A sparrow vs the USA

Yucca Valley, California, USA.

I am in the USA! On Monday I arrived in L.A. The client I am doing the retreat with picked me up from the airport. We walked around Venice Beach, had some food and went to the movies later. I was very tired from the flight but couldn’t really afford too give in to my jetlag so I made an effort to stay up till a ‘normal’ bed time. I made it in the sense that I am going to bed and waking up at normal times but I still feel a bit weird. I left Sydney in the afternoon of Monday the 22nd and 14 hours later I arrived on Monday morning 10 am but I felt like Tuesday morning 5 am. Confusing.

The next day we drove to the place where I am now: a bungalow in the desert of Joshua Tree. Here we will spend 6 whole days with daily meditation and coaching sessions. There is not much else to do here. The house is pretty remote, from my window I look over the desert. Although it is pretty warm outside I hear the wind howling slightly. Somehow I would not be surprised if cowboys, Indians and coyote’s would enter the scene.

I have a headache but I feel pretty good about where I am. My trip to Australia gave me that: trust that I am in the right place. It is interesting to me because this trust does not mean that there are no whiffs of loneliness or sadness. I still have the voice inside my head that tells me how nice it would be if I were in this or that place. Another voice will tell me that my life should look more adventurous, flashy or sexy. And I also can still hear the voice that tells me that what I do is not so special, it won’t get me anywhere and that I will never “make it” although it never tells me what that means exactly. All this voices are still there but they can’t take away the trust.

There are these little things that are happening almost daily that I experience as guidance. I wonder if this guidance was always there but I was blind to it or that something has changed and I am receiving a bit more guidance than before. I might me talking to somebody on Whatsap or via text messaging and suddenly a particular message won’t send. Normally ‘technological failure’ would frustrate me but nowadays it feels like that message shouldn’t be send. And when it happens and I look at what I wrote I think: “Hmm.. I think you are right, Universe. Better we not send that message” and then I continue and everything is back to normal. And I am not kidding you: this has been happening every day.

Of course this feeling of ‘meant to be’ raises questions too. Visiting an American supermarket for the first time since my last visit to the USA in 2008 made my heart sink just like it did then. The whole store screams “BUY MORE!” It oozes everything that is awful, unhealthy, mass produced and not sustainable. Greed is king here. Check the pic: the almost symbolic organic section on the right hand side  of the pic contains no less than 5(!) products (some apples, lemons and pears, a few bags of carrots and 2 boxes of old spinach) and – my estimation – 1% of available the shelve space of tghe vegatable department (and then you haven’t seen the cereals or soft drinks assortiment). The message is loud and clear: we don’t give a shit about organic food here. The tiny organic section is hilarious if it wasn’t sad. Unbelievable.

I remember how shocked I was when I saw it for the first time. How can I ever make a meaningful contribution to the increase of human awareness if the unawareness is so strong, so enormously overwhelming? It makes me feel like a sparrow spitting on a forest fire. And how is all this ‘meant to be’ too? I don’t know. But the difference is that I am less disheartened. It feels good to spit on the forest fire. I like it and by now I know I am not the only sparrow. And it might not look very usefull, it still beats not doing anything at all. I knew that. But what is changing is that I feel more at peace with my role and my place.


  1. Mai Nichol says

    Hi Atalwin,

    I have read your posts for the past few months with great interest, and identified with much of what you have experienced. Especially in your yoga practice, and I have several times thought that you should try out Forrest Yoga. It speaks to much of the things you mention, and it is a challenging practice, something I suspect you quite like as well! If you return to L.A. and Venice Beach, go see Brian Campbell at Exhale Center for Sacred Movement – he is an amazing teacher and a brillant human being. You will not regret it.
    All the best, and look forward to future posts:).

    Mai Nichol


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