Coming Back to Earth for the Healing of Humanity
In every person’s life there comes a time when they find themselves lost in a sea of doubt.
You know what; you have heard those words before I am sure. There is no point in stating the obvious. I vowed to myself that if I was to take on a project such as this I would pour as much of my heart and soul into it as I could without bleeding myself dry. Using outdated and overused sayings and ideals to get my message through would be an insult to you and the purpose of this work so I will not waste your time. You need to see me, hear me and feel the real me if my words are going to set your spirit free.
So this is me telling you that in my world there is no room for dwelling on mistakes and misfortunes, there is no time to whine and pout about our sorrows. If that seems harsh, then so be it; harsh is what it must be if that is what it takes to inspire you to action.
Every person reading this has known what it is to lose faith; each and every one of you has tasted the bitterness of defeat, looked into the eyes of loss. Even if it was only the smallest of things that you have been forced to give up you know from personal experience how much it hurts to have something you cherish taken away.
The magical wonderful thing about this is that you are still here. You did not quit, you did not give up, you did not walk away from or hide from the challenges that life presents. You lived... You will continue to do so, growing stronger each day in the knowledge that by the power of your will, by the discovery of your own inner strength and courage you will be here to fight another day.
There are those out there who claim that merely writing the words is not enough; that the stories we share do not have a large enough impact on our world. I admit this idea had me folding in on myself. For one such as me whose passion it is to learn and share through her writing the things she has seen, the thought of my contribution not being enough came close to destroying the very core of who I am. Yet when I took the time to reflect on it, I realized just how powerful words can be.
They say the pen is mightier than the sword so I say ‘Out pen!! – Parry parry – thrust – lunge – Out pen!! For Victory!!
But what does that mean? It means that there is never a time when it is OK to say ‘I give up’, it means there is never a time when it is OK to say ‘I give in’, it means there is never a time when it is OK to say ‘I can’t’
You can, you will, you are...
This book has been created in honour of all those who fought their own personal battle and won; in remembrance of those who fought bravely and lost; as it is with all of our historic hero’s it is the courage they showed through their struggles that is the everlasting gift they left behind.
The idea is to bring those stories to life and put them into one inspiring and uplifting piece of work that will prove to the world that survival and Victory is a CHOICE to be made by each individual who comes up against their dark.
It is with a glad heart that I offer one dollar from the sale of each hard copy of this novel to the children of SOTH to help assist them in the continuation of living out their dreams through hard work, dedication and their unbelievable ability to never ever say never...
My angels you truly are one of God’s greatest gifts to the world...
Note from the Author
Yes I did publish this in my real name and yes times they have changed. I will not take up much of yours since I imagine you would like to get into the act of reading about those who have willingly opened up their hearts to help heal yours but I will leave you with a quick message.
When I originally began this book I was still recovering from the very strange experience of writing Going Home to Heaven, a surreal little adventure into the deepest recesses of the mind to dig out some new and old truths that I thought at the time needed to be shared. Half way through however I was reminded that the real world work, the work that still needed doing here on earth would not simply get done by itself so I was kicked out and landed back both feet firmly planted on good old terra firma.
Nearing the end of my second novel I had mentioned a little side trip to do a novel based on the opinions and desires of our youth, and it is a novel I still fully intend to write however it seems our side trip is again being diverted and the path ever twisting and unpredictable is yet again taking me in a direction I had not planned to go, yet it is I believe a direction that may just benefit us all.
Now I admit, Going Home to heaven was rather twisted, and for some a little bit more up in your face than they would have liked but at the time it was needed, not just for you the reader but for me as well. Since the writing of it I have gone back to diving into some work that involves a group of young artist overseas and did for a time take some time off to explore some other avenues. I have learnt a few things, had my heart broken a couple more times and been disappointed by the actions of others more than once since beginning this novel yet to honour the spirit in which the idea for this novel was birthed I will not give up on the idea of it nor will I stop in the creation of it.
It will however be a tad different than what you are used to. There will be no double or triple meanings in this novel, no metaphors, no buried messages and all the thoughts and feelings held within will be coming from a very human place. Although arguably this novel given the title for it could in fact be the sequel for Going Home to Heaven it is a standalone piece of work and in retrospect it is not so much a sequel it is more in opposition to. In this wonderful world we live life is often about balance, where there is light so too must there be dark – this novel is the other half of Going Home to Heaven – it is the yin to the yang – the male to the female – that which brings back balance into our lives.
