Cyprus – Paphos Carnival

The Carnival was held on Sunday February 18, it was a beautiful (almost) spring day in Cyprus, a cool wind but the sun shone brightly over the waterfront of Kato Paphos, and the streets which are normally fairly empty were filled with visitors and lined with thousands of spectators watching the Carnival parade. The sidewalks were packed and so hard to negotiate and move through, progress was slow.

This was the second time I had seen the Carnival Parade and I was more impressed this time to see that a large presence of the local population, either supporting the parade, or taking part in it.

The carnival was a huge success, as can be gauged by the large attendance and the variety of floats and displays from local social and sports groups, and clubs and activities that are attended by children.

Some Photos ….

 

 

 

 

It was a good day …. as you can see from the streamers, the multitude of cans, bottles and general rubbish left a huge cleanup job for the local Paphos council …. there were rubbish bins provided, but they were overflowing …

Anyway it was a good day …

Full coverage of the Carnival with a timeline from Paphos Life here

Advertisements

A Spiritual Path

I only tell this journey, this transition from my personal experience, I hope that helps!

Spiritual growth is a desire to seek what we cannot see, a curiosity, and in so doing so challenge the relevance of and often break down these layers and walls that living in our society (our environment, beliefs and expectations) have created. These old beliefs may block or inhibit the flow and awareness of our true self.

However spiritual growth is not something to be achieved, it will progress at its own pace, depending on our openness and awareness, but please lose any belief that this process is something ( a mantle) to be achieved or attained to gain the respect of others, this we do only for ourselves.

In hindsight, I feel my following thought encapsulates the effect Spiritual growth has on evolving our consciousness, particularly the ego infection that we have within all of us …. to a greater or lesser degree.

“Spiritual growth and the evolution of the consciousness is a process of observing and taking control of and subjugating thoughts that come from the ego and the mind … then we see and live life from another place, a place of love, understanding, gratitude and peace”

I believe that all of us, every soul that comes to earth school is born enlightened, however as soon as the child ceases to be treated as a child and is brought into the world of choices, layers of dogma and beliefs are added between their birth innocence and wonder and that which comes by living in the world itself – these comes from the family beliefs, of society, and from “Duality” the concept that brings such labels as good versus bad, right versus wrong, Light and dark, Pain and pleasure, me and you, the illusion of separateness, defining and discriminating. The labeling of every experience, everything in fact – and behind every label there is a meaning we have ascribed to it, from and by society. Whilst a ego maybe necessary when one has lived only in the material world, it can be unlikely we can transition to the path of Unity consciousness, because one has to transcend duality whilst still understanding and often living within it.

 

Whatever your life contains is your path, for each of us is unique, and so there are innumerable paths to liberation, but for mankind, spiritually at least, it is the long and often confronting journey from Duality to Unity consciousness, where all that exists is love and that which springs from it, such concepts as patience, understanding, empathy, kindness and compassion.

I am not a fan of judgement (even of myself) for it is the instrument of our duality, and too often it comes from our ego, our beliefs prejudices and fears. Concepts such as comparison and competition have no meaning to an awakened soul.

Discipline, openness, curiosity, patience and humbleness, I have found are important, and again I would stress that there is no “right” way to evolve, no dogma to growth and evolution – but challenging what you have in the past, accepted is. Feel for your path and follow where it leads.

Remember, no one is perfect nor should we aim to be for we will always fail, but we can strive to be better than we were yesterday, and perhaps help others when the occasion presents itself.

My posts are simply my perspective and are offered in the spirit of discovery, exploration and evolution – take what resonates with you and leave the rest.

 

A Visit to – Santa Fe, New Mexico

Santa Fe, is the State Capital of New Mexico.

On arriving very early, I explored the surrounding area …. I was hungry and as the Hotel had no restaurant and it was very much out of the town center … I explored the area, noting the adobe construction of many of the buildings which I found attractive, they were in harmony with the landscape. I found that the closest place to eat was a Thai Vegan Restaurant …details are here

Actually I went there a couple of times …. The food was good and the service attentive.

I had just one night at the Hotel and then I checked into my AirBNB accommodation, which was close to the Rail Depot, quite near to the city centre.

My leg was sore after only cutting off the leg cast a couple of days before, so I slowly explored the area.

During my time in Santa Fe, I went to the following restaurants –

Paddy Rawal’s Raaga Fine Indian Dining, had a great Chicken Korma at reasonable prices … Tripadvisor Review hereJoshua’s Restaurant (Fine Dining) was fairly close to where I was staying… but was not memorable. But I did speak to someone (an English woman) who actually been to Cyprus, where I currently live.The Cowgirl BBQ (a Western Theme Bar) and next door, website hereThe Kohnami Restaurant Japanese (also Takeaway), website hereon the opposite side of the road was the “Whole Hog” Cafe & Takeaway.. website here

Most was good value and had reasonably attentive staff.

