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3. Changing










Loutro May 19, 1992


I met a man from Austria at Sweetwater Beach a few
days ago. Last night he came to our room to play his
guitar and sing songs. Stefan had told me he only
played in his room alone, because he wasn't good
enough to play for other people. We think he was wrong
after hearing him sing and play his entire repertoire.
The evening was definitely about intimacy. I was
discovering a kind of male intimacy I had only
imagined when I saw women together. I assumed, as I
was taught to assume, that this was not behavior that
would be tolerated between two men.

Stefan is so German in so many ways. It's interesting
to see our Californian perspectives of life constantly
challenge his left brain absolute presumptions. We
have gotten him to agree to say "maybe" instead of no,
whenever we confront him with new ideas. Stefan
confided in me that he was in love with a nun at the
hospital where he worked. He was surprised when I
asked him if he had told her that he loves her. I told
him he should tell her, then he would have the
opportunity to find out if she loves him. He said it
may already be too late because she had been
transferred to another convent.

I presented Stefan with this poem after our personal
concert:

Your beauty is your innocence
Like a child who still understands joy
Your eyes reflect the curiosity of life
The innocent love, unspoiled
Of those who retreat
Into their shy cocoons

But you must come out
For those who await the butterfly

Your love will be met with equal love
Do not be surprised when I love you

Your gifts to the world are subtle
But they are also pure
You say I love you
In so many wonderful ways
Each delicate and soft

I accept your love
Your wonderful laughter
Your greener than green eyes
But mostly your innocence

Yes
I accept your love
And I love you too

For me it's an unbelievably liberating experience to
be able to give this to a heterosexual man and have it
accepted with gratitude.

May 22, 1992


This morning Stefan came to the yoga class at the last
minute before going off to catch the ferry. Up until
now he had refused to come. He told us he loves us, a
phrase he seems totally at ease repeating often. For
Rob the act of Stefan coming to the yoga class was the
ultimate act of love. Rob was really moved by this
simple gesture.

I sent Stefan off with this poem I felt applied to his
situation with the nun:

For every situation in life
There are as many possibilities
As you can imagine
You must choose the one you love
You must love the one you choose
To live your own life
You must be the water in the river
The water will always flow
It goes over the stones
Under the stones
Around the stones
Be sure the way you go is your way
There are no rules on your own path
Rules are the voices of others
Sometimes they become the biggest stones
You do not have to choose pain
Enough pain will come when you need it
You must only choose to follow your heart
Then you may watch your life unfold
Like a beautiful flower
Let the flower unfold
Do not cling to the rocks
Out of fear of your own beauty
The more you open your heart
The more your heart will open
Let go
There is no pain in letting go
You may have everything you need
Just ask
Let go
Become love

Nothing is impossible

Loutro, June 15, 1992


I sit here staring at the paper in front of me,
searching for the proper words, wondering if I can
tell this incredible story without having people
thinking I've totally lost my mind. It all began in
April when we met a German medical student named
Chris. Since then America and San Francisco and all of
Western culture seem so distant and foreign to me. I
meditate for two hours each day and do yoga for
another 2 hours. At times the process becomes so
painful and intense that I understand why many are
threatened by it. For myself it is no longer a choice.
I can see that this is an opportunity to use
everything that has happened in my life in the past
few years as a catalyst for incredible
transformational change. I have already seen so much
death and faced so many challenges that I am aware
that this one will reap the most incredible rewards of
my life. Many times in the past two months the only
way for me to adequately bridge that enormous gap
between the English language and my feelings and
experiences is to write poetry. Prose is not
sufficient.

The place where I now stand is unfamiliar when I
compare it to the entire span of my life in
linear-time existence. There is, however, something
which seems more familiar, more real and more
fulfilling than any conscious memory from the life I
have just fallen out of. As I construct this
composition I am aware of the judgmental, constrictive
quality of verbal written communication. I am living
in a dangerous world of feeling and intuition. Each
new level of opening exposes the dangerous fear which
can be seen in those who feel assaulted by the
presence of truth in a world that is built on
illusions with smoke and mirrors. My path seems clear
as I stand in the place where all paths converge. I am
compelled to follow my heart - the way where no
thoughts are necessary. The way could have been
darkened with the uncertainty brought about by
contemplation. But the heart provides the light of
faith and trust. Each footstep lights the pathway with
the radiance of the present moment. I am suspended in
the blissful pain of knowing my place in the universe.
I have discovered the secret of life! The most
difficult way is really the easiest. The most painful
way is really is the most painless. Fear is the
biggest illusion of all!

