A Meeting with Papa Bois…

It’s not often one gets to meet and learn from folks who genuinely walk their talk. I spent the weekend with a man who has dubbed himself The Monster…because folks are blown away by his passion, drive, determination and bullhead-edness. He is one of those empathic souls that reflects what’s going on with the individual spending time with him. So some see a Guardian/ Protector…while others see…well…The Monster… I call him Papa Bois.

papa_bois

Papa Bois or Maître Bois translates from French patois literally as “father wood” and more accurately means “father of the forest”. He is a popular legendary character of the Caribbean, specifically St.Lucia, Trinidad, Tobago, and Grenada. He is known as the protector of the forest, and the plants and animals therein.

He is often described as a strong old man of African descent with cloven hooves and beard of leaves. His strength and fitness is that of a much younger man. He is covered with the hair of a goat and he has small horns sprouting from his forehead. He is known to have the ability to transform himself into a deer. He lures hunters deep into the forest losing them and in order to protect the animals of the forest. He also carries a hollowed trumpet to warn animals of the hunters approach. Travelers of the forest are always afraid of him because of his ability to transform and disappear.
“T. C.”/The Monster/Papa Bois is an extraordinary man. His wife is even more impressive because she has to put up with him…and enjoys every minute of it.
I sought out T, after reading his book about living off grid. Theirs is a story of zero waste, total recycling and frankly…basic common sense! But as much as their lifestyle served as a glimpse into the creation of my dwelling…this is not the reason I sought T out.

T had a spiritual calling. T has had well over 4000 visitors to his home…BEFORE he wrote the book. He did no advertising…folks heard about him via good old fashioned word of mouth. I sought him out because I wanted to know more about his calling. I wanted to know more about his spiritual journey. I wanted to see how he operated his private dwelling space, while accommodating visitors from every background, religious belief and country you can think of. I went to Pennsylvania expecting to meet a fun loving hippie who is ultra passionate about recycling. The man I met was that…and unexpectedly so much more!

T had been exposed and trained under some amazing Swamis. He studied the Eastern religions, philosophy and psychology. He has had some truly mind bending experiences. He was never raised Catholic, but had exposure as a child to Christian theologies (which he did not agree with the dogma at that tender age of 4). He had a spiritual calling from The Virgin Mary and has dedicated his life to her ever since. T does not believe in religion…as Man would describe it. He believes in Truth. He believes in Love. He lives his life with all of his being. He makes no excuses for who he is. And will call you out on your bullshit…if you have any.

T and I spent two and a half days discussing spirituality. On our first night, we talked about whether free will exists or not. Concluding that Will is only free when we accept that we have preordained destinies to fulfill. We talked about what’s occurring in the world today…the global shift in consciousness. Talked about how we’ve all had this experience before… lifetimes before. How it is all One Experience. How the mind and ego plays on dualities and division. How the only constant is our unity in our differences. How the only truth is I AM. How the only thing that matters is the present, the now. How life’s pendulum is almost at its tipping point of swinging back.
The next morning, we went to deliver a dump truck load full of wood chips to a neighbor. T explained how the folks in the mountains lived…In that, if someone needed something, someone in the neighborhood would provide either the item itself or a contact on how to obtain it. The community itself operates on trade and goodwill. T was delivering a Truck Load over filled with goodwill. On our way over there, he stopped the truck in the middle of the road (there was no traffic behind us), hopped out in his slippered feet, sprinted back towards a snake that was lying in the road. His parting words (more to himself than to me) were “He’s going to get crushed”. I watched as T moved the rat snake out of dangers way and on to the side of the road. He hopped back in with a contented sigh and not missing a beat continued to complain about the carburetor in the truck.

