The Studio is located in the New Dallas Meditation Center, which is at:
727 Floyd Drive – Richardson, Texas 75080
This is the first Interfaith Meditation Center of North Texas, home to Zen, Vipassana, Pure Land, Thich Nhat Hanh, yoga, qi-gong, Christian meditation, and other authentic and genuine traditions of meditation and mindful living.
We are renting out space for Massage, Reiki, Body Works, acupuncture, vocal, guitar, and flute lessons…
We also have rental space available for $15 per hour, minimum of two hours.
Joseph will be teaching painting workshops every Monday through Thursday, guiding or offering inspiration to all of us to connect to the creative flow of art ourselves. We are here in this lifetime to connect the world with those who are hungry, need money, shelter, care, support, love and respect.
We are taking just one step at a time. We want to ignite and encourage you who are reading this to follow your dream.
On September 4, 2009, I was homeless.
I have been blessed to be in the Homeless Club. I have joined a club which includes celebrities who at time in their lives slept in their cars, shelters, under bridges, and train stations…
They include Dr. Phil, Joe Vitale, David Letterman, Drew Carey, Jim Carey, Danny Bonaduce, Halle Barry, Kelly Clarkson, Kelsey Grammer, Ella Fitzgerald, Jewel, Debbie Reynolds, Heather Mills, Jim Morrison, Sally Jesse Raphael, William Shatner, Martin Sheen, Sylvester Stallone, Hilary Swank, Shania Twain, Colonel Sanders, Jean-Claude Van Damme…
This is just a handful.
Again, let me say, I have been blessed. Firstly, by being so humbled…
This allows me to Love Unconditionally. Being given a place to sleep, food
and shelter… I have never before experienced this much gratitude.
At the shelter, there were two women who delivered an envelope, mysteriously, to me. In this envelope was $600 from someone anonymous.
There are people who give unconditionally of their
love, time and money! Taking nothing in life for granted.
In this shelter, I also learned that we, (myself and society), have placed thousands of people called “Homeless” into a category and treated them as “Lepers.” Because I have been a business owner and felt myself to be a pillar of the community in my former professional roles, this was especially humbling.
In 2009, Brother Chi Sing, Founder of the New Dallas Meditation Center, said to me, “Trish, let’s change the word Homeless to Pilgrims.” Years and years ago, people surely were not so calloused to the down and out, or to people without abodes.
“Homeless” is antiquated, and Pilgrim is the new basic life module.
From this point on, I have made a commitment to refer to myself and
everyone else as Pilgrims, and invite you to do the same.
Like many, I was brought up to believe that you clean out your pantries and closets and give what you don’t want to “Them”… However, would you (or I) ever invite “Them” to dinner? All I ask is that when you see someone asking for money, lets evolve our thinking toward:
Is she hungry?
I didn’t tell my family or friends I was going into a shelter because they would have tried to rescue me.
Mother Theresa, Lady Di and so many others have been sent to us to show how to give to the poor… Now, I will also include myself. I will include Joseph, because I’ve watched him give his money and his time to so many.
In January of 2008, I asked God to make me More Humble. I still had too much of an ego… even though my family and friends loved me just as I was.
In February, I volunteered at the Democratic Primaries. I worked from 6am to 10pm. I drank a cup of coffee and two diet cokes that day. The intense energies of the Obama-Clinton campaign plus the caffeine raised my blood pressure high enough to burst the blood vessels in my eyes.
This new eyesight challenge brought my earnings to nothing. With no money, I couldn’t afford the $1,025 per month apartment I was living in.
I stayed with some friends for a few days and called some shelters looking for a place to stay. They were full, but they told me that they could have space in a few days.
I called The Center for Spiritual Living, or CSL, which is a community where I attend services on Sundays, and because I do not drive, I usually use the bus to get there.
I called and spoke with Reverend Marsha asking for help… She said, “I did not know that there was a need at CSL for people in your situation, but I guess there is.” She allowed me to stay there from September 4th to the 11th.
When I arrived at the center, I went to her office. She gave me a key. I told her “I don’t know why my path has brought me to the point of going to a shelter, I will know later. I have to go there.” She told me I had a lot of faith.
My Room at CSL was the Teen Room. I could eat the food that was in the community fridge. There was a shower, a washer and dryer.