I chose to do this because I saw the vast potential of human experience when shared with others and realized that it is not in hiding our imperfections but in revealing them that we may truly utilize the gifts we are blessed with and get on with the enormous task of healing our injured world. By using the lessons learned from our mistakes to bring comfort and reassurance to others that they are not alone we are able to overcome our own time seemingly lost in darkness and acknowledge the fact that no time that we have lived has been wasted, that all life regardless of how it is lived has value. This fact driven home to me often in the last few months is vital to our advancement as a human family and it helps to unify us in times of trial.
We are not one of us perfect in our actions and our deeds yet we are each and every one of us divine perfection in the hearts, eyes and minds of the spirits that created and shelter us it is merely up to us to accept that perfection and that connection as forever being ours to have and to hold till long after death do us part. As you read through the following pages you will see that you are not and never have been alone in your pain, your sorrow or your sense of loss. If one truly takes the time to transverse the histories it can be discovered that even those who have come before have had their own trials. Mother Theresa, Ghandi, Dahli Lama and yes even Jesus all admitted to having doubts, to giving into fear and to questioning their direction and their purpose. What made them so unique was that they kept walking forward, and even with tears streaming down their faces, not able to see the road ahead knew that it was a road that must be walked. Then again once you read these pages you will see perhaps they are not so different than you, than me, than us. They suffered and overcame as you in time will as well; because as much as this book has been written to balance out that other crazy tale the message is and always will be the same. From the base teachings of every single belief, from Native American teachings, to ancient Egyptian, to Buddha to Christianity the one thing they all agree on is if you truly wish to rise above our personal darkness all you need do is know in your heart that the light is there and allow your heart, the whispers of it that will always be there to guide you to help you find your way back to a place where peace and love reign supreme.
Yes, I did go home to heaven, but I came back to Earth so that together we could heal humanity through the act of bonding and sharing. As it is through compassion and acceptance that as one global family we will bring heaven here to earth just as it was promised so very long ago.
For Those of You Asking WHY?
Life is about two things, choice and perception; you choose how you perceive your world, when you make the choice to change your perceptions of it your world in turn changes.
Choice, in the beginning throughout the journey and even at the end of the road, life is all about choice. Ask any survivor what the key to their success was and they will tell you they made the conscious decision to fight and to win.
I would know, I’ve been there, more than once in my short yet fully lived 34 years. It seemed at one point that no matter what I did pain and loss were going to have to be accepted by me as being part of my life. Until that is I chose to change my perception of the challenges I was facing. The day I decided to view all my misfortune as a window of opportunity is the day I was given the most precious of gifts. I was given back my life...
Literally reborn in one swift flash of understanding. The knowledge that my troubled self would and could only be changed by me should have and could have come as a harsh slap in the face. Instead I chose to say thank-you for the insight and set about changing myself and inevitably my future. This however is not the time to talk about me; this book is about you and about the people in it. It’s interesting though that as I am writing this I am in attendance of a Grade 8 graduation waiting for the ceremony to start. On the cover of the program, is a list of words we should all consider the meaning of.
Right at the top...
As simple as it seems to some this idea of never giving up the actual act of continuing to walk forward with no idea of where you feet are going to land next is quite tricky. Let’s be completely ‘honest’ (another of the words listed but we will get back to that) when you are so far lost in despair that body is ready to give up the next two questions might not easily be answered. Where do you turn? Where do you get the strength to keep going?
Let me share a little bit of me. I cry, often and though I would love for all of you to see me as a constant source of light, it simply isn’t so. I am human and I have incredibly painful moments of weakness. I war with myself constantly, even going so far as to scream at that little voice inside my head that is always telling me to have faith. Picture it just for a moment; me sitting by my balcony door, on the floor, knees up to my chin with tears streaming down my face. Inside my thoughts tumble loudly like shoes in a dryer, thump, thump, thump...
Where is the love?
Where is the hope?
Where is the help I was promised?
Thump, thump, thump...
Yes, I’m alone at these moments; I try very hard to hide this pathetic show of self destruction from others. I work very hard at never letting them see me down. I do not always succeed and somehow, someway a strange thing always happens. Without me having to reach out, without me attempting to find support, a miracle message manages to arrive just in time to save my soul.
