“A stranger in a strange land…”
I’m taking this trip because I was compelled and propelled too. I long ignored it and I can see in retrospect that it took taking away many elements of my life that I loved in order for me to get the point and go (which I had a choice to do otherwise and I’ll expand later).
Let me start first by saying I believe in dreams. I also believe in love. Couple that and it’s safe to say I think the world could be a bit cooler if people followed their passion and lived a life that they loved. Just a thought considering that fear based action has been quite limiting in my opinion.
So yeah, lost job, lost the love of my life, lost the patriarch of one side of my family. Add that I lost the home that I lived in and loved for the past year and left my tribe of warriors and I really am like a stranger in a strange land.
Well, strange can’t be that bad right? There’s a compilation of short stories called the “Kindness of Strangers” that I once skimmed and it’s all about the help one can find along the way of travels from strangers.
When I began this trip, I had to give myself 3d goals to motivate myself. “I have to train as much as I can.” “I have to blah blah blah.” It evolved to following my passion because I love training, not only Jiu-Jitsu but yoga, tai chi, running, loved Muay Thai. I love the place it puts me. This place of peace, a peace which allowed me to feel gratitude earlier this year.
Well, planning may work for some people but it’s kicked me in the balls before and it’s surely not working so far in this trip. But wandering has. And so has following the signs.
My first day here I wandered into a trinket shop called The Raven’s Nest. I read the speech of Chief Seattle and man if that didn’t speak to me. It hit me that I was here because this is what my soul was trying to tell me. I love Hawaii, I do appreciate it, but being there was clouding my ability to go within and listen because of the familiarity of it.
I spoke briefly with the owner, Candid, a Chinese woman from the PI, and she immediately knew that I was Chinese. WT.. efe, I rarely get that in Hawaii and it was often a point of contention growing up. My white skin made me feel like I didn’t belong.
I know poor white man. Well, there’s only so much Fuck you Haole a child can take and understand before starting to loathe their skin, literally and figuratively.
I wandered further into Momo and Zen, a Chinese Herb and Metaphysical store because a big reason I believe in dreams is my favorite author, Paulo Coehlo, the author of The Alchemist. The book is all about following one’s dreams.
The main character, Santiago, literally has a dream of the pyramids and he goes on a quest. At the start of the dream, he sees a gypsy, who helps to read his dream. So me, I think, I plan, I try to control the delivery of the message by going to see a tarot reader. The tarot reader’s name was Raven, which aha sign, right because I just exited the Raven’s Nest. Somehow, I didn’t make it back. It was as though my mind shut off.
Anyhow, The Alchemist is also about manifestation. Here is the kicker though. You have to read The Pilgrimage in order to get how it all fits together. That guy, huh? Might as well make some scrips off of two books. Nah nah, joke. I began reading The Pilgrimage because I was inspired to do so and following the Road to Santiago de Compostella, a journey millions have taken over the centuries, is the spiritual quest that empowered Coehlo.
In it, he describes the events of his journey on The Road to Santiago. So I’m reading it, I get to see how he experienced certain elements that can help me.
Let me step back and say that I’ve always planned. Also, I have always tried to control what would happen. I think rather than listen to my heart. It’s the natural function of the conscious mind really. It means well but is dealing with some collective unconscious baggage as well as some personal hand carries if you will.
Well, I’m here and learning to let go. To trust and to follow. And you know, the things that I set out to plan have kind of crapped out. So the only guides right now are the signs that just happen.
This is all day one. Day two I awake to hear this damn bird. Can’t tell what it is. I set off to wander, something inside telling me when and where to turn. Really weird too because I have no idea where I’m going. I walk into this courtyard filled with trees that have chimes in them. If it were a movie, it’d be some eerie, cool music. For real!
And I see a totem of the Sun and Raven. Then I hear the cawing again and see a black bird. Now I’ve since learned it was a crow but at the time for all I knew it was a raven. I started to get this weird tingling sensation in the crown shakra of my head. The body is the way the soul experiences the world and this was a feeling that I’ve learned means to pay attention. I keep following the sounds and it leads me to another part of the square where there’s these two homeless dudes chilling, a black man and a white man.
This is the leap of faith dear reader because it sounds crazy, but if you’ve read this far, than here goes: I look around to my left because the black man was giving me stink eye. New city, being careful, makes sense. He then says my name: “Jason.” I look back, he looks at me for a second, and then turns away. I pause and I recall The Pilgrimage and how God (and at times the Devil) act through others.
I stop and look across and see a sign for the Seattle Underground Tour. Now this was interesting because this was the one tour I wanted to do here. I thought symbolically it would be good to do to honor my dreams and show that I’m letting go and going into the unknown, the underground if you will.
Tour was bomb and it led me to the top of the Smith Tower which is a 35 story building which overlooks Seattle. While there, I started talking with this woman there, Meseret (The Foundation), because her accent tripped me out.
Being on a spiritual journey, I asked her why she had traveled so far. She told me something had guided her. I told her of my dream to really live and later an actual dream I had which showed me going from NYC, to Las Vegas, and ending in a place like Huntington Beach and that I felt I was being pushed to take this journey.
We talked some more and as though it was message, she said foreigners would be my guides. She took my number and told me stop by when I return to Seattle. Later, she called me because she stayed later so that people could see the sunset.
I did and it was a beautiful sunset in a different way. I thanked her because I had a feeling she set it up to stay open because they were going to close early. She thanked me and said she was happy that I could see what she sees.
I head back to my Hostel and I meet my Asian roommate with a Hawaiian name, Kai… from Australia. We have a bloody good chat I tell you. Quite eye opening in many ways. I found it all too coincidental that he was a foreigner and told him what Meseret had said.
He quips back: “It’s because we see the world through our own eyes and can say what we see.” And that’s when the aha’s of the day made sense. All the different viewpoints create a picture with more dynamic colors and dare I say balance the equation.
I’ll be writing more as I go but I just wanted to share this because this that seagull I saw in the sky reminded me of Jonathan Livingston Seagull. Jonathan truly believe life was meant to be lived fully and that seagulls could do more than eat, shit, sleep. He was into dive-bombing and 360s, then 720s.
But like the character in Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. Jonathan was ostracized from his community because they thought he was a bloody nutter. Well old boy goes on his journey and basically meets the Seagull God. He hits this point where he decides he has to go back because he wants to share what he has learned.
He remembers what it was like to be angry. To be afraid. He knows that he has something to share, even if it’s only for one person. And I’ll spare you the rest because it’s like 70 pages, just read it, it’s bloody awesome.
Why all the bloody banter you say? Well, because Kai checked out and a new Australian moved in. We talk and for some reason he tells me to be a writer (funny side note: Kai said to be a travel writer or to start my own religion (shut up Gavin McCall (who said I’d start a cult))) I told him I cringe when I look back at some experience I am far removed from. He says, yeah but even though you are past it, someone else may not be. And I realize why I want to share my experience.
Some will say it’s narcissistic. I’m sharing it because I want to be of service to this world. Even if it’s only to better relate to others. Why?
Well, I’m a product of my generation, and Tupac’s underground song, “Pain” once spoke to me. Spoke to me in such a way that I realized that I am never alone.
Which will probably lead to Chapter Two…