Tuesday, October 5, 2010

There is my Father, and there is Myself. And in between are the Doors

"Yeah we're goin to the Roadhouse,
we're gonna have a reeeeal
Good time!"

As my father and I sat alone at Skinny's Grille in Hope, the last diners of the night amidst the 1970s throwback decor, I heard the Lizard King singing in my head- loud enough to drown out the multiverse.

We had just spent the weekend in Penticton attending a Shamanic Practitioner workshop and journeying with the incomparable Dawn Dancing Otter- but the drive home became a Shamanic journey in and of itself.

I never thought my life would have a Hollywood moment. You know, those scenes where you sit in the theater with a tear in your eye and say "Man, thats cheesy!" ?

Some things seem just too perfect in Celluloid...

I watched from the dark outdoors as we made small talk over a mountain of greasy poutine and a couple of nearly-cooked burgers, letting the past slide away in all that was left unsaid.

I half-expected the moment to be shattered by the Director shouting: "Cut! Its Perfect! Print it!"

Instead, we ate quietly while the music played on...

"You gotta roll, roll, roll,
You gotta thrill my soul, all right!"

The Doors' music was an indelible part of my fathers life as a young man. He turned 18 during the fabled "Summer of Love" and, in spite of the fact that the Canadian Prairies are so far removed from the madness of Haight-Ashbury, the spirit of the age left its mark.

My father, a rather private man, had never really shared that passion with me... But isn't it funny how some things never change?

Nearly three decades later I found my own road to the spirit of the 60s. My fascination with The Doors and their enigmatic front-man forever altered my path.
It was through Jim, in fact, that I was first introduced to the possibility of Shamanism as a modern practice- a road that has been calling me with growing insistence ever since.

As a depressed and despondent 21 year old, I spent night after night cocooned in darkness, lost in the melodies and soothed by the words of Jim Morrison, that sonorous psychedelic shaman.

My father found me that way one evening. "Oh, The Doors! I was a big fan of them when I was your age!"

"Mmm... they're pretty good," was all I could say in return, terrified of unpacking my heart.

Amazing that it would take a roadhouse meal to make me realize that I never needed to.

"Ashen lady, Ashen lady
Give up your vows, give up your vows
Save our city, save our city
Right now"

"I had Orion ask my Spirit Guide whether I would retire by the end of the year. He said 'No, but you'll change the way you work.'

The conversation from Penticton had, naturally, focused on our experiences at the workshop.

"I've been looking at scaling it back for a while now. I'll probably work through the end of the year, before I begin phasing it back over the next 12 months."

He paused.

"I think the doctors appointment on Thursday will probably be it. They said the fact that its back means that they can only slow it down, not stop it... there's no way I'm going to spend the rest of my life working."

I barely responded, digesting his words. Though I knew he had been battling prostate cancer for the past several years I wondered how difficult it had been for my father to tell me that his number was coming up.

It is impossible, still, for me to find the words of gratitude for all that he has done for me, let alone for the opportunity to make amends for my failings as a son.

Back in the car after dinner, my father asked me if there was any moment in my life that stood out as a turning point. I answered... but not with the truth.

How could I tell him that we had just lived it together, eating quietly, listening to a song that was not there?

Not with a thousand lives could I find a more perfect moment to remember- the two of us frozen in time as a song wafts across the ages...

"The future's uncertain, and the end is always near"


  1. Love it. Warmed my otter being.
    Big Love to both of you,

  2. thanks so much for sharing this

  3. BeautifuLL.
    My father & i bonded thru the Doors:)
    He also spent time in Haight ashbury before continuing onto Columbia in the late sixties...I used to love those stories...miss them/him:)
    Its fantastic you get to have this time with your father and can bond and journey together in the physical as well as in the spiritual...
    So this morning i listened to the Doors all the way to work:)i realized it was first sparked my interest in shamanism all those years ago too!
    i had a shrine for Jim in my room when i was 15 ..haha:) used to dance in trance to "the End" & My wild Love...and those Shaman Blues

    Thank you for sharing!
    blesssings and LoVE to you Foxx & your dad the great Elk,
    so wonderfull to meet you both