In the middle of a twelve day friendship in April, in
one second out of my entire lifetime I was presented
with the opportunity to change everything forever. I
came face to face with the same kind of psychotic
violence that left me scarred with fear just two years
before. I chose to face this violence without fear. I
faced it with unconditional love. I walked on the road
where my heart took me. The violence dissolved into
tears. In that one magical moment we both left the
temporal world behind. In that one sacred second I was
given the gift of seeing peace in action.        

Loutro, June 26, 1992


So much has happened in the last three months. Never
in my entire lifetime has such a brief period of time
been so rich in life altering experience. We have yoga
classes everyday in the castle ruins and barely manage
to support ourselves. According to the locals, the
real summer season begins in two weeks, so there is a
bit of a lull at the moment. The nature of people who
come to yoga classes is exceptional. Even when we are
down to our last drachma there is someone to buy us
dinner or leave all their extra food outside our door
before getting on the ferry to their next destination.
It is truly an awakening to the process of the
universe providing everything that one needs to
survive. Each time we find ourselves on the verge of
total panic something happens that resolves the source
of the panic. The question for us now is, how many
times will this happen before we let go of the fear?

Being Gay is absolutely the most obvious baggage we
have carried into our new lives. Waking up everyday
with our American Gay male identities stamped on our
foreheads provides an interesting challenge. Nobody
cares! For us personally, it means we have to deal
with what has been done to us growing up in such a
hostile homophobic culture like America. We are living
among devout Christians who look at us with nothing
more than a healthy curiosity. Sure they have their
boundaries about sexuality, but they are drawn the
same for everyone. We don't feel singled out, so it's
easier for us to comply. The rules are simple, really.
Just don't make out in public. Not a problem. We don't
do that anyway. But for us there are so many subtle
ways of showing affection that are now on the table
that would never be accepted back home. The great
aspect to it all is that none of these things are
considered to be Gay. They are just ways that people
show affection to other people.

Loutro, Friday August 7, 1992


Only as a small child can I remember such peace and
contentment. I want to hang onto this place like a
child hangs onto his mothers apron strings. I am so
afraid if I lose this feeling it will never return.
Day after day I wake up with nothing to do, nowhere to
go. In this place of no commitments, no schedules, the
world comes to me. The land and the sea are ageless
and timeless. I can feel the spirits of two millennia
or more whispering to my heart as I walk the mountain
paths in the midday sun. I have never felt more like I
belong. I love you Loutro, like a young teen in love
for the first time. It seems that if I should lose you
I will surely die!

Loutro, July 23, 1992


Received a letter from Stefan in Austria. When he
returned to his job he discovered that the nun had
been transferred because she was in love with him.
They met secretly and decided to wait two years until
she had finished her pledges. It was impossible to
talk to each other because the nuns had taken her
telephone away. When the nuns saw how many letters she
was receiving they told her she should stay on the
"right way" and should not see Stefan anymore. This is
when she decided to leave the convent.

Stefan wrote: "She has never seen the sea. I told her
Loutro is a good place to do this for the first time.
She has Bob's poem about possibilities. I gave it to
her because of this sentence: 'Rules are the voices of
others-sometimes they become the biggest stones.'
Veronika left a lot for me-maybe you can meet her next
year-you will love her too." I was so moved by this
letter. It just seemed impossible that someone I knew
for five days could become so important in my life. I
was happy to see that my poem about possibilities was
being receive exactly the way I had written it.
Nothing could be more rewarding to a writer.

Thursday, October 22, 1992, Loutro

We are about to embark upon another adventure of faith.
We have barely enough money to get us to Amsterdam. On the
very day we introduced the subject of fear of survival a man
from Holland offered us a place to stay. We are getting to the
point where it seems ridiculous to even give fear our energy
or time anymore.

This summer has been nothing less than miraculous! I have an inner
peace I can only recognize from childhood when I was so dependent
on my parents that I had no understanding of stress. I have become
conscious of something I think may make the rest of my life extremely
difficult. I believe I have looked into the face of what many call God.
I now have a very clear understanding of the simplicity, the ease with
which one is able to live oneís true life. There are so many examples
of spirituality in Loutro that have jumped out beyond that tough veneer
of organized religion and touched my heart in a secular way. Even
though many of my experiences have been offered in the context of the
Orthodox beliefs of the region, I have been privileged to receive
them without fancy wrappers. Stefan told me that Jesus comes to
many ďnon-Christians.Ē I think I understand him. It was my distance
from Christianity that made me able to be more objective about what I
have experienced. What I am left with is a profound
acceptance that who I am and what I am doing with my life is
a good thing!

