Tag Archives: Dreams

Victoria, at the Other End of the Camera

One of Victoria's Fotos

One of Victoria’s Fotos


The Pull of Tides

I don’t know how that works
The push
The pull of tides

But yes it all comes back to water

A vast body of water which
Though salty too
Is too big a metaphor for tears


Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Invocation:

“Towards the one, the perfection of love, harmony and beauty, the only being, united with all the illuminated souls who form the embodiment of the master, the spirit of guidance.”


Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Prescribed Daily Mantra:
“My thoughtful self: Reproach no one. Bear malice towards no one. Hold a grudge against no one. Be wise, tolerant, considerate, polite, and kind to all.”


Gentle Readers,
This is the second of a two part blog post, telling the story of my recent experience in Panajachel, Guatemala (where I live). The experience was one of belonging to a group of the friends of a dying lady, cierta Victoria. The group’s raison d’etre was a mission of succor. The story told of how I’d come to be in that group, and how in questions of dying, we confront real issues such as why are we here? What is the nature of truth?

As Cummings poet once said, “A lot of sweet bull like that.”

First I want to mention the photo above, taken by Victoria. Aside from her visual art, Victoria was an accomplished photographer. She had a show I went to, at the local art gallery here in Panajachel, denombre La Galeria.

I chose this photo because it made me think of Victoria at the other end of the camera. Because I think one of the best skills of a photographer is the ability to elicit a moment from the person being photographed. My best friend here (Here’s a plug for you, Dani!) is a painter, art restorer and photographer denombre Daniel Casimiro, currently employed in the Basilica of Esquipulas,* which famously houses the “Black Christ,” a sculpture hundreds of years old. Dani’s job there consists of the restoration of five hundred year old religious paintings, also housed in the Basilica. He can make a ripped canvas look new with the entire painting restored down to the original artist’s singular style.

I mention Dani because (as also, a photographer, who has exhibited in Spain) his charisma or whatever je ne sais quoi which a photographer has, puts his subjects at such ease, that it just radiated all over the place in his photos.

Just as Victoria’s photo (seen above) also does.

What trust and even amusement were in those little girl’s eyes. Victoria lives on in those eyes.

As I mentioned last week, I had gone on too long with my own responses to Victoria and with recounting the story of how I had bonded with her, and how that accounted for my joining this group to succor and support her while she was fading from this world.

And the last week’s upshot was that there wasn’t room in a single post, to also recount the to me inspiring story of her final passing (as related to the rest of the group, by Kelly, one of the group who was present):

Hello everyone,
I’m writing today with sadness in my heart. It was a great honor and in many ways a beautiful thing to have had the privilege of being there to see Victoria out of this world yesterday. Right until the end, I was blown away by her strength and her beautiful, sweet soul. I’m grateful for the way things all came into place at the end, to make it a peaceful, safe and loving space for Victoria to leave us. Thank God, the lovely and good Dr Cordon was available to come and showed up pronto. Victoria really liked him and it was a great comfort to have him with us. He was really sweet to her and calm and kind. Ling, lovingly sang Victoria out of this world to a mantra that Victoria had taught her. She was surrounded by people who loved her, Nicole was there, helping her go, holding her, soothing her. Medoh had been with her all morning, Elisabeth and I were there, Elisabeth held the phone to Victoria’s ear so that Sally and Toby could say good-bye. It looked to me like she visibly softened and let go after that. She started to look more peaceful and less scared. It was a good passing. With each mantra that Ling sang down upon her she let go a little more until with a tear, she softly left. I hope I am as lucky when my time comes. Thank you so much to Victoria’s family for all their kind, loving and generous support of their sister. You did everything a loving and responsible sibling could do and always with compassion and respect for Victoria. It was also really nice to get to meet you all. Robin tells me that she and Diana where doing energy work with Victoria as she was going and that they saw birds. At the moment at which she died the birds were singing up a storm and Victoria was surrounded by her own exquisite paintings of birds. I see her flying right now, free and happy. Thank you Robin and Diana for helping us on this journey. Everyone has been amazing. Elisabeth, right now still on the way with Victoria to the city, Robin is accompanying them. So much legal stuff to attend to, bureaucracy and crazy rules and crazy makers. The kind of thing that makes me run for cover. Thank God again for Elisabeth who is doing her best to deal with it all. And Loida who came running in after Victoria left us, with all her cultural know-how and wisdom, saving us all from Social, cultural blunders and taking over all that needed to be done with great initiative and love. Where would we have been without Loida. So, now I’m going to go to ground for a little while and let this all sink in. Love to all and many, many thanks,