The architecture is varied and shows several influences, the original pueblo-style adobe construction is found in buildings that date to the Spanish Colonial and Mexican periods … there is also a “Territorial style” which has features that include brick surrounds for doors and windows with lintels over both the windows and doors.

The late 19th and early 20th century brought Queen Anne houses designs ( link here ) as well as Arts and Crafts bungalows.

There was a Pueblo revival period following.

Walking through the business area was quite a revelation for arts and crafts, including jewellery, a wonderful selection of Indian art and crafts. In the Plaza, the one below caught my eye …

Santa Fe was clean and easily accessible, by foot ….

Here above, a photo of the Santa Fe river park, the footbridge traverses the Santa Fe river which flows into the Rio Grande.

Santa Fe is a very spread out town, hence I tried the Cities Bus system. I learned how limited the city’s public transit system could be. Buses all go to the Santa Fe downtown, with few going further out into the suburbs and a very few operating in the evening or the weekends.

I found that few side roads had foot paths, hence walking anywhere would mean walking on the road, which is made for cars not people. For any major distances to see specific landmarks, creative Art centres, exhibitions or historical landmarks, I used Uber, which I used throughout my visit to the USA, I fortunately met a lot of nice people.

As is usual in the places I visited (except for Durham, North Carolina), the public system of transport is limited, for transport is based around cars. Buses are for those who don’t have cars, or perhaps cannot afford cars … the transport system in Santa Fe is fairly limited and limiting.

Santa Fe, is well serviced by providing promotional material, for tours in the area, brochures and magazines on Art and crafts and the Historical and interesting features of the area.

I was there in June 2017 … and I could still see snow on the Rocky Mountains from Santa Fe … which is at a altitude of approximately 2,194 meters or 7200 feet.

At this altitude, my breathing was fine …. although I once drove over the Rocky Mountains in Colorado .. and as we climbed to 14,000 feet, I had a major headache, due to the lower air pressure, the only thing that helped me recover at the time was Gatorade.

On a number of occasions, when meeting new people, many said that they were new to Santa Fe … they had come to retire, there for work or to just try their luck.

The next day, I was early up for the RoadRunner to travel to Albuquerque, the largest city in New Mexico.

A journey from Houston, Texas to Santa Fe, New Mexico

 

After spending over a week with my Sister and her family in Houston … a wonderful experience as was Houston itself. I booked passage to Santa Fe, New Mexico …. choosing trains over Airlines, because I wanted to see the countryside.

The train left late, then again it was my experience with Amtrak thus far, their timetable was more of an indicator that it would leave rather than a commitment to the specific time.

Off we went, and we settled into the long journey to El Paso, Texas, which is on the border of the United States and Mexico.

We rattled along, the click-clack of the tracks relaxed me, I had a meal and snuggled up into my blanket.

I awoke not that long afterwards, as we were stopped … thinking it was a station, I waited, but we didn’t move. Apparently the train to El Paso wasn’t complete as they needed 5 carriages from the train from El Paso to Houston … which had been delayed. We waited 5 hours for the missing carriages to arrive, these were needed for the passengers booked on the train further along the line … what had been a long trip of 19+ hours, turned into 24 + with the delays.


The above is the type of train, we had for the journey, with Restaurant and Observation carriages.

With the help of my sister we had cut off the Orthopaedic cast off my leg in Houston … as it had been 6 weeks since I fractured it. Hence I wasn’t walking that steadily.

The Amtrak journey aside from the delay, was uneventful, The restaurant food was OK … probably 3 star. I spent time in the observation car …. and besides a glimpse of a river that joined the Rio Grande, and the river itself, it was mostly cuttings and prairies.

On arrival in El Paso, I and made my way slowly the 600 meters to the Bus terminal.

The bus would take me from El Paso to Albuquerque, New Mexico.

As we were delayed by the train, there were a lot of people for the bus journey. I checked in my bag when they eventually allowed me to, and went and had something to eat, in the terminal, surprisingly it wasn’t bad actually.

The bus left about 9pm and arrived in Albuquerque almost 5 hours later. The journey was comfortable and warm. Along the way, we stopped at the border check point patrol and they inspected the bus …. they asked if anyone was not an citizen (though that’s all they did) … and they showed quite a surprise when I volunteered my Australian passport.

On arrival in Albuquerque, we were deposited in the local transport center at around 12am … the first RailRunner trains left at 4.30am …. time does drag sometimes when you are waiting, it is reminiscent of air port lounges, as well not-unexpectedly the RailRunner was late …

The RailRunner journey to Santa Fe was pleasant and speedy ….

I arrived right in Santa Fe …. at the Depot … I was exhausted as I had sleep little on the journey … I used my phone to arrange an Uber and soon after arrived at my room … and crashed … surfacing in time to go and find somewhere for dinner.