I helped him that day doing random chores around the house. He moves a mile a minute, constantly tweaking and fixing things…making mental notes on things that needs his attention…yet finding time to stop and talk to the chickens or the cats or the dogs. He was supposed to have visitors that day and so he was trying to get as much done before they were scheduled to arrive. A drawback of having an open door policy. Many folks assume that because T doesn’t have a “job” and lives at home…that he has time to drop everything he is doing to meet visitors. Don’t get me wrong…like any other empath, T will make the time for any and everyone…and you will have his full attention and more. But like any other empath, giving of one’s energy and making time for others is draining emotionally and energetically. Over the years, I’ve learned the hard way what my limit is in this empathic energy exchange. I know that I need time afterwards to rest and rebuild my own energy before fully functioning with others again. And while it doesn’t always work that way…I am aware of it. T and his wife are also aware of it. She has gently warned him of how tired he gets. He wears amber to help protect him…but when you’re at his level…there’s very little anything can do for him. I tried to talk to him about establishing mental boundaries and about acting as a conduit versus holding on to these energy exchanges.  But he brushes it off and says he loves to complain.

(A side note…Those of you who are empaths know what I am referring to when I talk about this energy exchange. It’s why most of us prefer solitude over crowds. For those of you who are raising an eyebrow…have you ever started out your day feeling great. Met someone over the course of the day who just leaves you feel exhausted or drained…or on the opposite side, leaves you feeling on top of the world and joyful? That’s an energy exchange. Empaths are more susceptible to these exchanges…with every single person, animal and in some cases plants that they meet. )

During the evening, I had an opportunity to try out the wood burning stove…as T fondly refers to it as The Beast. The Beast is multi-functional. It provides most of the household heating and serves as the main cooking appliance.  I made Curried Carrots & Zucchini, Kale, Curried Potatoes and Quinoa. Using vegetables that we picked and dug up from their garden that morning. I was preparing a Thank You Feast for them. There was a slight learning curve of cooking on The Beast. I also got to use a few of the hand hammered woks from India to cook in. Talk about being in a cooking heaven!

Cooking on The Beast

The next morning, promised to be a meeting during what I believe is for many empaths release…cartoons! The mindless relaxation of watching cartoons/animation…and even violent movies…is a no brainer escape for empaths. We don’t have to think, we don’t have to take on anyone’s energy, we can “shut down” for a few moments. So T and I watched The Justice League. He was nervous that he wouldn’t get the signal as it also promised to be a cloudy day…but we were in luck that morning and we settled in with a cup of coffee for him and tea for me.

During the commercial breaks, we continued our discussions on theology and spirituality. I’ll share an abbreviated story from T regarding religion, Man and Source…I don’t want to reveal too much, as I’m not sure what’s going to be material in his second book or not.

many paths to one goal

Imagine a Native American Indian constructing a teepee by a lake. He first places two poles to cross each other at one point, then adds a third between them on the opposite side. This is moved up in such a way to create a tripod. They are representative of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit…The Holy Spirit being the third pole. He then adds two more poles to create five…these are now representative of the five major religions. He then adds several more poles for added support and structure…these are the subsidiaries of each of the five major religions. The teepee is representative of the many paths we choose in life. At the base, it seems like we’re all far apart, individuals, strong in our own rights. But as you move up the teepee, they all meet at one point. This is Source.  We all need each other for support. We are on different paths all heading for the same goal.

Teepee

The teepee is constructed at the edge of a lake, reflecting a perfect mirror image in the water. This image is representative of the illusions created by Man and Religion and Source. It’s also representative of the negative hollow side of Life’s Paths.  The top of the teepee, where the poles/paths meet …then break off again to form another path and then into open space or nothingness.

Teepee reflection

This “Nothingness” became the center of our conversations for the rest of the morning.

What continued to amaze me during our conversations, was T’s ever changing facial features. He has jokingly referred to himself as The Man With No Face. And he is right. His face is constantly changing shape and features, reflective of not only his thoughts and feelings…but of those he interacts with as well. It is very much in keeping with his empathic levels of being a mirror to those around around him. You can’t pin down his features if you had to describe him.

T advised that our external environment is reflection of our internal one…so my search for a location to create a spiritual retreat may very well be located inside of me.

Rumi

I took my leave from T’s dwelling with a heavy heart. It felt like I was leaving home. I had found a soul mate, a long lost relative, a friend and a teacher in T. He lent me some books to help guide my journey. “Explorations into the Eternal” by Ramesh Balsekar, ” A Duet of One” also by Ramesh Balsekar and “Nityananda” by M.U. Hatengdi

I had signed T’s Guest Book… ” I Have Nothing”.  He emailed me later with these words “By deductive logic one can reason; If you” have nothing”, you have me…because I am nothing.”

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