Oct 29, 2017

THE OTHERSIDE OF THE VOLCANO - Part 24: "A Gift For and From the Heart"

(photo, Francisco Pereira)
(photo, Henry Leonardo Minas Veliz)

I returned from a two week visit  to see my dear, long time friend, Kelsie Reed.  I met Kelsie over two decades ago in Antigua, Guatemala.  She was married during that time to a terrific, well liked, all-around fun guy, and they were a popular pair of "Norteamericnos" new in town and country.  Hospitable, friendly and fun!  These past two weeks we chatted much about Guatemala..and our individual thoughts/feelings on our lives and "Guatemala" days.  My thoughts tonight, the night of my return from Florida, are filled with happy and with moments of sad...real, and very deep, feelings that for the first time in my life I understood because of Guatemala.
I had been visiting, sometimes living and one-person-loving in Guatemala since the early 1980's (I was dazzled by the the lore, the color, the passion, the powerful secretlike force in the place. I didn't even realize there was a ghastly, and deadly, Civil War going on. There were hundreds of thousands who died during those years and I had no idea why I was one of the few visitors.  The Hotels were almost empty.  Few travelers. Few guests.  

 I thought Guatemala was only friendly and cautious and those military "check points" seemed prudent and wise. Many Military Police and Civilian Guard groups stopped me for "passport checks" in my rental car. They were pleasant and sent me along. I drove, windows open sucking in the gorgeous, one-of-a-kind living/breathing grandness of the "Land of Eternal Spring". I was smitten by a kind of deeply rooted love that was something stronger than anything physical that I had known before anywhere (I am well traveled).

My message tonight is that I love Guatemala more and more.  I lost my dearest and deeply loved partner-friend here...he was a younger, kind and loving person and he was an innocent who was murdered. No reason/killer found. I left, then returned for retirement at age 62.  He is always with me and especially each November First.  My grief didn't go away. I returned because my love, my heart, my art and my Soul live here among the Maya, their descendants, and many other friends too.  I am here among the Volcanos and religious celebrations and processions because they embrace me.  I am welcome here. Celebrations fill the streets with incense, flutes singing, drums beating, brass bands playing (sometimes hello to Santos/as and follow and sometimes I join in the Funeral/followers walking behind the shoulder carried coffin)....The celebrations and traditions are breathtaking and spell binding in my town.  Some other early mornings, at Maya ruins, I hear faint chants. I feel presence of the unknowable...it is deep here, so deep even the lakes sometimes don't know how deep they are. Volcano-love is real too.  I know, as I love the Fuego Volcano. It's active and many volcanos I feel kinship with...they are alive. Odd?  Not to me. Not any more. Guatemala grows everything and everyone deep down from inside of itself, inside the ground...sometimes we bloom and sometimes we wilt and sometimes we suddenly erupt...every moment is real.

I love you Guatemala and as a loved friend of mine would say:  

"a gift given and received from the heart"

Leonard Clark Beardsley

Leonardo Ricardo
San Miguel Dueñas
Sacatepequez, Guatemala
Central America

Jul 22, 2017

THE OTHERSIDE OF THE VOLCANO - Part 23: "I had no idea there was so much of me/others to see."

"So Many Feelings"
Leonardo Ricardo
July 2017
I keep wondering about all the feelings I have.  I have so many.  

Does one get enhanced feelings with more age?  Who knows?  Not me, but it seems like I have more of them, or I feel them more than ever before.  How do you keep count? Sometimes they wear me out!

I have a friend who I chat with regularly on the telephone.  A friend who lives in Guatemala but not near me.  We are "Norte Americanos"  both.  My friend has a PHD and is very wise in many real life "experienced" ways.  She has experienced many BIG challenges, met them and remembers much of the journey that may come to an end in Guatemala one day.

We agree that life is a one way *trip* and the inner and outer scenery changes/changed greatly along the way...all the time there are changes and mostly in a very mind-expanding, and/or mind-boggling way.