So there I sit, and the little voice is telling me to have faith and I am mentally screaming at that little voice to go to hell when my phone begins to vibrate; it’s a random message from a friend “hi – I love you – have faith “Not so strange these things in my world, little miracles that they are, they happen every day. Of course that is only one example, I can’t count the emails, text messages, random encounters and other odd happenings that have served to dry my tears over the years. I only know beyond a shadow of a doubt, that there will always be somebody or something to lift me up and put me back on my feet. The trick it seems is to wait patiently unitl help arrives, this I am still learning to do.
That my friends takes courage and that is the next word on our list.
Does it mean never being afraid? Certainly not, fear it seems is part of life; as much as I work at never fearing I am afraid I still have one major fear left to concur. The fear of failure. Death, that I can face, pain I can deal with; not fulfilling my purpose here that I cannot and will not accept. Maybe it’s not so much that I am afraid of failing and perhaps it it’s more that I am too stubborn to admit defeat. Is that courage? I don’t think so; I think it’s just being pig headed.
What then is this thing they call courage? Courage is being told you don’t have a chance of succeeding then going ahead and doing it anyways. Courage is being told that there is no hope and them proving the teller wrong. Courage is looking into the mirror and thinking you aren’t strong enough and then going out into the world and proving yourself wrong.
Where does it come from this thing they call courage? What does it look like?
We are going to show you; in these pages you will see several acts of courage, you will explore the hearts of those who committed those acts and take a walk with them for a short time as they discovery their inner strength. Some of these acts may boggle the mind and leave the sense stunned, not for the fact that these things happen to people, maybe not even for the fact that they survived but for the fact that they are courageous enough to revisit those times dark times in the hopes of helping you through yours.
We will show you that courage is not something you need seek, that it is in fact already within you; all you need do is allow it to come out. Gently and with a loving hand we will show you how.
Why are we doing this?
Well I have another word for you...
It is called responsibility, as survivors, as victors, we hold within us a certain sense of responsibility for the welfare and wellbeing of others. The way we see it is, is we were blessed with the gifts that allowed us to heal ourselves it would be beyond selfish of us not to share. If even one of our stories touches even one heart we will have given back part of the precious bounties we ourselves have received. You see though we may not be ‘responsible’ for you as an individual we are responsible for our own actions and deeds. If sharing those with you inspires you to find your way out of your dark place then we have done what we came here to do.
We are after all trying to be fair about all this (‘fairness’ another of our list of ten). We found a way, a path of albeit sometimes slippery stones that we were able to use to cross the river of life’s challenges. Would it be fair for us to stand on the other side and wish you luck in crossing or fair for us to cross back over and walk with you so you know where to step.
We will take the ‘initiative’ and risk the treacherous crossing to come back and stand by your side. We won’t wait for you to ask, we know ourselves that it is in our darkest hour is when we are most often refuse to ask for a lamp.
We know because we are ‘empathic’ to your plight, we have been where you now are. We have wept as you now weep, trembled as you now tremble and we still are here with you today to reassure you that yes this too shall pass.
You see we are very ‘optimistic’ about your chances of success. We encourage you also to think in this way as we know that as you think, therefore, as you are. I think therefore I am is not some outdated cliché – it is in actual fact a very real truth about how our world works. Never underestimate the power of your thoughts, the power of your will. If you wish to beat this then consider your battle already won. If you want to be well, see yourself as healed, see yourself as whole, see yourself as complete. Find whatever little thing it is that brings you joy and latch onto it. It is your life raft, it is what when all else fails will keep you afloat. Hold onto that joy and let it carry you up and out of your place of loss and sorrow. Use the feeling of it to become light and being light you can no longer be trapped or contained; all you can do as light is shine.
We share these things with you because we ‘respect’ you for making it this far. As it is that if you have purchased this book we already know you have chosen to fight. We are willingly here to help you do just that.
The how of it all is easy and I did promise to get back to this. We will be ‘honest’, we will open up our hearts to you, bare our souls and reveal to you the core spirit of who we are. Please understand this may not always be pleasant so if you are looking for only pretty words you may not find them here. What you will find however is an honest representation of what it means to be a survivor, no holds barred, no sugar coating to sweeten your disposition. Here you will find truth, and that is at the end of the day the most important thing we may ever do, for both us and for you, is to share with you our truth.