Loutro, April 3, 1993


Being here so early in the spring means that we are
cut off from the rest of the world even more than
usual. We had to hire a small fishing boat from Sfakia
to bring us to Loutro with all our bags. On the second
day back we heard a rumor that there was a store open
in Anopoli. We hiked two hours straight up the
mountain only to find white bread and chocolate.
Someone advised me to take the 2:30 p.m. bus from
Sfakia to Hania to pick up supplies. Each day for the
following three days I hiked along the mountain path
to Sfakia, two hours each direction. Each day I was
told by the locals that a bus would go to Hania at
2:30 p.m. and each day there was no bus. On the fourth
day three different people came to me to say there
would be no bus that day. At exactly 2:30 p.m. a bus
arrived and I began the journey through the White
Mountains to the north coast.

I stayed in a cheap room overnight in Hania. The next
morning I got up early and went out armed with my
large backpack ready to buy supplies for the next two
weeks. It turned out to be a national holiday and
everything was closed. I had to laugh at my situation
after an orderly winter in Germany. I could once again
live in the moment with no stress about schedules. I
did my shopping the next morning and arrived at the
11:00 a.m. bus to Sfakia with my backpack splitting at
the seams. I was afraid to wait for the afternoon bus
for fear it would be another phantom.

There were only three passengers on the bus, two women
from Loutro and myself. Krisoula runs the small kiosk
on the beach next to the school. She is also the
mother of our landlady Pandalitza. Katina lives in the
only original Cretan house left on the beach. She
lives a 19th century life with her mother, who dressed
in black with a black scarf covering her head, still
cooks on a stone wood stove outside in front of their
home. They are direct descendants of Daskalogianis, a
Cretan hero who's statue stands in the square in
Anopoli.

Krisoula and Katina understand about as much English
as I do Greek. Somehow they are able to convey to me
that I may ride back to Loutro with them in a boat
from Sfakia at 4:00 p.m. Rob was to wait for me in
Sfakia the day before to help carry the supplies back
by foot. I was sure he would be waiting on this day
also, even if he didn't know about the holiday the day
before. As we pulled into Sfakia two hours later Rob
was waiting. We spent the next three hours with
Krisoula and Katina at a taverna. At 4:00 o'clock
Krisoula was on the telephone screaming as only she
can. We had no idea what was happening. We just
laughed on cue when Katina laughed. We were really
laughing at ourselves for the situation we were in. By
5:15 we were no longer laughing, but Krisoula was
still on the phone screaming. She came back to the
table and motioned for us to put our bags into a
fishing boat.

We all positioned ourselves for the ride to Loutro and
the boat slowly pushed away from the dock. Just as we
were turned around in the middle of the bay pointing
out to sea, we could hear the faint sound of a horn in
the distance. Suddenly Krisoula is standing in the
middle of the boat screaming at the fisherman. He
turns the boat around rolling his eyes and we head
back to shore. Katina laughs hysterically and we once
again follow suit. The truck drives through the
village honking his horn in rapid succession. The
driver jumps out and begins to throw cases of
cigarettes into the boat. Rob and I look at each other
and smiling. Who of our friends would believe that we,
brightly dressed, long haired, would be sailing off
into the sunset with two Greek women in black dresses,
one of them the tobacco baroness of Loutro. The
fisherman tries to keep his masculine composure as his
four passengers laugh all the way to Loutro. We are
home!

Loutro, April 20, 1993 


There is something distinctly different about the
spring of 1993. Both of our hearts shuttered when
Pandalitza kept saying Kastro Kaput! Pointing to the
castle on the hill she was trying to tell us that part
of the west wall had fallen during a storm. We were
relieved when we came to the castle to find that only
a small portion of the wall had indeed fallen. We were
treated to the usual spring storms and rainy days
spent inside our room. Rob and I are working to
prepare the castle floor for the yoga students. Once
again the floor is a blanket of grass and wild
flowers. We reconstructed the spiral for the walking
meditation in the circle of stones at the entrance. On
April 1st the ferry began service and the tourist
season began. Our good friend Barbara arrived from
Switzerland on the 3rd. We greeted the regulars as
they got off the ferry each day from Sfakia. Easter is
like a family reunion in Loutro with the same tourists
returning each year. On April 8th Jorg and Ingrid
returned and took a room in Pandalitza's house. The
family was together now with Wolfgang and Andrea and
Johanna from Berlin, and Uli and Manuela also from
Berlin. We all prepared for the celebration of Easter
and then the Greek Easter again one week later.