She asked me, had I applied for disability? I’d heard this question before from several loving, close friends. Before, I didn’t understand why people would even ask me this. I knew I was not disabled… but it was dawning, after two years of living with my visual challenge, that this was a disability!!!!
The disability check was for someone who was disabled…Well now that I was headed to live in a shelter, no money, asking for help, I understood…
That check was for me.
She was probably the fourth person to mention this. I gave in… and decided this would be the next thing to work on. Right then, I was working on finding a place to sleep.
On September 9th, I went to a class called Unexpected Gifts, being taught by Rev. Dr. Petra Weldes and Dr. Cynthia Rexroat, RscP.
Afterward, I went back to MY Room, (where they were letting me stay), the Teen Room. I walked in and saw a string of lights that I hadn’t noticed before.
They hung from the top of the ceiling… Blues, Greens, many different colors. Now, magically, they were here glowing in the room that had been dark…
A male voice said “Hi Tracy.”
He startled me…someone in my room… I immediately turned the main light on. I was magnetically attracted to this voice. I corrected him by telling him my name was Trisha… I went to sit on the couch, ninety degrees from where he sat. His name was Joseph. We talked for 45 minutes. I was fascinated…
He was in My Room, doing art with crayola crayons on a pad. I found out this was “His Room,” in that he was a part time teacher for the children, and he was an artist, and would use this room to come and sit and color.
After talking to him for 45 minutes he gave me $30 unconditionally from his heart… and from his unemployment check. At this moment, he touched my life and I was enveloped with his love. I was about to go into a shelter, and little did I know I would be aided by someone with his strength. I didn’t know I would need this… I’ve always been quite the independent business woman. With this new eyesight challenge, I was extremely humbled.
I am okay in asking for help.
This man, with whom I would fall in love with over the following months stayed with me for the next thirty hours. He took me to the Social Security Office, and we stopped by the shelter to see if there was any space. Then we went to the grocery store to pick up ingredients for enchiladas. We went to his apartment and he painted while we watched movies.
I was preparing myself for the Shelter.
I shared with him a secret dream I had when I was 13 years old.
In this dream there was a man standing near a tent wearing a hat. This dream gave me the most beautiful loving feeling. This man gave me all Love…which melted me. The hat and the tent were symbolic. When I told him this, he immediately said, the tent represents Courage, Wisdom and Strength.
I then realized the hat was an artist’s beret.
In 2002, I was just completing my 17th year working for a major airline. I also co-owned a small law office that later turned into a lawfirm. I was on the Board of Directors for many organizations and President of several others. These accomplishments started to sound to me like Blah Blah blah…
Did I want my tombstone to say I was head of organizations? I needed to rethink what I was putting my heart and my passion into.
My Daddy called me from El Paso to ask me, “have you seen the Squirrels?” I had huge trees in my backyard, often with squirrels running up and down… so of course I have seen the squirrels. I realized that Daddy was seeing God’s perfect beauty and life manifested in the squirrels… Oh, what an amazing symbol of love, and a wake up call to my senses! My Daddy is so Spiritual… He is so, so humble, he just remains silent when I tell him how Spiritual he is.
I could feel myself becoming ready, guided toward my eventual departure from the corporate world. I knew it would be financially challenging, yet Spiritually Rewarding. I figured it would be about 3 years. It was seven, from the end of corporate occupation to the shelter. My family and friends had been right there next to me when I chose to take this jump from “acceptable society.” They only gave me unconditional love…
I received food, work, clothes and so much Love… I knew they just thought I had lost it, just like I would have thought if I was on the outside looking in. I found that I could accept their misunderstanding of my journey, because I was building a me that I had never met. I was evaporating a Huge Ego…
God touched my eyesight and yes, it is humbling. I now see that it’s okay to ask for help. I now feel I can receive as easily as I can give.
Seven years later, in 2010, my Spiritual Journey ended, and now a new journey is awaiting, in writing this book and understanding society’s need to connect with the pilgrimage of homelessness.
This Shelter took me in after 9 days of staying at CSL. I waited in the front lobby. There were five women being checked in. We all waited patiently for about two to three hours. When I was checked in, I was given a bed to sleep in, in a room with seven other women.
Every morning we were given a 5:30am wake-up call.
