I feel quiet, I feel content, I feel human. My second tour of Hong Kong is coming to an end. I worked pretty hard, had a couple of amazing and a couple of humbling experiences, made a handful of brilliant interventions and made a couple of humiliating mistakes. I have felt a loser, a winner, a hero, a threat, a traitor, a friend, a lover, an asshole, a writer, a coach, a promoter, a businessman, a student and a master. I have felt victorious, misunderstood, ashamed, desired, loved, humiliated, angry, horny, hated, appreciated, wise, warm, lonely and deeply connected. My confidence in myself and others has grown, I have become more humble, my flexibility is growing, I have less fear of failure, I have more trust and I have less often a knot in my stomach.
I see it as my job and my duty to contribute as best as I can to more awareness of self and others. Especially I want to try to bring it to unconventional places and in original ways. Now is the latter debatable. Because it is only an unconventional place because somebody thinks and or says it is an unconventional place. In the end it is always about people, that is not unconventional, that is universal. And trying to be original or inventive is also from all times. The reason that there are so many paths to Rome is because so many people have tried to get there before me. Anyways, I enjoy the challenge of trying to get a team of co-workers of a company to join me on a journey of self-discovery.
I see so many intelligent, talented, energetic and hard-working people who don’t have a vision. Young men and women spending 60 hours per week in the energy draining snake pits they call the workplace so that they can climb up the corporate ladder to get to positions of leadership. To lead what? A company who advises on media strategy? Where they tell you where and how often you should advertise your diapers commercial to maximize profits? Want to work in the beauty industry where you sell lotions that do not make you look younger? Or want to research when the African woman is ‘ready’ for more expensive hair products? Do you want to be remembered as the man who sold a lot of vacuum cleaners for his multinational company? Want to work for Pepsico and compete with Nestle for ‘share of stomach’? How do you motivate yourself to sell sweet unhealthy stuff every day?
This whole journey seems to be a very long road towards self-validation and self-appreciation. Am I worth something? In the very beginning of this journey I asked myself if I was doing all this just to be appreciated and to get the approval I never received from my father. Step by step I am getting closer. Yes, I still feel the need to raise the bar because I fear to become stagnant. But with every challenge that is conquered I find peace, calmness and – indeed – the much-wanted confirmation that I am on the right path. The spiritual laws can be applied universally; I now know this not just from insight but also from personal experience. Speak and listen from the heart unconditionally, face your fears, serve others, don’t take yourself so fucking seriously and be generous and healing will happen: I have been testing them over and over again and they still have not failed me. On the contrary: I am being rewarded all the time.
It keeps blowing my mind how the situation changes and changes and changes. I keep wondering if there are people who experience life as linear, who just go from a to b to c. For me it is not like that. But I do feel I am becoming very flexible and I read the signs fast. When the communication came to a halt around the primary location (no response to text messages) I knew I had to make a decision immediately. When the registration didn’t happen I stayed remarkably calm, being able to suspend the decision (and the panic). I must say, in a weird way I am enjoying these lessons.
I have 2 more weeks of Hong Kong ahead of me. I am so curious what will happen. Will I feel like a rock star again? Or will I receive teaching in humility? The openness of not-knowing calms me.
It is still smoggy outside. My throat is less sore though. I have no idea if that is a good sign or a bad sign. I have understood from people who have been living here a long time that the body gets used to the smog. They don’t get irritated eyes and clogged sinuses anymore. Not something I look forward to.
When I was in China I received a question from a reader. I just decided I will take a shot at it. It is a tough and complicated one but I will do my best.
Before I start I want to say how much it keeps amazing me how these things work. I would have never expected such a letter to come in. But I see something or live through something and write about it and then it opens up a thought, pattern or issue on the other side of the world.
Last weekend I was invited by my client to accompany them on their company trip to Xi’an. Xi’an is one of the four capitals of ancient China (different cities got to be the capital for a while) and it was fascinating to see a tiny bit of China. The scale of things is fast; you immediately notice that you are in a huge country. We went to see the tomb of one of the emperors. He was buried with 6000 terracotta warriors, every single one of them with a unique posture and facial expression. Mind blowing.
But now I am back in Hong Kong. Sometimes I feel I have so many powerful experiences in a week that I can’t keep up and feel stretched in all different directions.
A year ago my assignment was to bridge to communication gap between east and west. In eastern cultures there is a pattern of hiding behind a wall of silence when something is asked. In western culture this is experienced as frustrating, impolite, anti social and awkward, to name a few. We just don’t get it. “But there is nothing you can do about it” is the dominant western discourse. What I found out is that the Chinese guys would like to speak up but they have never learned how. They all could see the benefits but we also found what caused the silence: Chinese parents slap their children into obedience. It is hard to speak up to your boss when you have been conditioned to never argue or disagree with your parents.
Making the decision to promote my workshop singlehandedly ‘in the field’ was a tough one to give birth to. But I did take a bundle of flyers and handed them out to people. It was more an exercise in courage than an effective campaign. It was a bit of a victory and it wasn’t. I learned that promoting a kick-ass party in bars and clubs (like a did many years ago) is a lot easier than promoting a personal growth workshop when people are drinking beers. I also learned that I really want to change this situation and that my short, middle and long term goal is to become a better writer and speaker. I really want to get good at my elevator pitch and I realized that I should make the wisdom of the Way Of The Warrior into a fascinating presentation and not just a workshop. It will allow me to speak to larger audiences. Being on the street doing something that was outside my comfort zone transported me back to the bigger picture. My mission is to contribute to the growth of human awareness. All the awkwardness of my sales attempts did remind me of that. That made me feel very strong.
On the 20th of April I intend to give another Noble Warrior workshop. Just like in New York I am not receiving much response. But I decided to do my best and had my friend and designer this website and logo Boris Thorbecke quickly design a flyer for me. I have been spreading the flyer around organic food shops, healing centers and other places. I hate it. I rather go unsafe Baghdad to teach meditation with machine gunfire in the background then promote myself. Of course many people respond friendly, cooperative and interested and it is all in my mind but boy, do I find that hard. Probably because it is so up close and personal and because I feel.. vulnerable, afraid of rejection, at the mercy of the one who I am asking for permission to leave my flyers behind, ashamed of the modest scale that I operate on (although I am the only one who seems to think that). Phew.. that is a lot.