New Jersey, 1993

(note)

Rob and I came back to the states for a really
difficult treatment for Entamoeba Histolytica, an
intestinal parasite that would take much of the
following year to treat. The drugs we initially used
would leave us both in a downward spiral health wise.
Looking back it is obvious this was the beginning of
the end for Rob. It is not surprising now that we were
not exactly in our best form. 

New Jersey, May 1993


We have just returned from more than thirteen months
out of the country. If Rob and I had not become ill we
would have stayed away for two years or more. It was a
really difficult winter. I had promised myself I would
never again live in a place where it was cold and
snowed, but I can honestly say it was worth every
minute. I think we were able to endure it because we
weren't in a familiar place. The cold winter was just
one of a multitude of unfamiliar things we had to deal
with everyday. We were able to adapt. We went to
saunas where we ran nude through the snow and plunged
our bodies into ice cold water. We ate fresh goat
cheese that required cutting the black mold from the
outside of a disgusting inedible looking mass. We
shopped in markets that only carried locally grown
products. We walked through snow covered fields past a
frozen lake because there were no buses. We had to go
to a special shop to buy a turkey for Thanksgiving and
went to considerable trouble to find pumpkin for the
pie. We always had the sense that everything was real,
that our lives were real.

What's really unreal is to be in New Jersey! In all
the places I've been I have never felt more alien than
here in New Jersey. This is true culture shock. Just
the experience of being in Rob's parent's kitchen is a
real eye opener after living in Loutro then spending
the winter with German and Dutch friends. I was
fascinated by the items in the cupboards and
refrigerator. There were low-calorie sugar
substitutes, no salt salt, sugar-free decaffeinated
iced tea, fat-free cholesterol-free salad dressing,
mild and light no-salt cholesterol-free olive oil,
fat-free cholesterol-free nonfat eggless mayonnaise,
sugar-free cough drops, low-salt whole wheat crackers,
grade A pasteurized homogenized low-fat milk,
cholesterol-free cottage cheese, no-cholesterol
artificially flavored cake frosting, gourmet
ultra-pasteurized nondairy no-cholesterol coffee
creamer, low-calorie light beer, low calorie fat-free
pasteurized processed cheese product, caffeine free
low sodium diet cola, cholesterol-free 99% real egg
product. There were also electric plug-in air
fresheners, car air-fresheners, automatic security
lights, and car alarms and house alarms that went off
for no good reason in the middle of the nights.

We were picked up at the airport in a stretch limo
provided by Rob's father. The driver complained to
Rob's father that our hair was too long! Suddenly our
hair is wrong, our clothes are wrong, our sexual
orientation is wrong, the fact that we walk instead of
driving is wrong, our attitudes are wrong, let's face
it, we are just wrong! The neighbors came to check to
see if we were burglars breaking into Rob's parent's
house. Of course that was our fault. If we didn't look
so strange people wouldn't be suspicious. We just
spent more than one year with people who found us
interesting, who admired our lifestyles and
independence, who envied our creativity. Now we are
confronted with hostility and suspicion everywhere we
go. It's especially difficult for Rob because these
are his roots. I hate this place! I have the feeling I
want to go home, but I'm not sure what that means
anymore. I have the feeling that life here is about
labels and ghettos. I feel like my label gets bigger
and the corner I'm supposed to exist in gets smaller.
Never before have I seen so clearly what an intolerant
people Americans can be.

September 24, 1993


Each time I return to the States I can see that I've
become less and less American. Of course there are
many Americans who would jump at the opportunity to
say I'm un-American. I can see more clearly how we are
required to choose labels and go to our respective
corners or ghettos. I feel more and more like I'm
being squeezed into a small box where I'm supposed to
live within boundaries that kill my spirit. I can't
help but think of all the lively conversations with
Europeans that broke down all those narrow American
assumptions I used to believe were truths. One
American told me she could have all the experiences I
have had by just reading a book. How can I possibly
respond to something so ridiculous?

Not only am I expected to live up to the expectations
of being an "American" Gay man, but now I'm expected
to wear a label of either HIV negative or positive.
One thing Germany and Berlin in particular has done
for me is given me the opportunity to experience what
it's like to live as an openly Gay man in the larger
culture, without a ghetto. I can't wait to add
Thailand to my experiences and watch more of my
American assumptions of the world melt away!

