Blog6a Nov16 — A day in my life in Russia
Its been over 3 weeks since I last blogged. We have done museums, parks, cathedrals, ballet, opera, puppet theater, and started getting our new Pokoleniy theater in to shape for the grand opening.
[see www.pokoleniy.com ]
A spiritual teaching I find useful is that we are spiritual beings (from infinite Source energy) who are extending and creating ourselves into a human experience/illusion. Our world offers wonderful contrast (hot/cold, big/small, alive/dead, good/bad) based on limits. Our reactions to experiences of contrast generates creative new experiences/actions that expand our universe. The trick seems to be to keep our spiritual connection or balance while riding the wave of creative contrast.
And here in St. Pete, I see contrast and its results all around me. The city itself — a creation of Tsar Peter in determined reaction to being cut off from the west. The 300 foot deep bomb shelter / metro station I see out our window — a reaction to the threat of nuclear war and a city built on a river delta. The golden spires and angels adorning all the churches — a yearning reaction to the plodding and sometimes dismal life on the planet. And of course the wonderful art and theater events that are creatively inspired by the contrast between the limits of earth and the boundless joy of Source.
A day in my life in St. Petersburg.
My little wrist alarm wakes me at quarter to 8. It is black and cold. Dawn won’t be for over an hour. I snuggle in the warm bed next to Franny, but remembered that there is a production meeting at 10 for the new play. So I get up, do my ablutions and then six “Salute to the Sun” yoga asanas — a dozen stretching movements each that assure “a most flexible body for all lifetime.
Then I prepare my meditation seat on the bed beside Franny and quietly sit there to do various breathing and visualization routines. I also include some time on using the “Truth Process” on some seemingly restrictive emotional situations:
HUMAN PROCESS. Dive into the ego emotion of the negative or restricting experience. Deepen the feelings. The victimization. Feel the historical habitual patterns that started as a small child. Go as deep as possible.
SPIRITUAL PROCESS. Then expand my conscious awareness to transcend and penetrate the ego-delusion that I am a victim (of my own illusions). I remember the truth — that I (my expanded self) created this miraculous illusion of good/bad contrast. I take back my power — and truly appreciate the creation (experience), the creator (me – small and large), and the whole wonderful creative process.
So I find this easier said than done. I took many years to develop the good/bad judgmental victim delusion and have been working with this technique only a few months. Intellectually I know I am an unlimited source/creator spiritual being, but little Carter still sucks his thumb, tears up or throws a tantrum when things do not go his way. [Or the more subtle fear avoidance that has kept me from writing this blog for 2 weeks and a trip to Moscow for 2 months.]
I rise from meditation after an hour, have my oatmeal and coffee and gather my stuff to go out: wallet, passport, keys, notebook and pen, bag with camera, book, guidebook, maps, backup papers and money — sweater, jacket, hat and gloves. I kiss Franny goodbye (she is taking a day off) unlock and relock the steel door, descend the stairs, exit the second steel door to the cold dark drizzle outside.
I join the river of Russians entering the metro, insert coin in slot and descend the 30 story escalator to the combination metro, nuclear bomb shelter, and art exhibit.
The crush of people is moderate on the orange line, but when I transfer at Spasskaya, it gets intense — thousands of Russians streaming through the station, up/down stairs, thru the deep underground tunnels, and up/down short escalators to the blue line that can take me under the Neva River to Chkalovskaya station where the theater is. To someone who has driven for 50 years with only brief trips to NY, Boston, or Italy, this rush-walking is a contrast. But after 2 months, my patterns and mind-chatter are starting to shift to walking rather than driving — and I get irritated like I do driving (jeez – watch where you are going. Stay to the right stupid.) But watching the many gorgeous micro-skirted Russian women would be the death of me if I were really driving.
The throng pushes me out and up the long escalator into the dark freezing rain and the 15 minute walk on the narrow crowded sidewalks to the theater location at Lakhtinskaya Ulitsa 26. Then push the bell for the iron gate opening person, walk thru the courtyard, and the dilapidated opening and up the scary stairway to our theater space on the second floor – and into the slightly cleaned up factory floor of the century old building.
All the windows are blacked out and the group is already huddled under a bare work light. The creative talent that the theater director, Danilla Korogodsky has drawn to this dim dusty crumbling warehouse in frigid dark Russia is amazing. Three Americans and an German have flown in to help – all prize winning designers/directors. Then there are 10 talented theater design students from America and India and a graduate from Danila’s MFA program who has worked professionally in the LA /Hollywood area for the last 16 years. Finally there are 20 or so amazingly talented Russian members of Theater Pokoleniy. Many are successful actors in TV and film. One has his own TV show. But they have all come to spend 10 or 12 hours a day for the next 10 days to learn and to create Peter-Burg — a show telling the rich 300 year life of this city. They will play angels and devils, bridges and boats, villains and lovers with a dedication, playfulness and imaginative intensity that it is hard for the non-theater person to grasp. [A friend says an actor lives for that occasional magical transcendent moment in the theater like a meditator lives for the magical taste of enlightenment.]
The play is developing organically. The director has a theme he wants to follow — and throws out a challenge to the actors to come up with a scene to illustrate the idea — and they do! In the meantime we tech-types are building props, installing sound and lights and seats.
Later, I go to the British Book Store on the Fontanka Canal near the Sheremetiev Place to buy another Boris Akunin 19th century mystery, and walk 45 minutes down Nevsky Prospect thru the bracing icy drizzle to home.
The next day Franny and I explored the 3rd floor of the Hermitage to talk to Cezanne and Picasso and friends.
From Russia, with Love, Carter