Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Travel Magic

Did you know that Mercury, mischievous messenger of the gods, is the god of travel? He is also the god of synchronicity, just like his Greek counterpart, Hermes. As most consummate travelers will agree, the more you move, the more 'coincidences' occur.

One of my favorite aspects of travel is getting in tune with a much higher degree of synchronicity. Frankly, it’s fun! Little miracles pop up here, there, and everywhere while on the road.

In actuality, life is a bundle of synchronicities. Everything is happening perfectly, even when it appears to be out of sync. It is the duration of an event in time and space that gives it perspective. Most of the time, we can only perceive a tiny snippet of a ‘happening,’ and from that viewpoint, we judge it as good or bad.

If we were able to have a bird’s eye of the entire arc of a happening, from a universal view, we would see all of the ins and outs that make an event. An event, just like a thing or a person, is not static. It is constantly changing and is an appearance like a wave that arises and passes away. If we go deeper into it, in a micro view, or we back out to the ultimate macro, we see all the various facets affecting the appearance, and we see there is no good or bad. Judgment as bad or good is fallacious in the absolute sense because it never has the entire picture, the entire duration in time and space.

Life itself is magic. We do not realize the absolute precision of elements fitting together, so we forget that everything is synchronous. When we travel, and Hermes is having his field day, the synchronicities line up again and again – so we notice. We are also outside of our usual rhythm and routine. Since the backdrop is different, the way everything fits together so miraculously comes to our attention.

The trick is to remember that “travel magic” is available to us all the time, whether we’re on the road or not. All we have to do is take note. Hermes leaves us clues at every turn. Noticing the small synchronicities in life trains us to trust the grand play of life events. We learn that some things take a little longer to play out – even if it's seemingly bad or painful today, it may simply be taking longer to come to completion. As one saying goes: “It all works out in the end. If it hasn’t yet worked out, it’s not the end.”

I’m currently traveling through Germany as a companion to an elderly family friend, a lovely 85-year old artist-photographer revisiting her homeland. In the dining car on the train from Frankfurt to Berlin, we were discussing what makes an artist’s mind different than a non-artist’s mind.

“In my experience, one main difference between a non-artist’s mind and an artist’s mind,” I said to my friend over the sound of the train's clackety-clack with its lovely hum, “is that the artist notices the possibility in every moment. It is living in magical realism.There are no ordinary moments. Life is magic.”

At that moment, the waiter appeared at our table to take our order for post-lunch coffee. My friend ordered herself an espresso, and I ordered a cappuccino. After the waiter disappeared, I thought to myself, Oh, I wish I hadn’t ordered a cappuccino. I actually just want a normal coffee. Oh well, too late. I’m happy with what Life brings. And I went back to watching the green German countryside roll by outside the train windows.

Seconds later, the waiter reappeared at our table. “Wir haben leider keine Milch mehr, also koennen wir keinen Capuccino machen. Darf ich Ihnen etwas anderes bringen?” (I’m sorry, we are out of milk, and I cannot offer a cappuccino. Can I offer you something else?

“Oh, fine!” I replied. “I’ll have a coffee instead.

Everyday magic.

Try it for a while – notice how Life brings you everything that you need and you can’t really make a mistake. Now, perhaps that’s all perspective, too, but isn’t it a nicer way of viewing the world, given the choice? Sure makes for happier travels.

Erin Reese is a writer, astrologer, and intuitive consultant based in the San Francisco Bay Area. For readings and spiritual counseling by Skype, phone or email, contact her via email.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Show Me the Way: Allies, Teachers, and Guides

Click image to enlarge

I was recently invited to discuss India, Travel, and Following Your Dreams with a group of 9th graders. I was honored and excited to make this presentation at Marin Catholic School because I was strongly influenced by interesting adults throughout my childhood, those who did something totally out of the ordinary. I still recall the teachers and artists that touched my heart, and the non-traditional adults who told me, "Erin, you can do whatever you want in life, especially if you do well in school. Get the best grades you can and you can go far, far, far." So I did. I believed them, and I took it to heart. I busted my behind and got scholarships that paid my way through university. There, I learned how to focus, finish, and be accountable to an incredible amount of hard work.

The most influential teacher I had was Mr. Huber, my 7th grade English teacher. That very first day of class, he told us to sit down and keep a journal every single school day, and we would be graded on it. He promised not to read what we wrote if we stapled the page shut, but he would check our journals to make sure we wrote something each morning. We could write about a good meal we had the night before, or a boy we had a crush on, or a funny movie we saw last weekend. Anything at all. But we had to write at least a paragraph every single morning. Thus, my first disciplined "Morning Pages" a la Julia Cameron's The Artists Way began at age eleven.

Writing daily stuck. I never stopped! I have all those notebooks stuffed inside box after box, surely to provide fodder for something, somewhere.

Outside of school as a pre-teen, I read all of young adult author Judy Blume's books (Are You There God? It's Me Margaret, etc.). Blume's work touched me so deeply that I sat down and wrote a post letter to her via her publisher. Several weeks later, I received an actual reply in the snail mail, with her photograph, autograph and a hand-written thank you. I was so inspired I could barely breathe.

So, when requested to present to a Global Studies class of 9th graders on the topic of India, Travel, and Following Your Dreams, you can bet I showed up. I donned a traditional Indian outfit (salwar kameez), plastered a bindi on my forehead, loaded up my wrists with sparkly bangles, and toted along my Bindi Girl book and a short video presentation with stills from my upcoming sequel, which you can view right here...

Remember that our story and our experiences may inspire another, young or old, to take the plunge and live their heart's dreams. We must stand tall as examples that anything is possible. My current artist's motto is: "Don't listen to anyone about anything, ever." Sounds extreme, I know, but here I mean, ignore the naysayers. I mean that if someone says the economy is bad and we shouldn't try x, y, or z, ignore them. If they say that you're too old or too financially unstable to go off traveling, or you don't have enough credentials to apply for a job that sounds great to you, plug your ears. Sometimes we need to ignore rational, common sense precisely because it is common and we are being called to create something brand new. Nothing is impossible. As I quote Goethe in my book, The Adventures of Bindi Girl:

"Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it."

Align yourself with believing mirrors and pioneering folks who have busted out of the status quo to forge new territories. Sync up with those who put their faith in their vision more than the current paradigm. Let them be your allies, your cheerleaders, your teachers and guides.