This brings me to the last word.
Defined in Merriam Webster’s as being:
A firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values – incorruptible
An unimpaired condition – soundness
A quality or state of being complete of undivided – completeness
We representing the spirit that enabled and inspired our victory we and adhering to the expectations and standards of that spirit are here to do our small part to help change our world for the better.
Heart and soul poured onto paper, we are going to rip open every old wound we have and bleed out all our pain and sorrow; then we are going to work with you the reader to stitch up all our torn hearts into one collective show of strength.
Sound painful? It will be. For those of us who are revisiting our darkest hour I doubt very much it will be taken on without the knowledge that it may very well hurt like hell.
At the end of however we will be whole, the healing process will be complete and you will see with your own eyes what it means to live, breathe and be Victory.
10 words: Perseverance, honesty, empathy, integrity, fairness, initiative, responsibility, respect, courage, and optimism
10 words that are being drilled into the hearts and minds of our youth as being the tem most important character traits they could ever learn.
10 words that give me a chance to tell you that we are here because we care, we are here because we have been there, we are here because we very badly wish for you to be here with us.
So if we have to we will crawl across that last slippery rock dragging your reluctant and weakened body. When we get to the other side (when because we do not do if) when we get there all we ask is that you take what you learned, use the strength you have gained and wade back into the waters to pull the next person ashore.
If you need us, we will be sitting on the side of the river catching our breathe and resting up for our next big challenge. If we need you, by the time this is finished we are sure you will be more than strong enough and no doubt restless and eager for the task.
All right, enough prattle; let’s get on with it shall we; that not so insignificant task we call the Healing of Humanity.
The Children of SOTH
Our first story comes in the form of a collision, the inevitable crushing pain that comes when two worlds collide.
They didn’t ask for it, or maybe they did; as it stands how it came about no longer matters, what matters is what they do with what they have.
A little known secret, the one often alluded to in my first two novels is that all is not always as it seems. There is an ancient form of magic that has been confounding spectators for centuries. To take and object and make it disappear in one place, then have it reappear in another is a simple feat if and only if you can manage to tap into the knowledge that allows for the manipulation of the minds of those watching.
Sleight of hand, the oldest and simplest form of magical entertainment and oh so much more difficult than it sounds. Get their attention, and then direct it wherever you wish allowing you to freely and safely do whatever you wish in the area that they are not focussed on.
What does that have to do with survival? Well in our world, there are still those who would wish oppression and poverty to continue. As disgusting as that sounds it is all about power; the power to rule, the power to make the decisions, the power to create whatever world they wish. Make no mistake, that world is not always about you; if you fit in with the plans of those who would be in control then they will leave you alone, if you do not they will do whatever they can to shut you down.
Fortunately for many they have realized the true power resides within, that the need to control is really just a pathetic attempt to have something to feel worthy of. It is in the release of that control, in the surrendering to life that truly frees the soul. Once free, you will never be trapped again.
Our story begins when a young woman who thought she knew where she was headed found herself on the other side of the world. Of course the story that should be told within these pages is not hers, not the story that needs to be told now is the story of the children who changed her life.
It started innocently enough, a curiosity about the culture of the place she was in. A desire to know and learn about the hearts of the people she was blessed enough to find herself surrounded by. A hunger to find the spirit behind the gentle smiles she was graced with every day.
Having noticed during her wanderings that here in a place where there was obvious wealth and a richness of resources there was also a glaring obscenity that assaulted the senses. Poverty, homelessness and hungry children; starvation and never ending struggle. How could it be that in the streets of a wealthy city there sleeping in doorways could be found barely clothed innocents with no home to seek shelter in, no parent to go to for comfort or love?
There is a distinct difference between hearing about a third world country and seeing it firsthand. Were it not for the irrepressible spirit of the Filipino people the experience may have had a devastating effect. It did not.
There among the people who had so little she found a gift more precious than gold; she found hope and faith hidden among the refuse of corruption and lies. In the form of a small group of tiny warriors she found not only a purpose but the strength to fulfil it.
They play music to lift their spirits and rejoice in their salvation. One has to wonder from where such light out of the darkness comes.