And here is what Ling sang to her (with which, remember, Victoria was already familiar, it being Victoria who had taught it to Ling):


Om bhur bhuvah svaha
Tat savitur varenyam
Bhargo devasa dhimahi
Diyo yona prachodayat

May the Divine Light of the Supreme Being Illuminate our Intellect
To Lead Us Along a Path of Righteousness

I also want to include what two in the group had sent me, inspired by Victoria’s passing:

From Cynthia:

It was one of those intense dreams that can occur after one has woken up early in the morning and then gone back to sleep.

I was in a building that was very similar to Marianna’s Guest House in the City where we stayed with Victoria. I came up a short flight of stairs and had a jacket and tote bag in my hands. As I came to the second floor there was a desk with a nice middle-aged woman in a white dress sitting at it. I looked at the door of the room where I knew Victoria was and the door was open. The woman at the desk stood up and smiled at me. Gesturing with a wave of her hand, she said, “Go on in. She is waiting for you.”

I placed my jacket and tote down on the floor beside the door and walked into the room. It was sparse, but bright and there was a large bed with lots of pillows and a comforter on it. It looked so very comfortable and inviting. Victoria was sitting on the edge of the bed in a pretty blue dress with flowers printed on it, her hair combed. She looked so lovely and healthy. With amazing energy and a smile she got up right away and came over to me and gave me the most heartfelt hug and said, “I want to thank you so much.” I started to cry on her shoulder, but she broke away and doing a little twirl in her pretty dress exclaimed, “Look at me! I’ve put on some weight!” And, indeed, she had.

As I wiped away my tears, two women came out of an adjacent room, both also wearing white dresses. One was quite a bit older and the other a bit older than Victoria. They didn’t say anything, but I knew that they were Victoria’s mother and grandmother. They were calmly organizing her things and it looked like they were all getting ready to leave to go somewhere. Then Victoria turned to me and said, “I want you to meet my little ones.” I turned around to look expecting to see a couple of children, but for some reason I could not see them well because they were so very, very little. Then Victoria said to me, “I have to go now.”

And here’s a poem written by Elisabeth (Our fearless and peerless leader)

Jaguar Journey

Spontaneous Joy
I found in the dance of
the jaguar and me.

Spinning, twisting, jumping
deLight who is this being
swinging with me to the
rhythms of the Trio
on into the night?

Hours later- revealed
my partner Victoria/Victorious
Years later- revealed
my heart broken open
as she passed.

God be with you,
Eric Halliwell


My Heart Was in Panajachel

Lady Bracknell (Dame Edith Evens)

Lady Bracknell (Dame Edith Evens)


You Have To Believe

“…life was impossible like that, and that he must either interpret life so that it would not present itself to him as the evil jest of some devil, or shoot himself.”
–Leo Tolstoy (Anna Karenina)

There are caverns deep in the sun
Where people live on legends of earthlight:

To stay alive their hearts respond
To this perceived wholeness of things
And so they live in hope:

You have to believe
In what you would be dead without


Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Invocation:
“Towards the one, the perfection of love, harmony and beauty, the only being, united with all the illuminated souls who form the embodiment of the master, the spirit of guidance.”


Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Prescribed Daily Mantra:
“My thoughtful self: Reproach no one. Bear malice towards no one. Hold a grudge against no one. Be wise, tolerant, considerate, polite, and kind to all.”


Gentle Readers,
What is romance, really? This perhaps is the central question.

But as I keep telling you gentle guys lately, I am mas que todo restoring old blog posts that were apparently erased in an act of vandalism a few months ago. Of course I do have a new post to put up, but it has as a background these old posts which I have been restoring the past few weeks. So I am waiting on these.

But what a coincidence! (Are there really mere coincidences? Or is it a Jungian synchronicity plot?) Because today I had to look up in my records to find today’s old biographical post, and yet last night I had the most powerful dream about this “Eve” I write about below in the post from 2013. In the dream somehow I was back in Oregon in the same city (Ashland, the Shakespeare capital of the western world!) and as I wandered around, walking the old familiar small town streets, I ran into “Eve,” with a new boyfriend.

