Some stories I can remember really vividly.
There was a time when I decided to travel around the US with nothing more than a shoulder bag and the clothes I was wearing.
I remember getting off the train in a remote railway station, because I’d heard of a guy who did animal connections he spoke to the human animal, I don’t know but I think it’s a therapy of some sort. And I wanted to find out all about it.
So I’d been in touch with him and he met me at this one platform, tiny, weeny railway station in the middle of the US, I think Utah or even Colorado somewhere. And he picked me up and I went to stay at his house for a week in this remote weird place.
And I remember I was there professionally in a way because I had to pay for my session, but I could stay with him in this remote place. And this very rugged, rural guy sat me in what I can only remember now is a thing that looked and felt like a dentist chair. He reclined it, and he started giving me these strange chants. I remember I drank a “cup of tea” and started to drift into new now new Nah, never, never, never land and as I did, I started to feel the presence of animals all around me animals, and I actually became one and don’t know if it’s really appropriate for me to to reveal the animal that I became in that dangerous chair.
But it was pretty intense and the difference between reality and the experience of being that animal, I definitely cannot discern.
I don’t know if I was being a human asleep and an animal awake or an animal asleep and a human awake. I can’t remember. But I inhabited this spirit of this animal.
I got then on the train after this experience and caught the train, because you can catch trains in the US and sleep on them and travel everywhere. They’re fantastic transport, and I caught the train to Albuquerque then I caught it up to San Francisco, up to Seattle.
And then I went to Washington, Portland, Washington in Seattle.
Then I went across to the coast stayed in some pretty grotty backpackers places and then caught the ferry up to Victoria, British Columbia, and then hitchhiked up to an Island where you can go sea kayaking, and my idea was to rent a sea kayak and paddle down the coast.
I think I lasted four days doing that by myself before I realized I was going to die and then went back and dropped off the kayak, and with my little day pack then hitchhiked across the other side of that place to a ferry and caught the ferry across to another island. And then in the middle of this part of the west of Canada, and then hitchhiked to catch another ferry and then hitchhike across that island and caught another ferry. And so I ended up on an island out there I’d never heard of before, but people said you should go and look at this one.
I ended up on an island very far away from everywhere, where there were a lot of people who were living off the land.
There were also a lot of people living in quite beautiful, handmade homes. And I got off the ferry there with my little backpack started to walk and I walked along the coast trying to find the town and stumbled across a sign that said you can stay here b&b or whatever it was, and I stayed and moved in with this family and had a room but the story starts there.
Because on the way walking through the forest there was a group of people I don’t know just out in the forest all together and they invited that group as I walked past and said, we are having a sweat lodge which I’d never heard of at that time. And you are welcome to come and join us.
I got directions back to where this sweat lodge was going to be held and it was really really really, really rugged. As I’ve done hundreds of sweat lodges since I realized that this one was fully rugged. It had hessian bags over the top of it instead of rugs but it worked great.
It was really rugged, but these people were dedicated to the Native American process of a sweat lodge and I remember it snowing outside and we were all pretty much in the buff down to the Nether nevers and going into this heated dome tent covered in hessian bags with a central goop with red hot rocks in it. Doing this for the whole afternoon and evening.
I remember coming out of that thing pretty messed up. So I got back somehow to the house where I was staying. I had met some really interesting characters and they said there’s a barn dance on tonight. You’re welcome to come. So I went back to the house where I was staying sort of dealt with the dizziness of the whole sweat lodge thing and decided to ride a bike.
So I borrowed the bicycle. And I rode I think it was about 5k out into the forest to where the barn dance was going to be. And I hadn’t eaten very much. So I arrived at the barn dance which was a fantastic music and really heavy metal rock and there were lots of people there and they were friendly. And I went in and they were selling cookies and coffee. And so I ate I bought cookies and I four or five cookies because I hadn’t had dinner. And that was the last thing I remember because the cookies were hashbrowns and ended up sleeping the entire night somewhere between the party and the bond and somewhere between there and the front gate.
I slept in the bushes on the ground that’s me. I woke up in the morning completely covered in bites and a complete an absolute mess. I had passed out because I’d eaten enough hash, probably to sink the Titanic.
Anyway, the story is interesting because I learned a lot on that island.
There were people living in trees and I met them they were really dread Locky hair and quite weird but it was such a beautiful island. And the people were so diverse and so creative and it was a place where you could bring cars all these various took them across, took you across so that was a real world and yet it wasn’t.
And it introduced me at this point in my life to a form of adventure I hadn’t really taken because sea kayaking was the style of adventure I was really used to and even to the stupidity of trying to go sea kayaking up in that part of Canada and in you know, 10 degree centigrade water by myself in extreme wind.
And so that was the sort of adventure I was used to and it was a sort of adventure. I thought I bought into but I ended up going on what would classically be called a spiritual adventure.
The sweat lodge and the people in it were extraordinary. They almost spoke a different English to English they they just were they worked on a different plan. And they operated in a different timeframe to everybody else. That really didn’t matter how long something took to them, because this was the pace that they elected to live their life at and it wasn’t without purpose.
Because they really did believe in the environment. They really did believe in doing well. And a lot of the sweat lodge and a lot of the prayers were for the world and what they believe was their work in making the world a better place. So it wasn’t purposeless, it was just timeless.
It was the same experience I had with the cookies at the band dance. And so I spent another two weeks there just exploring the island by a pushbike. And just meeting some amazing people but what I had to learn to do to be there was to take my object object out of it. How am I going to say that take my goal setting or take my ambitions away and slow myself down to a to a to a pace, where process became the core of it.
Process how I talked, how I walked, how I behaved, how I immersed myself in this space became the critical thing to integrating with this community which is vastly different to the sporty mindset and the adventure mindset which is always based on time how long you’ve got, what time the wind will come what time you need to be on the boat on off the water on the water and how dangerous it is.
So I guess it’s a reflection on a story like that and going up into British Columbia and the islands around there that bring me to sort of acknowledge the necessity to do nothing for some period of time in every day.
Where there is nothing filling up the something where you can actually just be in a beautiful space like going for a walk and taking a photo but just not speaking not trying to read a book not trying to achieve something not trying to do something but just put an intent in your mind about your next 20 Next 365 days 2023 and just allow it don’t try and force it just catch the feather. Allow it to surface.
Allow it to start to take shape in your body.
Before you start thinking. What’s my goal? What’s my objective? How much do I have? What’s the outcome? What’s the result? What’s the end point? What’s the vision? What’s the structure and get up into that bowl on top of your shoulders.
That is not you. It’s just the part of you that speaks and thinks the part of you that communicates is way down further in your body. And that part of you that communicates is the part that feels that knows it that knows you know it, and that’s got to come really at the end of the day from feet on the ground.
Energy in your in your abdomen, in your guts in your lower guts, energy and feeling feeling it before you’re allowed to surface and exit.
That’s where communication takes place.
This is Chris You have a beautiful day.
Bye for now.