You need not look any further than the driving force behind Shepherd of The Hills. For the parents of 100 orphaned children Mother Ruth and Father Nathan, losing hope is not ever an option. If you need to see the faces of those who have danced with the devil and won, you need only to look in their eyes. There is a calm reassuring serenity about them, a comforting presence that says regardless of the odds, good will in the end prevail. Their strength of purpose is passed onto their children through their work. Many a long tiring day is spent instilling in their young the value of family and faith.
They have not had it easy; having been handed down the children’s home by Nathans parents it was a testament to the remarkable bond of husband and wife that they still remain strong in their marriage. You see Ruth admits that this kind of life was not exactly what she had in mind. Their own children eat, sleep, learn and grow with the children who have been rescued from the streets. Home schooling is a must, as the cost of sending them out would be too much. There is a constant working and reworking of the programs and long hours are dedicated to ensuring that basic educational and artistic needs are met. What make SOTH so unique is the marriage of arts, education and a sting spiritual base. Being a Christian children’s home the basic fundamental principles of Christian teachings dictate their every move. Forgiveness, compassion and understanding are the core of what they teach; and always above all a strong commitment to the needs of your fellow man.
The children of SOTH stand strong together united against the world, one family in total support of each family member’s individual talents and dreams.
Sounds amazing doesn’t it?
What you need to remember as you read this is that there children were once children on the street. Scavengers from the city dumps, eking out and existence, digging through refuse for clothes and a meal. Abandoned by parents unable to care for their young, they would wander the streets devoid of hope or a home. Some were found as infants, in the trash or simply by the side of the road, some were handed over by hospitals where they had been left by the ones who were supposed to call them their own.
What you also need to remember is that these children did not ask to be born into a world where it is apparently acceptable for our young to be forced into slavery, prostitution and a life of crime. Yes, that’s right; if you have not seen it then quite frankly in my mind you are far too sheltered by your own prosperity. No they did not ask for it. They did not decide that they would come here, birthed of women too young to be mothers. They did not ask to have addicts for parents nor did they ask to have the importance of their parents addiction put before their own health, safety and security.
Do you think for one moment they wanted to spend their days in the streets begging only to hand over what they make to some ego maniac fattened on their misfortune crime boss? Do they wish for their lives to be threatened if they do not manage to convince enough people throughout the day to give them coin. Do they want to be beaten and maimed so that they look just helpless enough to elicit feelings of sympathy from a passing stranger? It that the life they chose?
Is it the life you would choose at the tender age of 10 or 8 or even 6 yrs? Is it the life you would choose for your own children? Then why is it ok for them?
Some say it is NOT ok; people like Nathan and Ruth do not stand idly by while innocent blood is spilt on the streets of their city. No, they fight, the only way they know how. With tenderness, love and a gentle healing hand; they the shepherds guard their flock and ward off the wolves that would prey on innocent’s lambs.
They do not have to; they could have turned their backs like so many before them. Ruth shared with me once that she had dreams for her own children, dreams for herself. In incredibly talented vocally had she dedicated her life to her art there is no telling the fame and fortune she may have experienced, she found however in her work, in her role of mother a wealth that far exceeds what the world outside could provide. She found peace and sense of inner serenity that nothing can shatter.
The struggles of this family are too numerous to mention, eve those that work with the organization do not always make enough to maintain their own households. There were and are times when the money is just not there. Yet they persevere, by sticking together they take the weight of a hundred small hearts and determined they encourage each heart to find its own individual beat.
They have big dreams this little family. They believe the children in their care should grow to be strong and independent. They work on projects that would make the children’s home self sustaining so they would no longer need to rely on the generosity of others.
They promote wellness and a strong sense of self by encouraging and recognizing artistic talents. They fully expect to succeed; even though they are trapped in a world where greed and the lust for power reign supreme they believe and turn to the power of their faith. I believe in them...
Does the story end there?
No, as with all good stories it has no defined ending; only growth and expansion.
When our young woman stumbled into their world and was accepted and welcomed warmly her eyes were opened to the true beauty of the human spirit. Her heart was set free and her spirit began to soar; she vowed that someday she would find a way to thank them for the precious gift of hope that they had given.
Over a year has passed (much more no doubt by the time you read this) and she has not much yet to offer. Her work it seems took her away for a time from that world and she wonders now if they think she forgotten, No money with which to help them all the has left now is her word and a story she promised someday she would tell.
