Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Trust30; day 16: Wholly Strange and New

When good is near you, when you have life in yourself, it is not by any known or accustomed way; you shall not discern the foot-prints of any other; you shall not see the face of man; you shall not hear any name;—— the way, the thought, the good, shall be wholly strange and new. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Can you remember a moment in your life when you had life in yourself and it was wholly strange and new? Can you remember the moment when you stopped walking a path of someone else, and started cutting your own?

Write about that moment. And if you haven’t experienced it yet, let the miracle play out in your mind’s eye and write about that moment in your future.

It is April, 1995 and you are standing amidst thousands of people in a huge square in Kathmandu, Nepal. You had been with friends most of this time... well, friends for the strange journey that you are on. Before this trip to Nepal (and later, on to Tibet,) these people were mostly unknown to you, strangers from around the world.

The icon you have traveled to to the Boudhanath stupa, the holiest Buddhist site in Kathmandu. This is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike and it is crowded with gawkers and pilgrims walking around the square, turning prayer wheels and taking in as much of the "sacred carnival" atmosphere as possible.

Toto, I think we're not in Kansas anymore...

Fast forward to the present; this trip, sixteen years in the past, continues to shape me more than any other event in my life. Standing alone in the midst of the scene above, I was as much a "fish out of water" than I had ever been in my life. I had chosen this three week journey to explore and to further my learning into the healing modalities of Body Harmony and Conscious Connected Breathing (Rebirthing) with a group of like-minded people from around the world.

This trip changed me in ways so profound that even now, examining the weathered slides that I've scanned (trying to preserve what's left of them,) still stirs up emotions and feelings that must be dealt with and reintegrated.

I was confronted by my life and mySelf. I was physically as far away from perceived notions of "safety" and "home" as I could be. As this all-immersive journey took me to altitudes of 17,000 feet and more, my body convulsed under the physical and spiritual/emotional load.

One day after doing a healing session/exercise in a Tibetan hot spring, I started to shake uncontrollably and did not stop for many hours. They piled coats on top of me in a tent and watched as the pile quaked before their eyes. You could see what it was that was "shaking loose" inside me with the naked eye.

Towards the end of the three weeks, I felt clearer and more alive than I had ever felt before. Upon returning home, the insanity of the "end game" of my then-known life began shortly thereafter. In retrospect, it seems that having gone through such dramatic change in a condensed fashion, you can never go back "home" again. The familiar is simply gone.

I guess that if you are willing be be "alone" in as foreign as place as you can imagine and deal with the feelings that come up (...and boy, do feelings ever come up that you didn't even know that you had!), then "the way, the thought, the good, shall be wholly strange and new."

Amen, and amen.


  1. :) Thank you for sharing that one. Hugs for the journey.

  2. What a wonderful journey it must have been even through and in spite of the aloneness and the shaking. Thank you for sharing. I would put this one on my "Bucket List"!
    Peace, Nico

  3. Rich, if I could I'd hug you right now, for two reasons - you have been to Nepal (a country I would like to visit) and for your generosity for sharing this. I come to think about Paolo Coelho's book "The Alchemist". You can travel the world before you finally find the treasure back home, which is your soul. And a journey like that changes you - forever.

    Thank you for sharing this. You are a very interesting person.
    In'Lakesh, Michi

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  5. Tiffany, Nico & Michi: Thanks for your sharing and insight on this post. One thing that is becoming apparent to me is that sometimes we can forget all that we've done in the previous pages of our life story. Revisiting them can certainly bring new insight into our "now."

  6. Wow, what an amazing life experience! I don't know how you couldn't have been changed at a fundamental level after this. Thanks for sharing your story.

  7. Those moments in our lives are truly precious. The beauty is that the growth we experience becomes even deeper years later. Thank you for sharing!

  8. Rich & Stacy: The contagion of sharing that is spreading due to this Think30 project is intoxication in its finest form. Great appreciation for and to you all!