Bangkok, January 20, 1994


Today is my 45th birthday and I am a child again. I am
reminded of the line in "The Year of Living
Dangerously," when Billy Kwan (Linda Hunt) observes
Guy Hamilton (Mel Gibson) in the slums of Jakarta,
Indonesia. Billy says most of us become children again
when we enter the slums of Asia. When I first saw the
movie more than ten years ago I knew I would be in
this position someday. Rob and I consciously chose
Thailand as our first Asian stop because we knew it
would be an easier adjustment than India. On this trip
I am the one with the upper hand, so to speak. Because
of my trip to Africa, there is much I have to share
with Rob about culture shock.

The city of Bangkok seems absolutely dangerous and
exciting at the same time. We are compelled to set
aside our fear and proceed with a sort of fabricated
confidence. I am sure that most if not all of our
apprehensions are simply misunderstandings we have
attached ourselves to from reading travel guides
written for tourists, not travelers! We will simply
have to wrap our minds around the ideas that heroin
addiction and abject poverty will have to be accepted
on a level that allows us to coexist. It is already
apparent that the kind of judgment we pass upon such
things in America is absolutely out of the question
here. We must be able to walk through the streets of
Bangkok with the innocence of a child and the
confidence of a soldier. We must be willing to embrace
experience without the chains of our cultural pedagogy
holding us back from full appreciation.

Samui, Thailand, January 29, 1994


If I hadn't given up fear I would probably be totally
involved in the memories of all those who warned us of
the perils of travel in Asia. At the moment Rob and I
sleep in two separate rooms in the same building for
$2 a night per person. We took these two rooms because
we were spending too much on another bungalow while
waiting for a cheaper one. Now we must suffer in these
less than basic rooms until our bungalow becomes
available in a few days. Unfortunately we have arrived
in high season. We have a shared shower and toilet
that sits at the edge of the jungle about nine yards
from our doors. I am not sure the water coming out of
the shower head is capable of making me clean! The
trip to the bathroom at night is a hair raising
experience that makes one do everything possible to
avoid the trip. The talk of cobras does nothing to
instill courage.

We have found an excellent place to eat called Magic
View. It's a shack with three tables, a loud generator
and loud music from a boom box. Most things on the
menu are less than a dollar, except for the Magic
Omelet which costs 200 baht or about 8 dollars. It is
made with psilocybin (psychedelic) mushrooms. One more
experience to challenge our Puritanical American
roots. Even without the omelet the view is still
magical.

We are on the quiet side of Samui on the north shore.
I have to admit that our adjustment has been more
difficult than we imagined. Taking the herbal cure for
the intestinal parasites hasn't made it any easier. As
survivors of San Francisco in the 1980s we can always
come up with a plausible denial. When things look
really bleak we look at each other and say, "at least
we are not dying, otherwise we would already be dead!"
Rob has a blister on his foot from new shoes. We are
somewhat concerned that it hasn't healed yet. But then
everyone says things are hard to heal in the tropics.
Still, that doesn't make the memory of death in San
Francisco go away.

Staying here makes Greece and Loutro look absolutely
modern and so clean. But we know from past experience
that if we stay here long enough even this will
eventually begin to seem normal.

Athens, March 11, 1994


We arrived in Athens very early this morning. We were
detained at the airport by immigration officials
because we were on a flight from Bangkok. I'm sure
they took one look at us and decided we were drug
smugglers. They went through all our bags and made us
show our money. Together we had just a little over
three hundred dollars. We also didn't have return
tickets. They questioned us for quite some time. We
both feared they would put us on a plane back to the
states. But we told a good story they eventually
believed. Taking advantage of Rob's Italian name, we
convinced them that Rob's parents were coming on a
boat from Italy and would meet us in the Athens
harbor. That explained why we had no return tickets
and were out of money. It was a very special day in
Athens! Perhaps that is why they were so quick to
accept our fabricated story. Neither of us had gotten
much sleep on the plane. Everything seemed to be
happening in a dream.

As we made our way to the Plaka by taxi there was a
peculiar sense of tranquility on the streets of
Athens. The streets seemed more deserted than usual.
As we came closer to our destination the mysterious
aura became more pronounced. We turned a corner and
suddenly the streets were covered with flower petals.
There was a cold dampness that was even more apparent
after months in Thailand. It seemed the flower petals
had been attached to the pavement with tears. We had
arrived on the morning after Melina Mercouri's
funeral.      
 

