I woke up to a bright day in full swing and to the sounds of traffic roaring on this bustling Brooklyn morning. So seeing the sunrise was definitely out. Plan B was to watch the sun go down from The High Line, a decommissioned above ground subway track that has been converted into a beautiful, and I’ll say very well-designed Manhattan park. I’d been wanting to see this park for a while now and I needed to catch up on sleep from my marathon travel day yesterday, so I smiled at the thought of the warm sunset I’d see later, pulled the covers over my head and didn’t emerge for another two hours.
Ben and I filled the rest of our morning with conversation and pot smoke as we laughed and caught up on old times and new developments. Ben is the type of friend I feel at home in, like an old sweater that I don’t wear much but when I do put it on I always marvel at how comfortable it is and it brings back so many great memories. The only reason I don’t wear it more is because it lives in Brooklyn and I live in LA. It even smells like old times. Okay so the analogy of the sweater begins to unravel at this point but the gist of it is that I was in high spirits frittering the morning away with an old friend. His hilarious web series that I like to say is loosely based on my life as a marijuana delivery guy is in the TriBeCa Film Festival this week so he took me along to the Filmmakers Lounge with him for the afternoon. While he conducted interviews I ate coconut macaroons. I plopped myself down in a womb chair in the converted Chelsea store front and caught up on my blog and on Catching the Wolf of Wall Street, the sequel to Jordan Belfort’s best seller The Wolf of Wall Street which I gobbled up like candy last year.
At some point in the afternoon Ben wandered over to me to conduct one of his “man on the street” style interviews about filmmaking and who was my inspiration etc. etc. I spoke about my blog and my sun gazing adventure and then we discussed Joss Whedon, who’s lesbian witch storyline on Buffy the Vampire Slayer single handedly gave me the strength to come out of the closet and embrace who I truly am, as strange as that may sound. Later in the day the sound guy, Dimitiri, told me that he had been listening to Ben do these interviews all day and that mine had been intriguing and the only one worth listening to. And at the after party we all attended everybody wanted to know about this sun-gazing thing. This took me off guard because I am so used to it that gazing has become normal to me. All my neighbors in LA are either used to it or doing it with me so it becomes easy to forget that my sun-gazing experiment makes me look like a fringe lunatic who just happens to not be homeless.
Right before the after party, and after the day of interviews, Ben and I made our way to The High Line where we scouted out the perfect expansive spot from which to gaze. Today marks three full minutes of gazing; another milestone I thought as the idea of “three minutes” registered in my mind and impressed even me. Ben kept the time for me and I gazed. Sunlight poured into my eyes and tears poured out. After it was over Ben did his first ten seconds of gazing and said he had the same experience of the brightness disappearing and the light inviting you in. The sun “revealed itself to him” is how he put it.
We walked, wrapped in peace and excitement to the after party, where it turns out, I would answer many questions on my sun-gazing experiment. One of the men on the film crew is a fellow gazer from Ecuador, Sebastian, who said he gazed off an on for years and felt improvements in his confidence and his mind. After we were a few drinks deep, Sebastian and I went to the bar to get everyone another round. When we were alone his jovial drunken demeanor turned suddenly grave and ernest as he said “you can’t be drinking man, you gotta ask yourself why are you doing this? Why are you gazing and it’s not to do this, it’s not to eat that junk and drink,” then he looked at me directly in the eyes as he poked me in the heart with a gentle tap and said “only you know why you are doing this man, and you gotta do it all the way.” Then just as suddenly as the earnestness had come on, it evaporated and the jolly drunk party goer was back again. I felt deeply affected by his words, as if he had channeled an angel from heaven to give me an urgent message. Something sacred and important just happened it seemed to me. We grabbed the round of shots we ordered and headed back to our group, my mind reeling from a gem of wisdom given to me in the most unlikely of places at the most unlikely of times, and the messenger seemed to have no idea that anything profound or sacred had happened at all.
SIDE EFFECTS: Drunken party goers may unknowingly channel angels from heaven that have personal messages for you. And then do a round of shots.
BENEFITS: I am more and more at peace even with more and more strangeness manifesting itself around me.