Today is April Fool’s Day. You will all receive wealth. If you are not in love. You will fall in love. All your dreams will come true. Ohh, sorry – April Fool’s. If only life could be so easy. The moon is void of course much of the day. A good day to play tricks on friends. Chances are there will not be lasting results. The moon today is in Aquarius. This is a great sign for April Fool’s Day. It thinks outside the box. So it seeds ideas for pranks in our minds today. I told my roommate I got a check from the government for $1,000. Pretty boring, but he fell for it. I did get a small check back from my taxes. The sign of Aquarius is about our connection to others. We can use a feeling of connection to inspire our pranks. But also to remember not to hurt people. We want people to laugh. Not to cry. Early in the morning the moon squares Uranus. The ruler of Aquarius. This adds to its power. This planet encourages unique thoughts. Don’t pull the easy pranks like I did with my roommate. Go for the gusto. The square will make it harder for you to invest in a plain prank. But this pulls your heart in and reminds you to be careful. Uranus is currently in Aries. This adds to a feeling of impulse when a good idea comes along. Remember to think first. Which will be hard because Mercury is square the moon also today. Also in Aries this means your mind may over look what your heart is telling you about what is right. Take a moment and breathe today. Take a moment to listen to your heart. Then have your fun. The final aspect of the day is Venus and the moon. This brings your friends into the party. Your friends can either help you by pointing out how a trick might be mean. Or they could serve to pressure you to not listen to your own concern. With Venus in Pisces it is more likely your friends will support you doing what is right. Either way it is best to bring more friends in on the fun. Just stay centered. If no one else is going to be the voice of caution. You can be the one. Have fun.
I was at work watching TV. It was some Law and Order show. They mentioned a person who had a total break from reality. And I thought to myself. How do I know I’ve not had a total break from reality? I mean really. It scares me a little to think about if I would even know. I’m not suggesting I’m really tied up in a bed somewhere, like in The Matrix. Though of course this is possible. But even worse. What if none of the things I talk about make any sense to anyone else in the world. What if the people around me humor me the way you would a child. How do I know anyone actually likes me as a person? And they’re not just being nice. At the one end of the range everything we think we know to be true could be a lie. And in some ways it would be okay. And on the other end, everything we think is true is 100 percent true. But I have strong reasons based on experience why I know this isn’t true either. There have been too many women I thought were interested in me – and they were not. So, I am stuck with a world where somethings I believe are true, and some aren’t. And this is harder. Because if it was all a lie, there would be no truth to worry about knowing. But is a world where our minds fail as often as they get it right. You have to figure out what is real and what isn’t real. And the only took you have to do it is your mind. Which is a tool you have no accurate way of testing to see how well you can trust its results. I could check my scale by standing on another scale. But I can’t look at my mind from another person’s mind. While a friend may tell me, “no, it is okay,” I don’t know their motive do I? And it doesn’t have to be a bad motive. How do we know what is true and what is false in our worlds? Again, I am not worried about the big things. I want to know about the little things. The things which are the hardest to look at and the hardest for people to be honest about in life.
And if you could be sure you’re sane. Is there any way to know for sure you wouldn’t lose it at any moment. Some organic or chemical trigger inside your brain. Or a mental, emotional, spiritual, physical trauma. Like a light switch you go from being you, to being someone else. Someone lost in their own mind.