We are NOT among those who stay with their/our own tribe...mostly.  We are one way travelers with individual seat assignments, plans, hopes and ideas varied regarding our past and our personal destinies. We are singles and one of a kinds. We agree, we were/are willing to go for the ride, strive to do our part to survive, and to keep going on the creative, and even not so creative, journey. We are willing to "accept" the many things we can not now, or before now, change. We both know how to say "no."  We don't admire "denial" or pretend.  Each of the "we" are a strong force in our own lives (and sometimes other peoples lives too).

For me this is a renewed but even more clear awareness...personal awareness grabs me, shakes me and says something like "stay, stay with ME again today, feel the real, don't be afraid"...being in the *real* brings me to exactly who I am at this moment in time (my time and your time/all time). Few diversions from the "truth" are allowed by me.  Leap!

I had no idea there was so much of me/others to see...I like being present.  

Leonardo Ricardo aka Leonard Clark Beardsley

San Miguel Dueñas, Sacatepequez

(it's a beautiful/sunny day today)

Feb 20, 2017

BREAKING THANKFULNESS - Chapter 22: " I find it thrilling to discover that I have just awakened from what seemed a very long and less than cheerfilled sleep." Len

EARLIER CHAPTER: "I ran/run in life! Ready (again)! Fearless/afraid, hardworking/feckless, steaming/rolling/drolling but mostly clammouring for, and hoping for, more life-filled delights in/around/for me, me, me...this particular story has been about me."

HERE I GO AGAIN:  I am now 73+ years old and living into 2017 just fine...well, mostly.  Do you want to read this?  Hear this?  No matter, I will tell you anyway:  I've had another break-through.  It is true. I have not quite passed from my youth, my midlife crisis and into my viejo-hood...at least, not in my mind I have not.  I find it thrilling to discover that I have just awakened from what seemed a very long and less than cheerfilled sleep.  I think I've drifed away from the deepest part of me for well over a decade.  Who knew?  Not me.  Not me until a couple of weeks ago when I discovered every kind of passion lurking inside of my "being" and my body and my soul.  

My renewed passion for living and loving came as a shock to me.  Afterall, I am 73+ and I wasn't expecting to leap into the starting blocks of newness again. I didn't know I was going to leap out of bed, consider a proper diet and be extra enthusiastic about life again!  I will soon be going to the GYM again (where I spent much of my earlier life trying to be attractive for other people).  This time, I realize the gym results are for ME

I went for a long walk to sort things out on Sunday.  It was a gorgeous day for me to stroll around alone in my little town.  "Hola Don Gringo" they greeted me! After about an hour I came to the tiny park at the entrance to San Miguel Dueñas (center of the universe as many know it to be, including me)...the extra fascinating thing about this pointed park (a road splits at its beginnings) is that the big statue of San Miguel the Archangel is held up high into the sky by huge/painted cement hands...not your everyday kinda display of greatness and the holy...but here he is...our patron, our pal is being "glad-handed"...heavenly!

I think I have always been graced/blessed/touched/whatevered with an extra keen ability to sore high up into the sky without moving...I have always, since childhood, thought of God as everything and everyone around me...first my God loves me when I drink cold water on a hot day.  A very big high for me. Then God smothers me with joy when a dog passes my way...I am gifted by the divine with every zesty emotion that includes wanting to make love to the volcanos I see around me (there are three, what kind of love would that be?). I love loving people too.

How could this be?  How could my custom and fresh appreciation and lust for life be happening to me?  I am 73! I think I know. I have been stimulated by powers and people outside of me...I love to appreciate life and them deeply! I thought deep love had died away and been withdrawn from me.  No, I think it, love, will just be behaving differently...maybe. 

I accept my reality and I hope to live another ten years+ and paint with my heart, my delight with everything around me and with the help of my two associates. My studio is at the foot of the Fuego Volcano and we are active, the volcano and me.  Guatemala IS another land of the free...it has freed me. I have been called upon to express my love for life and appreciate the lives of others around me - more freely...I don't intend to miss the next part of whatever it is that I need to do or be.

Vamos a ver (not so secretly),

Thanks for being here, I love you,

Central America
February 20, 2017