We were given breakfast from 6 to 6:30am. Then we had to leave the shelter from 8am to 6:30pm. Joseph would come by and pick me up now and then. We would leave to go to his place where he would read to me, sometimes from the Bible, sometimes just other stories. And we would see movies. During this time, he was my hidden strength, which I would later discover.
The curfew at the shelter was to leave at 8am and be back by 6:30pm. I went to CSL to spend time and feel close to my spiritual family, and to use the computers. Because I had frequented it as a member, I could spend my time this way.
One day seemed no different than the rest, but it was.
It takes two buses and a train to get from the shelter where I was staying to CSL. This day, I missed the bus, but Reverend Marsha offered to give me a ride to the train. When the sun is going down, my vision is weakened. And once it is down, I can only see car headlights. I started my journey to the shelter and noticed that the lighting was getting dim. I called the shelter to tell them I was on my way and was experiencing obstacles, but no one answered the phone.
It was extremely painful being unable to see, unable to make my appointment with the place and the people I was leaning on for shelter, because of my eyesight challenge.
I walked from the Train Station to the Bus with a small cluster of other people, because by now the sun was down, and it was all black except for car headlights. When I reached the Bus Stop, I breathed a huge sigh of relief. I asked someone at the stop to find out if this was the correct bus to take. She told me it was a whole block away. Literally blind at night, I felt with my feet and followed the train rails meticulously slowly, and the passing cars with their headlights gave me light for moments at a time. Finally, I arrived at the Bus, and this bus driver also told me this was not the bus, but said “it’s over there,” and pointed.
I had to say, “if you’re pointing I can’t see where. So verbally tell me where.”
He explained it was caddy-corner to where I was standing, across two streets and traffic. Again, I took a deep breath and started walking.
A few steps away from the bus, a woman came suddenly up to me, and I think she had gotten off the bus to ask if I needed help. I was so thankful, I exclaimed, “YES!” I took her arm, because I couldn’t see anything in front of me. We crossed the street up ahead of us and then turned left and crossed another street. When we crossed the second street, it was a few feet away.
When we got there, I think she motioned to the new bus driver that I was visually challenged, because he showed unusually tender concern for a stranger and asked me what I was going to do when I got off.
I told him that I was going to call 911 because I knew I needed their assistance.
After I was dropped off, I did call the police. They came, but it took 45 minutes because they didn’t usually escort someone like me. My curfew was blown.
Two days later, right after dinner time, I was evicted from the shelter, and told I had to leave no later than the following morning.
I called Reverend Marsha, Joseph, and Susan Teague, a friend of mine from the CSL choir. Reverend Marsha said I could stay at CSL again, and to call her in the morning to be let in.
On Thursday evening, I called Joseph. He said he would be out of town until Saturday, but welcomed me then. Then I called Susan, and she asked me what time I needed to be picked up.
They all said “Yes” to me.
When I came to the shelter, I had brought with me a laptop computer that had been given to me by Paul Villeux, the President of the Dallas Chapter of the American Council of the Blind. When leaving the shelter, I asked for my laptop at the front desk, and they could not find it. It was a wonderful computer, because it has HUGE letters and a voice that talks to you. They lost my precious computer!! I felt like no one would listen to a homeless person, and that my rights were now disappearing.
I now knew why I was at the Shelter… There are so many people labeled homeless who have no rights. This concept of writing the book was practically landing in my lap. I have an obligation to open the eyes and hearts of individuals to the pilgrimage of homelessness, and to create a Pilgrim Foundation Art Gallery, as an extension of the reaching hands of society into these areas.
My book will be titled “Evicted From A Homeless Shelter.”
Joseph’s paintings and artwork will be in the book. I am communicating with
a grant writer to bring in the money to open a non-profit gallery for pilgrims, so they will be able to sell their work.
Years ago, in 2003, I began shedding the “Mexican Catholic” armor that protected me. I am extremely proud of my heritage, however when it came to religion, I was taught not to ask questions, but to focus respect on the institution rather than the truth. My friend Lynnda Wasiak introduced me me to Neale Donald Walsch’s book, “Conversations With God, Part One” in 1995. I read the first few pages and it didn’t really agree with what I had been raised to believe, and so it didn’t impress me. It didn’t make sense that we could talk directly to God, when the custom I was brought up with in the Catholic Church was to seek a priest to speak with God.