The ideals which have lighted my way, and time after time have given me new courage to face life cheerfully, have been kindness, beauty and truth. – Albert Einstein
Maybe I am not lost at all. But I know the path. Maybe the path is always right. Even if the way feels lost for the moment. If I know what is around the bend. And I prepare today in ways I don’t understand. Then today has a meaning. A meaning I will understand in full tomorrow. Maybe all things have value. Every experience is rich. And every moment a jewel. Each day brings lessons where ever we may be in our lives. And if we don’t take advantage of the lessons. We lose the day. Many times we may overlook a moment as meaningless. Or a day as not having value. What could we learn at a job like this we ask ourselves. And by not taking serious the lessons in front of us we miss them completely. What if we were always looking for ways to learn. Lessons to grow. Not just from the biggest of textbooks on the shelves. But from the little people, children, in our lives. The mundane times when our minds float away to other places. Take in the moments today. Take in the people around you and what you might learn from their knowledge. Because each of them has lived a life you have not. They have seen and done things you have not. And as a result they see the world in a way you do not. This gives them a point of view you don’t have. And a knowledge base unique to themselves. But one we can access if we listen with our hearts. And we in turn have value and wisdom we can share with others. But it must be shared. You cannot force feed your truths on others. For what is true for you is not true for all. Even as people learn lessons from us. They can find their own path and truth. We must allow them, as they must allow us. Maybe the things we worry about the most day to day have no value. Or at least no value in the grand lessons of our lives. The important growth of the ages. The problems of the mind and the heart are deeper than today and tomorrow. We learn how to love and accept others with grace. These lessons learned in each moment of our lives. Remember only love is real. So the only lesson of this life is love. Maybe I miss many more chances to learn love than I see in my life. Maybe we all do.
When I left New York City I went to Pennsylvania. I had a friend from a gathering there. But I didn’t stay long. She is an amazing person. The person who told me about the effins. What are effins you ask.
Well, they are imps. They aren’t evil per se. But they cause problems. They go out into the world and just create havoc. And they are created every time someone uses the F-word. Just saying the word creates an effin. And you never know what nature of crime it will commit.
There was a small part of myself which though I might stay longer. A part wanted to be more than friends. But it was clear this wasn’t an option. And also clear she didn’t plan on my being there for long. But it was good to see her. Maybe there was a reason I believed things would be different. But I do not recall now.
From there I went to Alabama. I had a friend from college who lived in Huntsville. She was having problems with her husband. And needed a friend. Again I wasn’t there long, maybe a week or two. I do recall working at Labor Ready while in Alabama.
One site I worked at was a construction site. Which is typical for Labor Ready jobs. The one I remember most was in a kitchen. There were a couple of us on the job. I was working hard, but some of the other guys were slacking. And then in one moment I knew this would not be a repeat job.
One of the guys was pushing a stack of plastic racks. The racks were full of glasses. He wasn’t being careful and tried pushing it over a small crack on the floor. The whole stack fell over and several of the glasses broke.
I spent hours downloading music from Napster. It has just come out and was the big thing. The crime of it wasn’t clear at the time. At least not to me. Now being more of a content creator I understand better. I also have learned how bad it is for our market system.
The friend from Alabama was someone who went to Bethany after I left. But we became friends – and almost more. At two separate times we almost had sex. Once was in the back seat of her car. But it was so cramped. It was uncomfortable. I was not feeling the moment. The second time was in her bed. And we stopped because we didn’t have protection. At times I wonder about that moment. If we’d had sex. How would our lives be different today. If we had a child. If we had gotten closer. But now she is lost to me. I haven’t seen or heard from her since the visit to Alabama. When I think about her I feel alone.
The whole trip back was by bus. After Alabama I rode the bus across Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. I recall thinking for a long time. Could I count Texas as I state I visited. Even though I was on the bus the whole time. This of course became less of an issue after I lived in Texas.
The bus took me back to Stockton. From there I returned to my second year working at Camp Silver Lake.
The Page was a student. One who served a knight. This page is in Wands. What are the lessons we need to learn. We are growing. And developing our energy.
Wands is about fire. It is about having passion. What is it which drives us in life. What is our dream. The mission of our life. This card to pointing towards events which are helping us on the path. Events may result in ends we don’t foresee. And what we fear today will no doubt be the best for tomorrow.
There are many steps to understanding our passion. Our dharma. It is said the dharma of fire is to burn. And the dharma of water is to be wet. But how many of us live our dharma. Krishna said it is better to live ones own dharma. Even imperfectly. Than to live another’s perfectly.
The future is bright for us. The next card in the deck is the knight of wands. We shall be heroes. But first we need to be a hero to ourselves. Look out for your dream. Take time and invest energy into your passion. If you don’t know what yours is this may be a good time to focus. Think about what brings you joy. What one thing makes the time pass without notice.