Loutro, May 17, 1994


Four days ago I was standing on the balcony watching
the ferry come in to shore when I saw a man and woman
with a baby waving from the deck. Soon Stefan appeared
in the doorway to room #8. He was very excited and out
of breath. His head was covered with a long scarf that
was tied in the back. I'm not sure I can describe the
feeling I had when I saw him in the doorway. If I had
to give a theme to our long seasons in Loutro, I would
have to say that 1992 was about breaking down the fear
of violence and replacing it with love. This year,
1994 would be about breaking down the stereotypes
about male intimacy. This would be the year Rob and
Bob would heal the damage of the American brand of
homophobia that had made us believe that getting too
close to heterosexual men was dangerous, even life
threatening. This would be the summer we would both
become European men. There standing in the doorway to
our room was a heterosexual man who was about to bring
his new wife and baby into our lives in an incredibly
intimate way. The love was overwhelming!

Rob's Journal, May 16, 1994
 "Stefan and Marianne were depressed and head achy the
second night in Loutro. When we asked Stefan what was
wrong he told us a story from the day when they were
walking to Marble Beach. Stefan had tripped and nearly
fallen down a steep section of the trail, leaving
Marianne and the baby, Veronika behind. Marianne was
afraid of losing her husband. She later explained to
Stefan that if anything should happen to them she
would want Rob and Bob to raise their child."

Stefan told us he would tell his daughter she has
three fathers, Stefan, Rob and Bob.

Loutro, Tuesday, June 14, 1994


We talked with a couple from Sarajevo today. He is
Serbian and his wife is Croatian. They have escaped to
Greece to avoid his requirement to serve in the
military. It seems strange to be so close to war, to
be in a position to actually meet the refugees. The
four of us sat under an olive tree for hours talking
about their plight. He insists that the conflict in
the beginning was orchestrated by those in power who
want to keep their power and wealth. He says it is all
a game for the powerful at the expense and lives of
the average people. I was moved by his account of how
they were all living together as neighbors and
friends. After the war began it became hard to keep
any kind of perspective. After the "other side"
murders your entire family before your very eyes it
becomes impossible to hold back the rage and hatred of
the others. It becomes really difficult to keep from
being consumed by a need for revenge. And all this is
exactly what the powerful intended when they started
the conflict. They counted on it getting out of
control. I have never seen the concept of war so
clearly. Those at the top playing with people's lives,
deciding who lives and dies, all for their own profit.
And the soldiers, many just innocent boys under the
command of older men who demand they point their guns
at the boys in the other uniforms and shoot to kill.
It is hard to imagine that one day you are all living
together as neighbors and the next day you are killing
the same people you once said good morning to in more
peaceful times. I guess it's easier for American
soldiers. We always send them half way around the
world to a place where everyone is a stranger and
everything is strange. It's so much easier to demonize
those you do not understand.

Loutro, August 5, 1994


Both Rob and I agree that we have changed dramatically
(again) in the last seven months. In one way we are
just now arriving back to our "out of the U.S." life.
I am amazed at what a toll our time in S.F. took on us
both last year. I am just now in the mode of believing
that I have a long life ahead of me again. My short
stories are half typed now and I'm anxious to send
copies to people. Even Rob thinks people will be blown
away when they read them.

As for our healing work in Loutro, it continues on an
amazingly grand scale. We have opened a Pandora's box
of sorts and it is not without its effect on us. In
the beginning I thought Loutro was providing a "unique
kind of man" for our research of male human sexuality.
But as I approach nearly fifty healing experiences,
just this season alone, I now have a perspective that
challenges everything I ever though I knew about human
sexuality! It is impossible for me to believe at this
point, that there is or ever was such a thing as a
heterosexual man, or a homosexual man. I am now 100%
sure that every man has the need to explore his
maleness in a way that involves intimacy with other
men, a kind of intimacy that is forbidden in America.
I am convinced that the twentieth century has
purposely denied this aspect of masculinity to the
point where men everywhere in Western cultures and
especially in America are starving for male intimacy
and masculine erotic stimulation. I am convinced that
there is little difference between the male and female
needs for intimate same gender contact, except for the
cultural taboos placed on Western males.

