Who knew I could learn so much in two weeks
Here’s what has been my new found awareness. People that are homeless, especially people that had been kicking around doing the homeless thing for quite some time, are some resourceful ass mofo’s.
I met Bear first. This was just before my homeless journey. I was sitting quietly waiting to be seen by one of the staff members at the “Family Assistance Ministries”, and I’m not sure who chatted up who first, but before you know it, Bear and I were buddies.
This guy was scruffy, and his hands looked like sand paper. It looked like he had used his fingers, like more than I thought was possible to ever use your hands and fingers. Bear had these piercing bright eyes, that looked like he knew something I didn’t. He started off by telling me his wild adventures of having a Black bear, like literally a bear, as a best friend for 6 years after many years in the circus.
It gets better.
He ran away from the circus because his girlfriend got pregnant. This guy had stories, and I was ready to listen to all of em’.
You see this cane here? He points down.
He held out this smoothly carved cane for me to witness with my eyes to confirm its au natural beauty.
I see it!
I said, probably speaking too loud, doing that whole he’s older, so maybe he can’t hear judgement thingy that people do out of habit to older people.
Well I hand carved this baby myself. I sell em’ all around town. I’ve actually sold about 30 since last Christmas. Everybody knows me around here, even all the way over in the Filipines they are buyin’ muh canes.
He was on a roll, so I let him go on for however long.
Ya know, why pay 100 on the beach they all say when you can get a handmade one for 40 dollars?
That’s BEAR KANES I call em’, and I’m on Facebook.
That’s B-E-A-R…. he was spelling it out now.
As he slouched over and I listened with A Course in Miracles sitting in my lap, (my faithful companion), we waited our turn to be seen, as he continued, this guy knew everything about everything. He was a homeless person Guru and homeless himself. He was resourceful, way more resourceful than me. He wasn’t depressed, and he wasn’t unhappily homeless. His consciousness was up there. He was free. It was a clear moment of unraveling a little bit of my personal homelessness stereotype that I had acquired over my 33 years.
Catch ya’ around out there.
I wave to Bear and I was on my way.
I left that day, not with a place to stay, but a head full of insight and a heart full of wonder.
Let the Homelessness Begin
As I write this, it’s been however many days since the last day in the house on the 21st. Surprisingly, we’ve spent only about half of them in the car. That wasn’t as many as I expected. My friend Sabryna and her family graciously gave us a place to crash for a few nights, and my aunt and my friend Michael got us a hotel stay for several nights as well.
There were obvious inconveniences. Like all the things I’d never really given thought to before.
Being on your way somewhere and then going: Oh shit never mind, and stopping home to use the bathroom! Well, more like: time to find the nearest Walmart so that I can use the bathroom and might as well bring my toothpaste and toothbrush with me! Showering is also an eight mile drive. Womp womp.
And what if its 2am and you have to pee in the middle of the night? .
You get the picture.
Then there is needing to use your phone like its your laptop for everything. For whatever reason, I can’t charge anything in my car, so it took a few days to figure out which playgrounds have outlets and bathrooms. So far, I found one that has both, so, we go there…a lot. We’ve become playground, library, Mcdonald’s play center junkies. The kids are happy about that. But the play center’s don’t have outlets because of people like me!
The biggest inconvenience is actually flattening out the back of the car and removing alllllll the bags and groceries out of the trunk and piling them to the passenger’s seat each night so we can sleep in the back part of the car trunk. Then every morning, taking allllllll the bags from the passenger’s seat, fixing the back seats back to normal position and putting the roll up mattress away and bags back into the trunk! It takes an hour! Fuck me.
The Godvice Being Sent my way
The direct information from God no ego influence, or what I call the Godvice. Relaying the truth had become my life, and expressing this truth was my full time job now. The direction was clear. I would not use my time for making money any longer. I would not enter some work program, or hurry up and get a job to afford rent somewhere. I was completely willing to, like I mentioned, reactivate my nursing license months before and work. But the moment I became willing to work, the answer came in that I would not work.
YOU AREN’T WORKING.
I couldn’t lie, it felt like the truth, although I didn’t know the, How Momma gonna pay the bills if she ain’t workin’ answer, but with God, I never knew the “how” at first.
I did know that it felt true.
It felt like the Triflin’ Troof.
As I continued to say yes yes yes to the Godvice, the next set of instructions was…interesting. Each Homeless resource center I went to, I had to tell them the truth the whole troof’ and nothing but the troof’. The whole part about me going through this “God in a body transformation” So imagine how that could go.
::::::::whistle blows and someone yells “302, we need a 302 and straight jacket for this lady, she’s claiming she’s God in a Body and homeless because of it”::::::::::
That actually happened in my family, not to me, but we’ll save THAT for another time!
Anyway, I roll up to the Peace Center at the Saddleback church in Lake Forest. This absolutely massive campus, not what you would imagine when you hear the word “church.”
I finally get my appointment after several days with the appointed resource person for homelessness. A kind guy, teddy bear looking kinda’ guy, I’ll call him John. Comes to greet me in the waiting room.
He introduces himself.
You have to forgive me, I’ve been out for family matters for some time, and I’m just getting back to the swing of things.
Oh what a great time this will be for him, I secretly thought.
I was curious to see the reaction, this was one of my first, “Hi nice to meet you, busy becoming god in a body, because I’ve got a job to do, its called saving the world” introductions to a stranger, and I was curious to see how that would be taken up.
He was curious, baffled but had questions that matched his interest.
To my utter surprise.
So, ya know my wife, she mentions that the Holy Spirit talks to her all the time. I gotta’ admit I just must not be a good listener. So what is it like, when that happens?