We all live our lives working jobs we do not love. Jobs which do not feed our soul. Imagine a world where everyone found their place. Found the one thing which fed their soul. And served the community. The more you work on being you the easier it will get. And being yourself makes it easier for others to be themselves.
When we aren’t living our dharma. We may be trying to live another person’s dharma. But this makes it harder for them to follow their path. They in turn may seek to follow another person’s path. The knock-on effect is endless. But one person on their own path. Not only serves as an example. But sets others free of competition. There isn’t meant to be a contest to serve our dharma.
A page of cups would be learning too. They have to learn about their emotions. And a page of swords is learning about their mind.
But the fire of wands is also about our own source of life. Our heart. What is it which makes us brave. Where do we find courage. Where is our love centered. Remember only love is real. So if you are not living for love. What are you living for then?
This card has come up because you are a student. We are all students. But this is pointing out lessons going on in your life now. What you are going through may not be easy. I doubt the training of a knight’s page was easy. But it is valuable. What you are doing is putting you on your path. And you may not see the whole staircase. But focus on the next step, and the next step.
This card is not a card of action. The knight takes his passion to battle. But first the knight must learn. We are not ready to put our passion into practice today. Even for those who have been very active in their dreams. This card should inspire a pause. It may be time for some to reflect on there they are on the path.
Some may get this card to refocus them on their goal. They may have forgotten their passion. In the day-to-day they lost sight of the big picture. It isn’t always easy to focus on the small steps. And the big picture at the same time. If our passion feels weaker lately. We may have lost sight of one or the other. This card is giving us space to re-focus.
The idea of going to New York City was my friends. Come visit she said. When I left, she told me: I never had someone visit for three months.
I had just left my first year working in Silver Lake. With some of my money I bought a bus ticket. I arrived in the city just a month after Sept. 11. The whole city was still on edge. I met my friends at the bus station. The giant Port Authority Building.
While I was in the city I was one of a group living in a small studio. For most of the time I slept on a small couch. The friend who invited me was a part of a larger group. They were dreamers. And they were artists. The type of people who bring the city to life. My friend worked at a framing shop in Manhattan. She is an amazing artist.
One of my earliest memories was going shopping. I purchased food for myself and the rest. When I got to town my spirits were high. But the weather, problems with my friends, and just life got me down. In general it was a hard time for me. And not for any reason except myself. And depression.
These were friends I had met years before. When I met I felt like we were on the same page. But here I felt out of place. The larger group was one I didn’t connect with on a real level. They were all friendly. It wasn’t them. It was me. I felt different. While there I read Bill Gates’ book. When talking to one of the studio-mates I asked, “would you let Bill Gates join your group?” Based on his book, he sounded like a dreamer too. Now, granted in some ways the dreams were different. But I believed, and still do, all dreams come from a place of value. The answer was, no. The reason was, “he would try and take over.” But, you don’t know – he might not.
One of the group was pushing me to drink. Just one he would say. Just one, just one, just one. I would always say no. He made me feel uncomfortable because of this. And I had the strong impression he just didn’t like me. When I spent time with my friend alone I was okay. And there were a few of her friends I got on with too. I’ve never been a drinker, I wasn’t into looking for a party. And I don’t mean this to have a moral tone. There were times living in New York City I wished I was more like the rest of the group. But I wasn’t. And it didn’t feel right when I tried to pretend. When alone with my friend I drank some wine. I trusted her.
I didn’t trust her friend. It is easier to say no one the first drink. What I feared was he would push me to drink one, then two, and three. But my family has a history of alcoholism. And it just isn’t what I want for myself. It isn’t what I believe you need to have fun.
I love my friend dearly. But his pressure and the tone of the group made me feel alone. The more so because I wanted to be a part. Which is rare for me. I felt like this was were I belonged. But I didn’t feel like I fit in. So, I felt like there was something wrong with me. I started to grow away from the group and do my own thing. And it didn’t feel to me like anyone cared. I know this isn’t fair. And was a symptom of the depression.
Right now it is almost 2 a.m. A fitting time to write about New York City. I don’t recall sleeping much. What I do remember was being out all times of the night. There was a 24 hour internet cafe near Times Square. They had an odd price scheme. The price adjusted according to demand. In the middle of the night demand was low. The price was low. This was one of the places I spent a lot of time. I was there on New Years’ Eve.