There is a part of this work that is very beautiful.
We get to witness the transformation from total
oppression to liberation. Most admit they have been
changed to a point that makes it impossible to return
to their old lives. We have received some very
touching letters describing their return to German
culture. The most difficult part for us is to become
emotionally attached in such an intimate way, then put
them on a boat back home, perhaps never to see them
again. As the ferry leaves for Sfakia we repeat the
routine of standing on the beach watching its slow
deliberate journey with tears in our eyes. Just a few
days ago I read the list of German men to Rob and he
began to cry. He said something very profound. He told
me the list reminded him of my list of friends who had
died from AIDS. He wondered if perhaps we had the task
of bringing the same number of people back to life.

Christoph from Vienna, the man who brought the
typewriter for my short stories, went totally
schizophrenic on the full moon. I'm sure the reading
of my short stories contributed to his break down,
although I don't want to take credit for his
schizophrenia. On his last two days here he was up all
night pacing the beach, not recognizing anyone. Just
as the people in the village were ready to call the
tourist police to come to take him away, he got on the
ferry and left. On one hand it is a verification of
the power of my short stories. Both Rob and I believe
Christoph will be the last to admit he is Gay. Most
everyone else knows it already. On this I could write
ten more pages, but I'm exhausted from the experience,
so I will stop here.

I did a breathing process with a Belgian, Steven, 28
years old, who told me in the end that he was
depressed to the point of being suicidal. I had
noticed when he moved into room number 1, that he was
having some kind of serious emotional crisis. I told
him about the work I had done with others and he
agreed to try the breathwork. His brother had
committed suicide. It was immediately obvious to me
that his brother killed himself because he was Gay. In
each breathing process I am never sure what the issue
will be. At the end of each session, what's obvious is
the incredible inability of the subject to hold back
in denial. After the session Steven told me that his
brother killed himself because he was Gay. Now here's
the really scary "Twilight Zone" part of the story.
Exactly one week later I noticed a young Australian
man who was obviously going to be my next subject. I
now have this uncanny ability to pick them out of a
crowd. I'm not sure if it's their mannerisms or
something deeper, less obvious that signals their
need. I told the Australian about my work. He was
eager to participate. After a relatively uneventful
breathing session he sat up to talk. He told me his
brother had committed suicide because he was Gay. He
was in love with one of his brother's friends. He told
me the session made it clear that he must go back to
Australia and admit his love for this man. So you see,
there is never a dull moment in Loutro.

The process also goes on with my interviews with the
Germans. I have added many pages to my "Speaking Into
The Silence." What I have learned this season is that
I sometimes know the Germans better than they know
themselves. I have covered my door with Truth Fairy
quotes directed at the Germans. Example: "Conscious
people don't make good slaves!" "When you make excuses
for your unconscious behavior, you also excuse your
chance to be free!" "Alcoholism is the cultural
anesthesia to numb the effects of European
oppression!"

Rob and I have decided to stop drinking alcohol. It's
almost impossible. Deciding to stop drinking only
uncovers how incredibly ingrained the addiction is in
European culture. It's so easy to ignore the
consequences when you can claim that it's culturally
vital. The same goes for smoking cigarettes! Rob's
foot is still not healed. Perhaps when we get to
London we can find a doctor who will tell us what's
wrong.

Thursday October 20, 1994, Hania, Crete


We left Loutro on the last ferry today. The ferry was
so full we had to stand on the lower deck with the cars
and trucks. As they began to raise the ramp we could see
our friends gathered on the beach to wave good-bye. As
the boat turned toward the Hotel Porto Sofia we could
see all of the girls from the hotel waving towels and
screaming good-bye. A man with a British accent approached
us and asked jokingly if we were famous. He was a British
tour guide writer named Nick. We gave him a short synopsis
of Rob and Bob in Loutro. He invited us to ride with him
to Hania.

As we wended through the White Mountains toward the north
coast the three of us commented on the ominous changes taking
place. The road was being widened for larger busses. When Rob
and I sat talking this evening in our room, we both had the
feeling that the last paradise was being destroyed forever.
Rob repeated his prediction that everything real would be
destroyed before the new millennium.

Something is very different this year as we prepare to leave. I have
this sick feeling in my stomach as if something or someone has died.
I was always able to allay this feeling with the knowledge that there
would be another season in Loutro next year. For some reason that
possibility does not seem feasible this time. There is this horrible
fear that I cannot shake. I donít understand exactly what it is.

