Saturday, June 21, 2008

Not your ordinary pilgrimage...

I am embarking on another pilgrimage. This time it will take place in Saudi Arabia. It is called The Hajj and is one of the five pillars of Islam. An obligation to any able-bodied muslim who can afford to do so. I have been blessed by the stars and have been afforded this opportunity. Two million people congregate in this location every year to perform rituals together. Two million souls all focusing on something greater than themselves, the Creator, Source, All That Is; a tremendous energy to be circumambulating within. The spiritual significance of a journey like this is more important to me than the religious aspects which tends to cause some discussion with some ;)

According to wikipedia (I had to look up what I was getting into, really I had no idea) Hajj consists of the following:

The Hajj is associated with the life of Muhammad, but the ritual of pilgrimage to Makkah is considered by Muslims to stretch back to the time of Ibrahim and Is'mail, prominent figures in both Islam and in Judaism. Pilgrims join processions of hundreds of thousands of people, who simultaneously converge on Makkah for the week of the Hajj, and perform a series of rituals. As part of the Hajj, each person walks counter-clockwise seven times about the Kaaba, the cube-shaped building which acts as the Muslim direction of prayer (qibla); runs back and forth between the hills of Al-Safa and Al-Marwah; drinks from the Zamzam Well; goes to the plains of Mount Arafat to stand in vigil; and throws stones in a ritual Stoning of the Devil. The pilgrims then shave their heads, perform an animal sacrifice, and celebrate the four day global festival of Eid al-Adha.[3][4][5]
I have to admit that I am wondering what my head will look like with no hair on it?! I've never shaved my head before so who knows what kinds of lumps are beneath ;) Oh well, it's hair... it will grow back.

The Hajj this year takes place at the end of November and lasting just over two weeks. I have no idea what I'm getting myself into, it is such a rare opportunity to participate in and I am going in as blindly as I possibly can.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The left coast...

I've enjoyed the past few days here on the left coast of Canada. The weather has been much to be desired and got just enough sun when it was needed.

I began my weekend with an outing to Whistler. Well, sort of. I tagged along with my mate Kris on his way up to see a client in Whistler. In tow were two vintage enduro motorcross bikes. Brilliant. After business was handled we ventured back down closer to Squamish and found a clearing full of motorcross clad fanatics. This apparently was the trail of trails that these folks share a commonality in.

I didn't have any gear with my and Kris was prepared. I got some vintage Italian racing boots, a leather jacket and a coconut to protect my melon. The adventure started out with my bike not starting and while Kris worked on it to find the fix, I took his bike up the hill to get acquainted with riding again. I made it up the hill and then I stalled it. This bike had a crank that was a work out to try and start. Uphill, tip toeing the bike around trying to kick start it was not the easiest of tasks. I managed somehow to turn the bike around on the incline that I was on and coasted down hill towards where I began and left Kris. As I was coasting down, Kris was blasting up the mountain. We traded bikes and again we were, up, up and away! ;)

I dropped the bike on my finger coming around a corner, dropped the bike while stalling out in first, and I think dropped the bike one other time while climbing up some snow filled rock infested land. We got to as far as we could due to the snow blocking us off and so we headed back down to the flat clearing that looked out into the mountains. The sunlight reflecting off the snow and the sides of the mountains while everything in the shadows stayed dark and black. Clouds over head painted along the canvas as the wind blew by as we looked down to see how far we had climbed. A brilliant experience and splendid to be back on a bike. Might just have to pick one of these two wheelers up ;)

The concert on Friday was fantastic and I had to opportunity to catch another concert, U2. I got to see U2 in concert!! My seats were fantastic. Edge was right up in my face I was so close. Bono reached out to hold my hand as I extended mine out to grasp hold, yet just out of reach. Then my 3d glasses fell of my face and then everything appeared as it was... an IMAX 3D event of U2 performing a concert in Buenos Aires. A thrilling experience to have enjoyed my first IMAX theatre and a 3d event at that. It was a great concert and was filled with humming and singing U2 for days...

One of my favorite breakfast choices has always been an eggs benedict or florentine. I tell you, the secret is in the hollandaise sauce, you can't be stingy on the butter. So I was taken for an eggsperience ;) Fresh fluffy waffles and creamy benny's. That is what was ordered, that is not what came. After a clarification the waffles were sent back for more fluffy ones. Thank goodness they were. These flufferific fun filled waffles were not only salivatingly splendidly scrumptous, they were covered in fruit and alliteration. I enjoyed a slow moving breakfast that was filled with a spot of rain and observations of umbrellas bouncing by. Smiles poured down on me.

In between my sushi fixes and Starbucks fills I managed to squeak in some time on a beach cruiser ripping around the sand walls of Vancouver resulting in my exploration of Stanley Park. I spent hours aside the ocean, moments in the trees, years beside the flowing streams. It was a sanctuary at a time when I needed it. A great deal of reflection had been had since I recalled a point of reference into where I am. I don't mean where I am located, I mean the where I am on the way. The people I had visited with I had not seen since I had left a couple of years ago. It allowed me to see where I was then and put into perspective where I am now.

Still lost and yet this time, wearing a smile...

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Miss Badu...