But I also went to the library in Brooklyn a couple times. My friend lived in the Clinton Hill neighborhood. And I worked at Labor Ready.
I got to know the city working with Labor Ready. You have to find your way to the job sites. The people I worked with were good people. Though they loved to try and have extra hours written on the time card. I never tried it myself, but gained some cash from their efforts. I worked a few moving jobs in the city.
There was one I recall. We went on break and I left my coat, with wallet and money in the apartment. When we came back it was sealed by the Sheriff. The person was being evicted. It gave me a good scare, but I did get my things.
Before I got to the city Labor Ready workers had been at Ground Zero. But rumor was there had been theft. Also the nature of the clean-up was moving away from casual labor needs.
Another job I recall was tearing down a fire damaged building. But we were taking it down one board at a time. It was a bad job. The plan was having trash barrels loaded up with debris. Just the regular kind you buy at the store. Then there were dragged down the stairs. Five flights of stairs to the bottom. Outside a large dumpster was waiting for the buckets where the buckets were dumped. I was on the job for about a week I believe. And it drove me to the point of exhaustion. In the end they asked me to be removed. But I didn’t care, I’d had enough.
Working at Labor Ready at the time took some timing. It also took being a good worker. I was given good jobs because I did a good job. But I also got to the office an hour before they opened. The opening time was 6 a.m. But it wasn’t uncommon to find a line at 5 a.m. Sometimes I didn’t sleep, often I slept little. I am sure this was a factor in my depression.
One time I was riding the subway. I fell asleep and missed my stop. Okay, this happened a couple times. But this time I got off the subway, got on the train going back. I fell asleep and missed it again. I was tired most of the time I was in the city. Once at the studio someone came to pick up something. He wasn’t trusted and I tried to stay awake to keep an eye on him. But I couldn’t. I just couldn’t stay awake.
After New Years’ Eve I took a short trip to Glens Falls. The last time I was there to see friends. It was early 2002. When I came back I didn’t stay long. I saved some money, bought a bus ticket and started home. But I had a few stops to make along the way.
When I first got to the city it was all strange. My friend and I had a discussion about the closest subway stop to her house. She was a little upset I questioned her answer. By the time I left I knew the subways well enough to help others. One day I walked through the maze of the Times Square – Port Authority complex of subway stations without getting lost. It was a shock. I told my friend about the experience. While in the city I spent a fair amount of time just walking around. Manhattan mostly because it felt safer. And the grid is pretty basic. A couple night I walked around Times Square. And sometimes during the day.
I told my friend Times Square was a funny place. Because of its location in the city, and the county. It would be easy to do something and be in the national spotlight. You were at the white hot focus of attention. But at the same time there are so many lights. Even at night it is bright like day. And there are almost always crowds walking around. So the average person would be totally ignored. There was something which drew me to Times Square.
I went to Ground Zero once while in the city. It wasn’t where I was trying to go at the time. It was the only time I rode the city bus too. My normal mode of transit was walking and the subway. But while looking for Greenwich Village I ended up at the site. A friend I met there said he was always lost in the city after the attack. Since they were the tallest buildings in the city. He knew once he located them, which way was south. Now they were gone. I wasn’t impressed deeply by the site.
There was an art show which touched me. It was a collection of photos. Personal photos which had been shared. Many were of the skyline before and after the attacks. There were a wide range of images. They showed the way common people were touched by the events. My friend told me she went to the roof of her building and could see the buildings fall.
One other place I spent time was Central Park. There are a lot of neat little corners. One I liked was the Turtle Pond. I explored a good deal of the park while living in the city. And on one occasion did some walking along the Hudson River. I had seen the city as a boy. On a trip with my father we had taken a tour around the island on a boat. But being back I wanted to see more of the city. It felt like an experience I wanted to soak in as much as possible.
Maybe someday I will go back to the city. I am closer to family in New York now. I should take a trip to see them soon. When I left the city I wanted to visit friends. And then go home.