On the ferry today as we were leaving I felt really close to Rob. I
think we were both holding back tears. This was a really intense
summer. Sometimes the magic of Loutro is overwhelming. At times
it offers up life in a way that is too real. But the more frightening
thought is to return to a superficial life where people often fall asleep
then wake up just before they take their last breath! There are two kinds
of struggles in life. There are struggles that are absolutely a waste of time,
struggles for the sake of struggling. But the struggles Loutro provides are
the struggles that build character and wisdom. I love her more than I am able
to express in words. If I never see her again she will always be in my heart.


Tuesday, October 25, 1994, London



I am afraid. I believe Rob is also afraid. Itís something we just
canít quite put our fingers on. This is a very difficult transition
back into the mistake described by D.H. Lawrence. The quote has been
hanging on my wall in Loutro for the past few years. It has so much
meaning in the experience we are having now.

I AM NOT A MECHANISM, AN ASSEMBLY OF VARIOUS SECTIONS.
AND IT IS NOT BECAUSE THE MECHANISM IS WORKING WRONGLY,
THAT I AM ILL. I AM ILL BECAUSE OF WOUNDS TO THE SOUL,
TO THE DEEP EMOTIONAL SELF --
AND THE WOUNDS TO THE SOUL TAKE A LONG, LONG TIME,
ONLY TIME CAN HELP -- AND PATIENCE AND A CERTAIN
DIFFICULT REPENTANCE, REALIZATION OF LIFEíS MISTAKE,
AND THE FREEING ONESELF FROM THE ENDLESS REPETITION
OF THE MISTAKE WHICH MANKIND
AT LARGE HAS CHOSEN TO SANCTIFY.

                   D.H. LAWRENCE

We were detained for hours at the airport in Heraklion
because we had stayed longer than our tourist visas allowed.
It was obvious they were trying to shake us down for a large
sum of money, but somehow Rob convinced them to let us on the
plane to London anyway. The chartered flight was horrible!
It was like traveling with a group of soccer hooligans. At 3:00 AM
most of the passengers were drinking, smoking and celebrating instead
of catching up on sleep. At Gatwick we experienced more border
harassment. Itís not easy retaining the higher perspective when the
people you are dealing with have the power to imprison or deport you.
No use having a debate about borders being artificial barriers that
I do not respect. No sense in sharing the concept that I have a right
to be wherever I choose to be on MY planet earth. These people believe
and live the MISTAKE through every cell of their beings. Best to be as
invisible as possible.

We made the error of immersing ourselves directly into the middle
of London culture. Rob and I shared panic attacks in the center of
Leicester Square on Saturday night. Neither one of us had anticipated
the extreme nature of the culture shock we were forced to go through.
Suddenly we were surrounded by throngs of people shoulder to shoulder.
I felt as if I would be crushed or suffocate if I couldnít get to the
perimeter of the crowd immediately! We held onto each other as if we were
swimming to shore from a capsized boat in stormy waters.
We found refuge near St Martinís Parish.

On Sunday I decided to go to Hyde park to be as far away as possible
from the hustle of the city. I positioned myself on a park bench in
the middle of a meadow on a foot path. I closed my eyes and tried to
imagine the castle above Loutro. The sound of the city in the background
was difficult to ignore. I tried to let go of it all and find that peaceful
quiet place. I could hear footsteps of someone approaching from the left.
Then, out of the clear blue, I heard the ringing of a telephone. I opened
my eyes in total shock! A woman reached into her purse and pulled out a small
telephone and began to talk in a loud obnoxious voice. I was surprised at
the anger that welled up inside of me. I wanted to grab this horrible device
and crush it into tiny pieces. I felt like Rip Van Winkle waking from a long sleep.
Perhaps Rob was right. Maybe everything real would be
destroyed before the beginning of the new millennium!


Wednesday, October 27, 1994, London



My entire body feels flushed with a sense of melancholy.
All the excitement of seeing London for the first time has vanished
in these first five days.I am suffocating among the hordes, my sense of
wholeness shattered. I weep for my beloved Loutro,
unable to shake this feeling of loss, that something has come to an abrupt
and fatal end. I can no longer see the road to my right life that has been
illuminated for the past few years. I have severe culture shock. Not from some
exotic foreign land or fear of the unknown. No, this time I am shocked by the
sense of the familiar. The darkness has returned to swallow my vision.
That cold firm hand once again pushes me toward what is expected of me.
I cannot see the red sunrise that lifts me from my bed to face the infinite
possibilities of an unstructured day. I feel dense and cold and lifeless
as my soul has already forgotten how to fly!

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