There was a project begun shortly after she left, designed to provide income for the home and to raise awareness for the children on the streets. A movie they would make to tell the tale and inspire others to join the fight against poverty and oppression, a movie that still to this day has not yet been completed. Wall upon wall they came up against and discovered that sometimes no matter how much you care it just isn’t enough. Still they kept going these intrepid film makers, over a year of carting a camera around, never knowing if or when the footage they so cherished would see the light of day.
Letters written, please for help made and door after door slammed in their face. Still the tape rolls documenting it all that the pen strokes each no, writing it for eternity on a wall of shame; shame for those who turn their backs, shame for those who walk away, shame for those who would say my new shoes and a night out at the bar are much more important than the life of one small child.
For every amazing person who supported the plight to bring these children’s stories to the world a hundred more looked the other way.
Cries of, ‘but they are not our children’ rang loud in our ears yet by some miracle we are still here.
Life is about choice and perception; you can choose to perceive this as a tale of defeat of you can choose to perceive it as a story of victory.
You see film finished or not, you have still heard their tale. So the story was still told, which means we succeeded, You may choose to take this as an opportunity to seek out these amazing creatures and see for yourself what it means to have faith, or like so many before you may chose to walk away.
Wither way you have shared with them their pain and their joy and will now carry that with you for the rest of your days.
In your darkest hour, when you feel at your most weak remember the children of SOTH. Remember the courage it takes for one small child to come off the streets and learn to live fee of the pain they have known since birth. Remember how only a short time spent with a small group of children changed the course of one woman’s destiny.
Let it serve as a reminder to all, that the smallest act can in fact safe a life and that courage is not about not being afraid it is about going on in spite of the fear.
Someday I know you will see their name in lights, unitl then hold their light in your hearts and allow the faith and hope they shared to guide you out of the dark.
Jean Victoria Norloch
Once upon a time a great tribe of people lived in a world far away from ours. Whether far away in space, or in time, or even outside of time, we do not know. They lived in a state of enchantment and joy that few of us today dare to believe could exist, except in those exceptional peak experiences when we glimpse the true potential of life and mind. One day the shaman of the tribe called a meeting. They gathered around him, and he spoke very solemnly. "My friends," he said, "there is a world that needs our help. It is called earth, and its fate hangs in the balance. Its humans have reached a critical point in their collective birthing, and they will be stillborn without our help. Who would like to volunteer for a mission to this time and place, and render service to humanity?" "Tell us more about his mission," they asked. "I am glad you asked, because it is no small thing. I will put you into a deep, deep trance, so complete that you will forget who you are. You will live a human life, and in the beginning you will completely forget your origins. You will forget even our language and your own true name. You will be separated from the wonder and beauty of our world, and from the love that bathes us all. You will miss it deeply, yet you will not know what it is you are missing. You will only remember the love and beauty that we know to be normal as a longing in your heart. Your memory will take the form of an intuitive knowledge, as you plunge into the painfully marred earth, that a more beautiful world is possible. "As you grow up in that world, your knowledge will be under constant assault. You will be told in a million ways that a world of destruction, violence, drudgery, anxiety, and degradation is normal. You may go through a time when you are completely alone, with no allies to affirm your knowledge of a more beautiful world. You may plunge into a depth of despair that we, in our world of light, cannot imagine. But no matter what, a spark of knowledge will never leave you. A memory of your true origin will be encoded in your DNA. That spark will lie within you, inextinguishable, until one day it is awakened. "You see, even though you will feel, for a time, utterly alone, you will not be alone. I will send you assistance, help that you will experience as miraculous, experiences that you will describe as transcendent. For a few moments or hours or days, you will reawaken to the beauty and the joy that is meant to be. You will see it on earth, for even though the planet and its people are deeply wounded, there is beauty there still, projected from past and future onto the present as a promise of what is possible and a reminder of what is real. "You will also receive help from each other. As you begin to awaken to your mission you will meet others of our tribe. You will recognize them by your common purpose, values, and intuitions, and by the similarity of the paths you have walked. As the condition of the planet earth reaches crisis proportions, your paths will cross more and more. The time of loneliness, the time of thinking you might be crazy, will be over. "You will find the people of your tribe all over the earth, and