The Ability to Observe without Evaluating

In my view and perhaps the view of others, for just and compassionate communications, we will all evolve, each in their own time to separate the Observation from the evaluation. I say this for when we combine observation with evaluation (our ego), others may hear criticism and may take offence (their ego) to what we are saying, or they will hear our projected observation that may be quite uninformed and therefore unjust. For each time we engage with the world, we interpret it through our ego, beliefs, fears, experience and learned dogma.

The human mind generally looks at every experience or thing as something to be labelled, it discriminates and comes to a conclusion perhaps in the range from good to bad … in this way by labelling an experience, good or bad, right or wrong, even profit or loss or pain or pleasure – we can then move on because we have am outcome, we have a judgement on the experience or the event, hence in doing this we actually create duality in the world as we go along. However despite all I say below, there are times when we do need to evaluate circumstances and experiences to navigate safely the physical duality world, the world of form and feelings.

From our individual beliefs and experiences we may each of us have a different understanding of words, people or events, as different beliefs on what things mean, come from our varied life experiences, beliefs and dogma – hence it is not unusual that many of us amy have a different perspective on any given experience.

To observe without evaluating is a higher state of consciousness, the highest form of intelligence.

There are those who unconsciously react without thought or reflection, who are driven by their desires, their egos, some dogma, their past, as well as those with the illusion of knowledge and who in their beliefs are seemingly devoid of compassion, empathy or kindness.

However this idea of rugged individualism will ultimately fail, it is failing now, for in my view humanity thrives best in concert with others in a collaborative, co-operative dynamic, rather than the current state of blame, judgement, regurgitated dogma which results in conflict and confrontation.

For me, I am happy to understand that we are NOT just our minds – however the mind is not the best tool on it’s own to understand our motivations, our feelings, which may initiate actions. The stimulus … “why” we do things, but as I have mentioned previously on this site, understanding this is possible for those that wish it to.

My view that each time we judge others and then project our own beliefs (which originated from our experiences, dogma, our beliefs and thus expectations) as ego onto others we reveal an unhealed part of ourselves, a part of us that is not strong, authentic and whole.

Whilst it may be impossible not to form an impression of some kind for someone we just met, or form an opinion of the behaviours of others we already know – what we can do, is change what happens next, for to judge another is to assume a position to which we have no right …. we cannot know another for we have not lived their life, walked in their shoes, so to speak, the best we can do is to assume they are like us – which is an illusion, as in fact many of us hardly know ourselves, so to judge another, to feel superior over another is in my perspective a failing, a destructive aspect of society and humanity.

Tolerance … Wonderful diversity … for we are all the same, we all seek engagement with our community, our friends and those we love. Everyone, every life has an equal value in the Universe.

For me, Judgement and projection of our beliefs onto others is not an enlightened activity, it is, like competition and comparison essentially meaningless.

Once we have the awareness of this aspect of us and we desire to change this propensity to judge and project, it can and is ameliorated and alleviated over time, normally by the internal witnessing of your thoughts and actions. It is something we have to do for ourselves, for we cannot save or change others, for change is something we each have to do for ourselves.

We must remember that we are the witness to the story, not the player in the story.

As Buddha said …. “Drop by drop is the water pot filled. Likewise, the wise man, gathering it little by little, fills himself with good.”

My posts are simply my perspective and are offered in the spirit of discovery, exploration and empowerment – take what resonates with you and leave the rest.

A Visit to Houston, Texas

I arrived in Houston from Tampa, Florida by United Airlines …. travelling on this occasion was quite an improvement on my last outing with the airline.

My sister was at Houston airport to meet me, such a delight, it was so good to see her after all this time, but strangely, it was as though for the first time – she is such a beautiful soul.

Houston was a surprise, my love for cities in general is rare … Houston is by and large a clean city from what I saw and surprisingly it dawns on you slowly about the paradox that is Houston, others have wondered what my perspective might be – frankly it was a surprise, for in one area you have the absolute frenetic activity of the business side, from the wide expanses of freeways, with layers upon layers of cloverleafs and crossovers, to the broad clean streets of the one way roads in the city center, to theatres, where we took the opportunity to see an Arthur Miller play ( A View from the bridge – here ) at the Alley theatre, then the transition to the unexpected simplicity and beauty of close residential areas of the green inner city suburbs, the quietness, the oak trees and the beauty of nature expressed in the parks, sculptures, community gardens and parks, such a nice feeling it generates.

Although I am writing this in September, I visited Houston in May / June 2017 … hence now we also have the perspective of the impact of Hurricane Harvey …. as well.

Flood control is a priority in the city, so how much does Houston spend on flood control – here is an article that gives a view on this – here as well here is an article concerning the effect on Houston of the recent Huricane itself – here

A picture of an inner suburb in Houston .. an area of parks, museums, art galleries and a University.

