in myself. In fact the games is now reversed: I'm NOT allowed to try and change anything, just 'see' it. That is all, only see it.
No effort to 'improve', to 'fix' to 'change' to 'be good' is allowed in this new game.
Anyone who has done meditation, will recognize this is a classic technique. For some reason it never hit home so clearly before.
Ok lets see how I go for the next 7 days. An experiment.

After this email, I'll post any further thoughts on
doing this means I won't fill your inbox with stuff you may not want. If you are interested to read more, peruse that site, check it out every now and then, or use RSS feeds.

All the emails sent on this trip the last 3 weeks are on: http://heikorudolph.blogspot.com/ with new photos.

Thailand seems to be going more thuggish - airport scams at:

- Have you ever inverted a black and white photo ? White becomes black and black becomes white ? It's all just the same photo, all the same objects, same details, same shapes and everything, just inverted.
It feels like that to me being in transition.
Where there was white in one photo, there is black in the inverted one. where there was dark grey there is now light grey.
It feels excatly like that now as I move from Myanmar to Melbourne again. Same photo, same image, same life on Earth.

- I used to think about going overseas to help those poor countries. (I know, there is a bit of a cringe as I write this, at the "do-goody" image of that, but hey' no 'fixing' allowed, that's what I really feel, politically correct, or cool, or not) So let me play the game of inverting the image: Let's pretend that I've been sent by the poor places, to aid those who are rich. Then this becomes the outpost. My holiday was then not really a holiday it was a 'home visit', I'm out on mission again right now... . Hmm... Interesting perspective... Is all of life an outpost mission as some would claim ?

- Regarding 'helping' - These days I understand that I gain as much and more than I give. Is it therefore selfish or not ? It's not about about such labels, it's really just about fear VS courage. Either just do it, or don't.
And when you don't do it, then at least be kind to yourself. Beating yourself will have the same result as beating another person: they will resent you...
I know, logically this makes makes no sense, how can I related to myself ? don't know, but we can.
More is possible than the mind can encompass or dream of.

A nice quote I heard:
"the future changes all the time, in the biggest ways often by the smallest of things" -

Tuesday 21Jul09 - teaching, lecturing. - The idea of people discharging themselves is basically the same as nations discharging themselves, in what is called 'war'. In both cases there is usually a grain of justification, some genuine 'yes you are right and the other is wrong' but only a grain. Then that is used at the trigger for an avalance to let lose on the other.
on the personal level, between people this seems to work more subtley, the person able to hide from themselves the fact that their reaction is way out of proportion to the 'injustice'.
Between nations, it is often easier to see this process, unless of course you are directly involved yourself.

- something that illustrates the difference of the climate between where I've just been and where I am now: When I'm in Melbourne and a stranger approaches me, my first reaction is defence.
Are they going to hit on me for money ?
Are they a nut case ?
Not that such thoughts are actually clearly elucidated in my mind, it's more of an attitude...
A few times i've reacted off hand to people who just wanted to ask the time (oooops...), other times I had correctly spotted someone hitting me for money, 'spare change' or whatever.
Yet these reactions in me are automatic, it's how one is here.
A colleague told me the same experience: a tourist just wanting to ask directions, and he felt very suspicious, careful, totally unused to having strangers actually talk to him.
One approach is: guilty until proven innocent, the other is innocent until proven guilty.
Yet when I wander around Yangon, Moulmain, or other 'undeveloped' places in Asia, that suspicious nature falls off me (mostly, not entirely). People in the street will smile, there is an openness. Don't get me wrong, in the tourist hot spots lots of people are out to part a sucker from his money, and a healthy dose of defensiveness is useful to survive. Yet that is simply commonsense.

To all who have been reading these missives: Thanks.

After this email, I'll post any further thoughts on
doing this means I won't fill your inbox with stuff you may not want. If you are interested to read more, peruse that site, check it out every now and then, or use RSS feeds.

All the emails sent on this trip the last 3 weeks are on: http://heikorudolph.blogspot.com/ with new photos.

'dance me to the children who are asking to be born....' - Leonard Cohen

Haiko's - blog list here or direct: life42 or backpacking or stories

I walk with her, and I hear the gentle beating of mighty wings....
I hear the sound of her wings.... and the darkness lifts from my soul...

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