become aware of them through the long-distance communication technologies used on that planet. But the real shift, the real quickening, will happen in face-to-face gatherings in special places on earth. When many of you gather together you will launch a new stage on your journey, a journey which, I assure you, will end where it began. Then, the mission that lay unconscious within you will flower into consciousness. Your intuitive rebellion against the world presented you as normal will become an explicit quest to create a more beautiful one. "In the time of loneliness, you will always be seeking to reassure yourself that you are not crazy. You will do that by telling people all about what is wrong with the world, and you will feel a sense of betrayal when they don't listen to you. You will be hungry for stories of wrongness, atrocity, and ecological destruction, all of which confirm the validity of your intuition that a more beautiful world exists. But after you have fully received the help I will send you, and the quickening of your gatherings, you will no longer need to do that. Because, you will Know. Your energy will thereafter turn toward actively creating that more beautiful world." A tribeswoman asked the shaman, "How do you know this will work? Are you sure your shamanic powers are great enough to send us on such a journey?" The shaman replied, "I know it will work because I have done it many times before. Many have already been sent to earth, to live human lives, and to lay the groundwork for the mission you will undertake now. I've been practicing! The only difference now is that many of you will venture there at once. What is new in the time you will live in, is that the Gatherings are beginning to happen." A tribesman asked, "Is there a danger we will become lost in that world, and never wake up from the shamanic trance? Is there a danger that the despair, the cynicism, the pain of separation will be so great that it will extinguish the spark of hope, the spark of our true selves and origin, and that we will separated from our beloved ones forever?" The shaman replied, "That is impossible. The more deeply you get lost, the more powerful the help I will send you. You might experience it at the time as a collapse of your personal world, the loss of everything important to you. Later you will recognize the gift within it. We will never abandon you." Another man asked, "Is it possible that our mission will fail, and that this planet, earth, will perish?" The shaman replied, "I will answer your question with a paradox. It is impossible that your mission will fail. Yet, its success hangs on your own actions. The fate of the world is in your hands. The key to this paradox lies within you, in the feeling you carry that each of your actions, even your personal, secret struggles within, has cosmic significance. You will know then, as you do now, that everything you do matters. God sees everything." There were no more questions. The volunteers gathered in a circle, and the shaman went to each one. The last thing each was aware of was the shaman blowing smoke in his face. They entered a deep trance and dreamed themselves into the world where we find ourselves today. **** Who are these missionaries from the more beautiful world? You and I are surely among them. Where else could this longing come from, for this magical place to be found nowhere on earth, this beautiful time outside of time? It comes from our intuitive knowledge of our origin and destination. The longing, indomitable, will never settle for a world that is less. Against all reason, we look upon the horrors of our age, mounting over the millennia, and we say NO, it does not have to be this way! We know it, because we have been there. We carry in our souls the knowledge that a more beautiful world is possible. Reason says it is impossible; reason says that even to slow -- much less reverse -- the degradation of the planet is an impossible task: politically unfeasible, opposed by the Money Power and its oligarchies. It is true that those powers will fight to uphold the world we have known. Their allies lurk within even ourselves: despair, cynicism, and resignation to carving out a life that is "good enough" for me and mine. But we of the tribe know better. In the darkest despair a spark of hope lies inextinguishable within us, ready to be fanned into flames at the slightest turn of good news. However compelling the cynicism, a jejune idealism lives within us, always ready to believe, always ready to look upon new possibilities with fresh eyes, surviving despite infinite disappointments. And however resigned we may have felt, our aggrandizement of me and mine is half-hearted, for part of our energy is looking elsewhere, outward toward our true mission. I would like to advise caution against dividing the world into two types of people, those who are of the tribe and those who are not. How often have you felt like an alien in a world of people who don't get it and don't care? The irony is that nearly everyone feels that way, deep down. When we are young the feeling of mission and the sense of magnificent origins and a magnificent destination is strong. Any career or way of life lived in betrayal of that knowing is painful, and can only be maintained through an inner struggle that shuts down a part of our being. For a time, we can keep ourselves functioning through various kinds of addictions or trivial pleasures to consume the life force and dull the pain. In earlier times, we might have kept the sense of mission and destiny buried for a lifetime, and called that condition maturity. Times are changing now though, as