My adventure started with a phone call. A dear friend of mine, Camilla Rivard (of the Bison Mountain Bistro of Banff - and yes I plugged your restaurant ;)) painted me a delightful painting of her experience of Erykah Badu's concert on the east coast. Her husband Ryan mentions there is a second show that's been added to the Vancouver stop. I was elated and dove right in to buy tickets. It was my birthday present to myself.

I can't tell you how many times this woman has cradled me off to sleep, dropped the vibrations in the room into a slow sway or just had me bouncing.

So I bought five tickets, one for myself and I'm sure I'd find four people to go with me. I was right about that. They were gone in no time.

The second show started at 11:30pm on a Friday night. Have to say that this was a first for me. The show was at the Commodore Ballroom and the line up was wrapped around blocks as the first show was cleared out. Once everyone was out, they let everyone else in ;)

True to character, she rolls out with her infamous afro and started belting notes into the microphone. The only thing missing was The Roots opening up for her. They were slotted for most of the tour with what seems to be the exception of Canadian dates.

It was a mellow way to round out the celebrations of my birthday week...

I planned my success. I knew it was going to happen.
-Erykah Badu

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Rollin double three's...

I turned the ripe and sweet age of 33 today. Turned 33 on the 3rd of the 6th month. Not to mention that the day that it falls upon is a new moon?! Apparently in some circles these numbers have some significance. So I did some research on them just to see what kind of hocus and the pocus were attached ;) 33 by it's lonesome is considered a Master Number signifying a Master Teacher.

I read this on some website and just cut and paste it into here

As with all souls, the owners of Master Numbers have a challenge to meet in living up to their extraordinary potential ... and, as mentioned, significant "adventures in growth" usually fall to them through turmoil, tests, and trauma. A considerable number don't meet the challenge well -- through choice or perhaps a failure in self-discipline. By taking "the easy way out" into vagrancy, sloth, and substance abuse -- which, of course is a way of losing that all-important balance I've mentioned -- they can use their free will to avoid the challenge of becoming all they can be.

Obviously, this may create karmic problems in the future, but who among us hasn't put off until tomorrow the work we should have been accomplishing today? Ultimately each owner of a Master Number can become an example of his own learning with the choices he makes in life, even if the example he sets is a gross illustration of how not to handle one's life and one's gifts. Again, this is available to anyone, whatever his number. But when the owner of a Master Number is truly on his game, he is nothing short of awesome, showing the rest of the world how it's done!

For example, a 33 Life Path can happen only when each of the 3 units of the birth date (month/year/day) add to 11. Or when the year adds to 22 (only 7 years that add to 22: 1939, 48, 57, 66, 75, 84, and 93) and the month and day of birth combined total is 11. And finally, when the birth day is 22 and the month and year of birth total 11.

So, according to these calculations, I am 33 years old in a year that yields 22 and my favorite number in the world is 11. I found this triangle of enlightenment...


22 11

Beginning with 11 represents vision...

The 22 combines vision with action...

And 33 offers guidance to the world...

I don't know what it means and am hoping that this master year or master teacher number results in a similar saying of 'Comes in like a lion, and leaves like a lamb'. My year has entered roaring it's cry to commence the year's events one after another...

Some wikipedia facts around the double three's:
*Believed to be a number that appears in an unusually high proportion to other numbers. See The 33 Mysteries Home Page at

*the age of Christ when he was crucified.

* Alexander the Great died at the age of thirty-three

* On most occasions, the traditional number of racers in the Indianapolis 500

* In reference to gramophone records, 33 refers to a type of record by its revolution speed of 33⅓ revolutions per minute. 33s are also known as long playing records, or LPs. See: 78 and 45

* Many people claim that they see, witness, or experience the number 33 in unusual circumstances or at a frequency that defies statistical likelihood. A popular website is dedicated to this digit

* The best-known car number of retired NASCAR driver Harry Gant

* A significant number in modern numerology, one of the master numbers along with 11 and 22

* A song by the Smashing Pumpkins on their Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness album. Also a song by Coheed and Cambria on their The Second Stage Turbine Blade album (the songs are not related)

* The title of the first episode of the new Battlestar Galactica television series

* In Spanish, the "smile to the camera" word, as is "cheese" in English. Diga treinta y tres ("Say thirty-three") is the same as "Say cheese"

* The number of years Khayyam has been blessed to roam this mystery of life.

* In French, Italian, Romanian, Spanish and Portuguese, the word a patient is usually asked to say when a doctor is listening to his or her lungs with a stethoscope (Trente-Trois, Trentatrè, Treizeci şi trei, Treinta y Tres and Trinta e Três)

* The code for international direct-dial phone calls to France

* A normal human spine has 33 vertebrae when the bones that form the coccyx are counted individually

* The number printed on all Rolling Rock beer labels

* The number of chapters per series of DarkSoul Kingdom, an online fantasy story

* Number of Cantos in each of Dante's 3 parts of the Divine Comedy

* Number of maximum European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System credits that Instituto Superior Técnico's students are allowed to achieve throughout one semester

* In music : : a Belgian rockband who devoted their music to the sacred number 33.

* The namesake of the private club, Club 33, located in Disneyland's New Orleans Square.

* The Scottish Rite of Freemasonry has 33 degrees.

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