Night was falling on Tokyo as I walked away from the hotel where I had had a room booked for the night. My heart was heavy from the difficulties and unanticipated turn of events over the last few days. The rain from the day had turned to wet snow. I was wearing shorts and water soaked rope sandals; my toes were going numb. I had no way to pay for the room I so desperately needed – none of the ATMs I found would accept my card so I was headed back to the airport for a third night of ‘sleep’ in the departure lobby. With no money, no way to communicate, very little sleep or food, and my Bali dream dissolved, I could no longer hold back the emotional weight that had been piling on. I collapsed on the sidewalk in exhaustion, feeling cold, alone, and broken as the tears became too much to hold off anymore.
It is probably a valuable experience in one’s life to find one’s self in a foreign country unexpectedly, without money, with no flight home, and unable to speak more than one word to the locals. What a gift to know one’s self on such a level. An opportunity to release control, trust in the unfolding, and learn what one is capable of under such circumstances. A continual barrage of lessons being thrown into the mix as each wall is jumped, only to find another larger one ahead.
This is where I find myself today – lost in translation on my way to Bali, halted halfway in Tokyo. The last three days have tested my perseverance, patience, and ability to flow beyond what I have experienced thus far. Taking the perspective of life as a gift seems to amp up the intensity of the what life presents as gifts of experience. While I know this is how I feel from a larger perspective, there are certain points along the way where my resolve is broken. This is where I am right now.
I had been following a dream to fly to Bali to participate in a week long immersion with one of my mentors, Charles Eisenstein, and then to dive deeper into my passion of writing for a month or so. Leaving from Los Angeles went smoothly – it wasn’t until I landed in Tokyo, my stop over before Bali, that the kink was thrown into my plan. Indonesia requires at least 6 months remaining on a passport before they will allow entry – mine only had 5 left. I had only found this out a couple days before I left and had hoped the month I was short did not matter.
What ensued the following two days in Tokyo was a whirlwind of transiting back-and-forth between embassies, airports, cafes, travel agents, and long telephone calls. The story followed a basic pattern. A wall would be reached that appeared to block my journey. I would find a way to climb over, usually the only way that remained after I persisted with questioning. When I reached the other side I would find another wall with the same characteristic of being a dead end, however i would eventually find a way over. Each time I hit a wall, I found it harder to hold myself together as my resolve waned. Exhausted from the travel, jet lag, walking, varying stories, shitty sleeps in the airport, challenges of communication, and lack of food, I eventually collapsed in resignation when the only potential solution was going to cost me another $700 to get to Bali and I would miss half of the retreat I was mainly going to Bali for. And even that was still a slight chance.
Throughout this whole experience I found myself questioning the path I had intended. Thoughts of hindsight arose along the way – should have’s and could have’s – none of which really served me in the present moment. I instead chose to focus on the thoughts/feelings/intuitions that had indicated to me this was not the direction I was meant to go. This is the learning I sought from my traveling – the ability to sense into the flow of synchronicity and allow life to unfold, rather than force it. I sensed early on that my heart was not in this journey, however part of me persisted with the desire to see it to the end where all options had been exhausted. That is how I would know when enough is enough and it is time to change direction.
It appears to me that I have exhausted my allowance for egoic pursuits. These are the dreams that have more of a sense of being “self created” rather than being received. Part of me knew this was the characteristic of the Bali trip – it was a dream that I had not received the vision of – I could not see it clearly and I did not listen when my heart had changed its tune. The difference to me in experience between these two paths is the flow of synchronicity. This journey has given me the exact opposite of flow and has felt like a struggle/battle the whole way. Contrasted with the previous ease I have navigated, it became clear to me how each type of path felt. When I sense into the dreams I have received and that I feel excited about, there is a distinct variation in my experience of their potentials, as well as my optimism for their eventual manifestation.
It is easy to look at this experience as a huge mistake and failure on my part – believe me, I have gone into that shadow. Sometimes that is all that one can see while immersed in an apparent nightmare. This process of writing has brought light into the situation and reminded me that it is still a dream. A dream will often don a nightmarish mask in order to remind us of what the heart-path feels like so we can learn to stay on track. What a beautiful lesson.
Indulgence in the illusory nightmarish circumstances requires effort on my part. That is not to say that I am not affected by dark turns in events, it just means that I am able to be in the thoughts/feelings that arise so that I can observe and release with love. Sometimes it is impossible to force oneself to navigate with only positivity. When I enter the challenging space, I emerge with gratitude for that which I have been blessed with. In this instance, it is for the incredible generosity, support, and love that I have been shown by friends back home. I really do not know what I would do without them. It is their light that gets me through the nightmare and returns me to the dream. For that, I am indebted with gratitude.
Sometimes we need to experience extreme bumps to remind ourselves of what it feels like to be on the smooth path of the heart.