millions of people are awakening to their mission all at the same time. The condition of the planet is waking us up. Another way to put it, is that we are becoming young again. When you feel that sense of alienation, when you look upon that sea of faces mired so inextricably in the old world and fighting to maintain it, think back to a time when you too were, to all outside appearances, a full and willing participant in that world as well. The same spark of revolution you carried then, the same secret refusal, dwells in all people. How was it that you finally stopped fighting it? How was it that you came to realize that you were right all along, that the world offered to us is wrong, and that no life is worth living that does not in some way strive to create a better one? How was it that it became intolerable to devote your life energy toward the perpetuation of the old world? Most likely, it happened when the old world fell apart around your ears. As the multiple crises of money, health, energy, ecology, and more converge upon us, the world is going to collapse for millions more. We must stand ready to welcome them into the tribe. We must stand ready to welcome them back home. The time of loneliness, of walking the path alone, of thinking maybe the world is right and I am wrong for refusing to participate fully in it... that time is over. For years we walked around talking about how wrong everything is: the political system, the educational system, religious institutions, the military-industrial complex, the banking industry, the medical system -- really, any system you study deeply enough. We needed to talk about it because we needed to assure ourselves that we were not, in fact, crazy. We needed as well to talk about alternatives, the way things should be. "We" should eliminate CFCs. "They" should stop cutting down the rain forests. "The government" should declare no fishing zones. This talk, too, was necessary, for it validated our vision of the world that could be: a peaceful and exuberant humanity living in co-creative partnership with a wild garden earth. The time, though, for talking merely to assure ourselves that we are right is coming to an end. People everywhere are tired of it, tired of attending yet another lecture, organizing yet another discussion group online. We want more. A few weeks ago as I was preparing for a speaking trip to Oregon, the organizers told me, "These people don't need to be told what the problems are. They don't even need to be told what the solutions are. They already know that, and many of them are already in action. What they want is to take their activism to the next level." To do that, to fully step into one's mission here on earth, one must experience an inner shift that cannot be merely willed upon oneself. It does not normally happen through the gathering or receiving of information, but through various kinds of experiences that reach deep into our unconscious minds. Whenever I am blessed with such an experience, I get the sense that some benevolent yet pitiless power -- the shaman in the story -- has reached across the void to quicken me, to reorganize my DNA, to rewire my nervous system. I come away changed. One way it happens is through the "gathering of the tribe" I described in this story. I think many people who attended the recent Reality Sandwich retreat in Utah experienced something like this. Such gatherings are happening now all over the world. You go back, perhaps, to "real life" afterwards, but it no longer seems so real. Your perceptions and priorities change. New possibilities emerge. Instead of feeling stuck in your routines, life changes around you at a vertiginous pace. The unthinkable becomes commonsense and the impossible becomes easy. It may not happen right away, but once the internal shift has occurred, it is inevitable. Here I am, a speaker and a writer, going on about how the time for mere talk has ended. Yet not all words are mere talk. A spirit can ride the vehicle of words, a spirit that is larger than, yet not separate from, their meaning. Sometimes I find that when I bow into service, that spirit inhabits the space in which I speak and affects all present. A sacredness infuses our conversations and the non-verbal experiences that are becoming part of my events. In the absence of that sacredness, I feel like a smart-ass, up there entertaining people and telling them information they could just as easily read online. Last Friday night I spoke on a panel in New York, one of three smart-asses, and I think many in the audience left disappointed (though maybe not as disappointed as I was in myself). We are looking for something more, and it is finding us. The revolutionary spark of our true mission has been fanned into flames before, only to return again to an ember. You may remember an acid trip in 1975, a Grateful Dead concert in 1982, a kundalini awakening in 1999 -- an event that, in the midst of it, you knew was real, a privileged glimpse into a future that can actually manifest. Then later, as its reality faded into memory and the inertial routines of life consumed you, you perhaps dismissed it and all such experiences as an excursion from life, a mere "trip." But something in you knows it was real, realer than the routines of normalcy. Today, such experiences are accelerating in frequency even as "normal" falls apart. We are at the beginning of a new phase. Our gatherings are not a substitute for action; they are an initiation into a state of being from which the necessary kinds of actions arise. Soon you will say, with wonder and serenity, "I know what to do, and I trust myself to do it."