I had a lot of fear.
Fear of letting go of well-conditioned ways.
Fear of opening up to a new path..
What if I dived in so deep, I couldn’t find my way back to the things I cherish now?
What if, immersing in a new language, I lost my ability to speak my mother tongue?
What if I went so far off the deep end, no one could relate to me anymore?
Then I’d be all alone forever.
I mean, on a very practical level, I’ve crafted much of my identity around being a “smart hippie”. Sure, I love to explore all sorts of outlandish and wild practices and ideas, but I think
Others like me because I stay grounded.
Because I like science.
Because I can wear the skeptical hat like a champ, when it serves me.
How would they love me, if all I can talk about when I get back is galactic signatures, and rainbow bodies?
I had my aura photographed the other day.
(and yeah, I’m afraid to tell you that…
Afraid you’ll think I’ve gone off the deep end.)
But turns out according to that system, I have a yellow aura right now,
and work in the realms of information.
I’m told I’m well suited for gathering knowledge from an array of sources,
And compiling it in a way that others can use.
I like that.
It gives me permission to explore widely
And a thread to come back from extremes.
I want to walk the wild roads
I want to see how deep the rabbit holes go
And sure, I’m scared.
Scared that something will change me so much I won’t be able to go back to who I was before.
But then, I have to realize that no matter what I do,
I can never go back to being the person I was yesterday.
I want to trust that a road back to balance is always present.
But I’m no dummy.
I know sometimes a road back isn’t present.
We’ve all met people who have taken one too many trips
We see stories on the news of group suicides following charismatic leaders
We’ve battled to converse with people who simply can’t bring themselves down from the clouds
Enough to speak any of our human languages.
A brother of mine said something that crystalized a kind of safety for me,
In circle today.
He spoke of the “power of choice”.
And, while I won’t right now open the “free-will” can of worms,
I suddenly saw that choice is a precious power to hold on to.
I said yes, I dived in.
In this case, choosing to immerse myself, for several uninterrupted days In the rich world of the Mayan Calendar.
Mind humming with neurons being re-wired
Face buzzing with laughter,
And the surprised eyes of “A-ha!” after “A-ha!”
And when I re-emerged, I found…
People around me are stoked I did it.
The little bits I’ve learned to share are resonating
Fires are being lit, and they want to know more..
I’m endlessly being asked for readings,
And they want to know more
And they want to know more..
To connect more.
This time, I’m the farthest thing from isolated.
My fears were just fears.
The power to discern what’s safe
Made it okay to drink from that well new understanding.
And so I reflect on how we can all have that freedom of discernment.
Ultimately, I remember the wise teachings I received 15 years ago,
Delivered to a group of college students about to engage
In deep exploration of meditation and the mind.
They’ve shifted into my own words over the years,
But they’re alive for me more than ever:
If you’re surrounded by a group of people insisting you cut off contact with your other communities,
You might be better off not to drink their Kool-Aid
If you’re being told joy and fulfillment aren’t possible while you’re on the Earthly plane,
You may not want to drink the Kool-Aid
If drinking requires you to commit the rest of your life to any single path,
You may not want to drink the Kool-Aid
If something in the core of what matters to you would be compromised by drinking,
You probably shouldn’t drink the Kool-Aid.
If anything deep in your gut says “no”,
You might not drink the Kool-Aid
However, if it won’t harm you
Or harm others
In Body, Mind or Spirit
Except for maybe fiercely challenging old beliefs…
If you retain the freedom to choose in every moment,
Or will at least regain the conscious freedom within a short time.
If you keep the support of those you love with you,
Even if they’re half the world away.
If you’re offered new information,
And it’s totally up to you what you do with it.
If you’re offered love,
And you’re encouraged to define and enforce your comfort and boundaries in every moment
If you’re offered something new,
Even when it threatens to rattle lose the old wires, just a bit.
Maybe it’s worth drinking.
It’s probably not Kool-Aid, anyway.
It’s probably Cacao.
And that’s all the rage these days.
(photo credit: Brent Gilliard)