And right off she took pains to assure me (after she had sent him away) that indeed her big problem just now was how to tell him good-bye, and it had nothing to do with seeing me again, and yet I could see in her eyes the old longing. And I had my old such stuff too along those lines, indeed to such a degree I had forgotten about my ties to Guatemala and was thinking about getting back with her if indeed she was now free. And I saw the old look in her eyes. But then she said the wrong thing.

She said, “But what about your life in Panajachel?”

And suddenly, tragically, I knew it wouldn’t work. My heart was in Panajachel. Which was a sad thing to the degree that all day today I was thinking about it and just now as I was explaining the dream to my artist friend Dani whom I am visiting in Esquipulas (home of the famous “Black Christ”), I started to cry.

But back to my reposted post from 2013, continuing the story from last weekish:

So, Gentle Readers, I sold my house and quit my job and then moved north to Ashland, Oregon, to be with my new love, Eve. (Not her real name) I could spend a lot of time describing Eve, how charming, how sweet how generous and loving. Her beguiling laugh, how dedicated to making a relationship work.

Work being the operative word.

But there were tragic flaws in the ointment. For one, I couldn’t get work as a teacher. In Oregon they are so flush with teachers and for even a day of substitute teaching, you have to have a full fledged, active credential. (As opposed to California for instance where all you need is any type of bachelor’s degree and pass the Mickey Mouse CBEST exam) So the competition for full time teaching slots was intense. Unless of course, one could speak Spanish (for their army of Latino students). And thereby hangs a tale. (Have I mentioned lately how neatly events dovetail into destiny?)

But we were both sufficiently romantic (very much so) to try to fit hexagonal pegs into pentagonal holes. (So near, and yet so far! So close, but no cigar!)

So of course we were always fighting. And yet truly shocked when one or the other of us appeared to be giving up. And a lot of this if not all is quite personal–not just to me but to Eve, who will not be amused to have our issues publicly aired.

But I will mention one thing, which has been mentioned before, and so was opened the door.

I don’t think this is a common problem, but it sure was a lousy fit for us. Because as my Gentle Readers have no doubt noticed, I am a believer in God. In my conception of God, (The “Sufi” one–the most liberal in the world), it is far from a matter of priests and churches but rather exists in one’s own heart. But to Eve that was like dressing up my faery dolls in less controversial clothing. Since Eve on the other hand was not merely an atheist, but one who had no respect for those who believed in fairy tales.

And it turned out that respect was a sine qua non of romance.

Go figure.

In an earlier post (The Unaccountable Opportunity to Do Experiments with Happiness—see https://rumi-nations.com/2013/05/) I told about how that played out in Eve’s heart. As if it was always logic and science uber alles.

What the depths of your soul cried out for was of secondary importance. Even if it did undo the life is worth living part.

So neither of us was happy. Both of us wanted things we felt were not negotiable, and which we were not getting.

And then along came my daughter, Mehera, who was in medical school and had just taken advantage herself of a generously funded vaccine study by Johns Hopkins medical school, for travelers’ diarrhea. The catch was you had to go to Guatemala, and have never been out of the country before. And it paid enough for a round trip plane ticket. And the little wheels in Eve’s and my mind set to turning over the idea of me going to a Spanish school in Antigua and me being such a quick study, I would soon be back knowing Spanish, and thus employed. (As if my unemployment were our biggest problem.)

But for all Eve’s disdain for fairy tales, she bought this one, that I would just be gone a little while and come back to a rosy (economic) future. By that I do not mean to imply that Eve was more materialistic than romantic.

Indeed if I hadn’t had the usual pride etc. she probably would have cheerfully installed me as house husband (I can cook!)

But it was just the fairy tale we needed to get me out of Dodge. (Just before High Noon, I think)

We both could hardly see through our tears to wave good-bye at the airport. We did really know it was the end.

Three months later reality dawned and Eve had a new boyfriend. So I found myself in Guatemala, with a small carpenter’s union pension and $50,000 from the sale of my house in California, enough to last til I could take early social security. And then live nicely in cheap Guatemala, with two incomes, if only I could find an occupation of some sort, as Oscar Wilde’s Lady Bracknell would say.*

And I found in Guatemala something so much better than smoking!

So, the Guatemala saga starts next week.

God be with you,
Eric Halliwell

*The Importance of Being Earnest. Check it out!