I was, over the moon to describe the ins and outs of “how God talks to us, and God is us, we’ve just gotta realize this all over again” stuff.
Hey this is going better than I expected, I thought to myself.
Well honestly Jazz, what you are doing, I’ve gotta’ say, it takes a lot of courage, and not many people are willing to fully surrender to God the way you are. But when it comes to qualifying for a place to take you in…..
He didn’t have to finish, I already knew the rest.
I knew my being there had noting to do with finding a place to live. I was sent there to was to say it out loud. To walk in there, to be fearless, and tell them what I’m doing and why I’m doing it. That I had giving up everything in my life, just about, in order to follow God’s Will.
And here is the other reason.
As I continued to make phone call after phone call. I called homeless resource hotline 211 from my phone they would direct me to a place, say, Fam Assistance Ministries a place that has a transitional living spot or somewhere else. So I called, or I’d show up. Here is how it went.
Sorry we are all filled up.
Sorry we don’t take children over the age of ___
sorry we don’t take children at all.
sorry you have to be employed.
Sorry sorry sorry. but everybody I mean everybody had a referral to give you, a database of homeless resource numbers, which happened to be the people you already spoke to the hour before that said they are full. It was clear to me, that I was being sent to these resource places, not to actually find a place to live, but to have a clear idea of just how sparse resources are for finding people a bed to sleep in if you are homeless.
I pick up the phone for my weekly check in phone call with Life coach Leah.
Hey Leah, sorry my connection is bad in here!
Life coach Leah was someone around August that I had met in that appointed God kind of way that I mentioned. We met to originally be life coach accountability partners but within the first conversation, she mentioned she worked at a homeless shelter, and she also mentioned God, a lot. She didn’t know about my journey and how there were homeless projects that I knew I’d be working on in the future. When I met her, I had no idea I’d end up homeless myself actually, but I knew me meeting her had a lot more to do with some upcoming plans and projects that we’d be finding ourselves working on together.
At that point I had updated her, about my blog, and my own personal homelessness. She’d been there for progress updates each Monday since August. Life Coach goals became more like having one Goal for me. Following the Will of God, so my updates were pretty unpredictable. She expected as much.
And so yeah, that’s’ pretty much whats been going on in my week, I pace back and forth trying to get an okay signal at the YMCA,
Wow Jazz so in order to see how things were in Orange County, in order to venture into working on homelessness in OC you had to actually become homeless. You had to become it! It makes so much sense!
It was also becoming crystal clear, just how pertinent actually becoming homeless was to this transformation I was undergoing. I needed to know how things are, by becoming educated by it. And in order to be educated by it, I needed to live it.
As last week came to a close, I rounded the week up with a phone call to aunt Helen.
Just for the record, how does any conversation start in a normal way ever again? I chuckled to Auntie.
She laughed, yeah exactly, it goes something like this.
So Jazz, How’s the homelessness going?
I reply already halfway into a hysterical laugh.
Funny you should ask. Homelessness never looked so good on me.
As we simultaneously crack back howling in cackles barely able to catch our breath from the sudden burst of laughter. She adds in,
That’s it, we are getting t-shirts made with two thumbs pointing towards you that say:
“Homeless Never looked So Good”
I was just about the say the same thing. I’ll order the t-shirts in bulk cause Homelessness just became a “thang”.
We were done. 3,000 miles away from each other and yet falling over in laughter at a joke that not a single soul would understand if they overheard our harmless but hairy humor.
The truth was, this wasn’t a sad time. Not for me, or my family.
The truth was in our laughter, in all of our smiles.
I’d actually never felt so spiritually boundless, and so curious as to what would become of me, and of this rebellious trek. Homelessness had acquired such a terrible stigma, and it didn’t have to be dreary.
Each night in the car, as I lay my head down, and squish my large body to the side of the car to try to give the kids as much room as possible. I wait to hear their peaceful snoring and stare up at the greasy cars ceiling from all the times the boys smear their chicken fingered hands on it.
Is this as “bad” as it gets? I remembered the fear of sleeping in the car playing in my head over and over again all of September once I knew that being evicted would be the next step in the becoming God in a body process and surrendering up the rest. I remember the fearful sensations in my body that I felt that would play like a broken record ever so often. They were for brief moments luckily, but the sensations were awful.
But then there I was, staring up at the ceiling as our hot breath fogged up the car windows. Living it. Where were those sensations? Where was the fear that would greet me from time to time? The little bit that I had, was gone. The minds version of this was way worse than my worse fear coming to life in realtime.
And isn’t that how it always is?
When our minds dig into the worst case scenario. We live it like it’s here, (and in that moment it is here, in the ether, happening), and the fear, the shame and the guilt we feel is always way worse, compared to when the perceived catastrophe actually happens. It dawned on me, that if I was able to take on homelessness with an open heart, and fearlessly, what else could I be capable of?
Oh shit, wait, God, don’t answer that yet. Give me a few days.
Homelessness just became a lot more valuable than I ever thought it was before. It just showed me what I’m made of.
I’m one solid mother fucker.
Who am I anyway? that’s right. A very very old soul.
A solid God particle that’s on her last “lifetime”.
I also learned that homelessness wasn’t nearly as dreadful as the stigma of it.
Or at least it didn’t have to be.
It has to be God, otherwise, this shit don’t make sense. This story don’t make no sense. No one willingly volunteers themselves and their family to be homeless right? What could be fueling that? It sounds like insanity till you realize it isn’t. It was always a part of the plan. Of my plan. It had to be a part of this Rebel’s journey to Enlightenment. It had to be. I get it now.
It has to be God.
And all of it is.