By 2005, I now had cleansed, evolved into a woman who was ready and open for anything that God would bring me to…
My mind, spirit, heart, body was open to what? My journey that began in 2003 had now learned how to Surrender…I was the Marketing Director for a Dance Company. In this dance studio there was a man who was building a room upstairs… When I met him, I noticed he had a canteen around his neck with Water and crystals in it. Prior to that, it had been blessed in the sun.
I found out he was a dancer at a studio in the Dallas/Fort Worth area two years ago.
He was going to Los Angels to become a model, however once he got to California, he was whisked away with the Neale Donald Walsh Group that was headed to Colorado for their Retreat.(Dallas Observer, 1995, Quinn Eaker) The Dallas Observer gave him the Front Cover and a 7 page story.
Quinn guided me on Consciousness, Awareness, the moment and the Universe.
He gave me words I never knew or used in my vocabulary. He spoke to me about the book, “Conversations With God.” In it, there must be something that I was missing. This time I was ready to understand what this book was saying.
When I started having the Eyesight Challenges, his mother took me to a Health Store and bought me what I needed…
Later I was to find out his mother was Barb Lundgren… Still I didn’t know who she was… she is a modern day pioneer in the field of homeschooling and unschooling, which is the education of youth by means that reside outside the everyday paradigm. She just held a three-day International Conference called Rethinking Everything here in Dallas during September, 2010. When Joseph and I went to her three-day convention, I focused on a class given by Quinn on Cobb Housing. He was inspiring us about building our own homes for $1,500, with clay, sand, hay and water… His concept was to build a self-sufficient community. There would be fresh running water, foods grown from the earth, electricity we could build. Google Cobb Housing, and you might enjoy seeing what’s beginning here.
In 2007, Isabell Rosignol, owner of a successful Dallas marketing firm, said “Think higher, Trish.” Didn’t quite know what that meant.
Later I kept hearing this..
As we discussed, I am changing the word “homeless” to “pilgrim,” based on a conversation with Brother Chi Sing who is the Founder of the new Dallas Meditation Center.
Today, we are preparing to have “The Works of Joseph Townson” presented on December 3rd, at the Center for Spiritual Living. The Studio is now operating, where Joseph is teaching weekly Painting Workshops. I am still in the midst of laying the foundation for my book, “Evicted From a Homeless Shelter”, with Joseph as the artist, and we plan to open a non-profit gallery for Pilgrims to bring their creative visions and artwork to sell, so they will have money to buy food, housing and clothing. We then will look into making a movie…
We are also have Rental Space for like minded and mindful living,
like Massage, Reiki, Body Works, acupuncture, vocal, guitar, and flute lessons…
We are here in this lifetime to do what? If it is just to give Love to anyone you spend a monent with, then this is what it is..
Or the farmer who grows his crop to feed the world, then so it is…
Or listening to a person who wants to be heard, then so it is…
What makes you feel good?
We want to connect pilgrims into society.
We are taking just one step at a time.
On October 25th, 2010 at 9am, I went to my computer to complete the Story to send to the Holistic Networker for online publication… When I opened my e-mail I had received an email from my sister. She didn’t have my new cell phone number; so far, my dad was the only one in El Paso who had my number.
The email said, “Daddy passed away at 5am.”
My Daddy, who would call me up from El Paso, and asked me, “Have you
seen the Squirrels”, would never call me by phone again.
Here was my Daddy who gave unconditional love to everyone.
My Daddy who labeled no one, was physically no longer here.
My Daddy who said only kind words about everyone…
He planted millions of seeds to grow beautiful beginnings…
My Daddy has now transitioned to be with his own mom, dad, 2 brothers,
2 sisters, and all of your close ones who have transitioned…
We are the perfect manifestations of God…
Daddy is now with those who have transitioned before him…
And he is teaching them how to play poker!
He was 85 years , born November 16, 1924…
He was in his wife’s arms of 34 years when he left.
By his hospital bed were my sister and brother in law.
Thirty four years ago, Daddy blessed my sister and I by
marrying a woman who had 9 children… Thirty four years ago
we blended into a huge family…
So I now see squirrels as precious energies… God miracles, running up and down the trees playfully…
I see the squirrels as life, love… Living the Moment, free to play, free to run, free to be…
Thank you Daddy… We will be with each other forever…..