A Community Garden in the inner suburbs of Houston

We went to an Arthur Miller play ( A View from the bridge ) at the Alley Theatre in Houston. It had been a long time since I had seen a play with stage acting … nice!

To encapsulate, I really like Houston …. it had a calming feeling to it …. trees and greenery in those places I visited was refreshing and energising.

I Left Houston by Amtrak train to El Paso as I thought it would give me time to see some scenery and meet and talk with other people …. that experience comes in the next travel post where I am on my way to Santa Fe, New Mexico via Albuquerque.

A Process of facing fears and personal transformation

Though this post is many years old, and speaks to an experience even older, I thought perhaps some of it may have value to someone.

I had been aware for some time of my limiting thoughts, emotional blocks and unconscious behaviours – these are basically hangovers from our past, our previous learned responses which had outlived their usefulness to the person we might wish to be …. for me they were stopping me taking a leap … however the strange part is that I had the answer within me .. what I needed to do was repeat a process which I had carried out once before – for when you think about it, everything in life is a process, in this case to confront these behaviours which were now irrelevant to my life and renew myself … in a way to renounce who and what I was, and allow myself the freedom to introduce myself to what next evolution of me … the same process is available for everyone, from that awareness, we eventually come to the Acceptance that action is needed … then when we are ready we do take action.

 

Thank you to the unknown photographers.

Twenty five years ago, I went through a period of intense personal change – looking back now, the process was based quite loosely on the 12 step program .. a proven program, which has been going since 1935 … in my case I am not driven by the need to stop drinking, but by the need to use the Transformational 12 steps program to help bring around personal change … to change the way I react without thinking – so that basically I don’t .. in fact to change my default response to pause and reflection before I respond – giving me that time to consider the impact of my words and deeds on others, but also our own evolution … in other words to respond from strength, instead of reacting from weakness – for me the outcome helped made me whole – after the completion of the program, I am content from within me … however the work doesn’t stop there, for now on it is also a continual process of self assessment, the development of your internal witness – on this occasion , I knew it was time, I was committed to change, in fact, I had been looking for a way to make it happen for months … and just before this time, I felt I was in darkness, always feeling my way forward, metaphorically falling over stuff .. this stuff was my past, my beliefs, my history, my limitations.

Note before starting … you need to be committed to this course of action without any reservation … if you are not committed, it won’t work .. you can’t fake it … it’s a process – I needed to follow the 12 steps, some are not easy because they can be a very confronting process – have the courage and belief in the process to follow where they lead, for if you want your future to be different from your today … it is journey to take .. you might use the analogy that the process, is almost a low level reformat of the way we look at life … it is equivalent to a process of clean up and clean out — for me it was worth it, let me assure you.

I went to a local AA meeting, just to feel the atmosphere .. to meet and talk to the people who had successfully come through the program .. a true strength, a compassion, but an overall humbleness from those (old timers) who had completed the program was all I felt … I went ahead with the steps in order, going through each until I was absolutely happy that I was totally committed to it – for me, as I was so committed to change and my previous experience with the program, it was not as difficult as I imagined, for I had been ready for such a process since before 2000.

You have to want to do it .. I might add it doesn’t magically rid your personality of these reactions to stimulus, again its a process, what it does is that it makes you very aware of your personal triggers that create reactions and behaviours, it allows you to confront them and once you have, there is no fear, there is just a growing contentment, happiness, love and a strength – a wish to help others – remember we all have fears and reactive demons at sometime on our path, our journey.

I believed I needed to become less reactive to stimulus .. to be mindful, present in the moment, to forgive and forget the past hurts and failures .. to bring into the present only the learning, my goal was to live life mindfully, part of which means we need to stay present .. for that is the only place where anything is created, the only time when things are real and can be done … this also means letting go of expectations (investing in them anyway), whatever they are, to be open to the Universe through love and abundance. I came to the realisation that when we invest in expectations we are by the very nature, creating illusions as these events are in the future, they haven’t happened yet, as Buddha said attachments bring suffering, so if the expectations are unrealistic we are in fact setting ourselves up for disappointment and perhaps pain.

If you feel the need, from the awareness of self, look at the process, if you need any help … please write … I will help how I can.

Since this, I have had some realizations that came from unblocking my limitations, incredible clarity has come … all this was like breaking through the shell if you like that had enclosed my understanding … now I guess I am within a bigger shell … one day I will push through those limitations as well.

It took me a while to write about this … personal transformation is something we can only do for ourselves and mostly by ourselves … the change comes from within in fact everything does … it brought me strength, forgiveness, a commitment to love, to the self, and to my future self …. Good Luck!

This is not the only way, do what works for you, as I have said before my articles are simply my perspective and they are offered in the spirit of discovery and empowerment – take what resonates with you and leave the rest.