I’m in between the border of Jordan and Israel. It is kind of eerie: I am literally the only ‘client’ that is on the premises right now. I have the whole customs building to myself, no waiting in lines, nothing. I was the only one at the exit tax window, alone at the passport check, the only one walking through the tax free shop and now I’m the only one waiting for the empty bus to drive me to the border (the bus driver went for coffee and wants to wait till more people come so I am assuming that this could take while). I guess not many Israeli’s are going to Jordan these days. Must be strange to work here. Must cost a lot of many too because apart from me there is plenty of bored, not too friendly personnel.
The hardest thing is to not give up. Every time I post something I hope that readers, friends or strangers, will comment so I won’t feel like I am exposing myself to a dark, silent void. But instead of creating more it seems like I am creating less. It brings up doubt in me. But seeing the people work here has made me change my mind. I will no longer hope for more interaction nor will I keep checking the visitor statistics. But I will keep sharing, as consistently as possible. Miles lives in his kitchen, Ilana and Itamar in a tent in the desert. They have given up all their privacy; I can give up more of my need for approval and recognition.
The energy of my trip changed this morning. Recently I learned that exercise and meditation is the way to stay grounded in vulnerable times. To honor that insight I started this morning with 4o minutes of sitting on the bed of my hostel in Jerusalem. After breakfast I did 30 more. Then I went into the souk to get my beard trimmed (I’m growing my beard to look more muslim, I’m not kidding). Went back to the hostel to get my bags and stroll to the busstation. I passed by a money exchange and wanted to use the ATM. Instead of letting me use the ATM the guy presented me a portable PIN device like you see in bars and restaurants and swiped my card. Once I as walking outside I realized I was robbed of 20+ dollars. I saw my anger and my impulses to start a riot come up in my awareness. I grinned and realized that practicing meditation doesn’t keep people from robbing you.
What I’m learning is exactly what Miles said in the “Dear Friend” video that we recorded: “no need to rush, no time to waste”. I have been on the road for two weeks now and my mission is coming into form. Until a little while ago my “Quest for the 21st Century Warrior” only existed in my mind and heart. Now it is being materialized and things develop differently then I thought (read: feared). I was afraid to be rejected and ignored but it turns out that I can’t follow up on all the leads I get. I also feared (and hoped) that the number of visitors to my website would skyrocket because my friend and Wordpress wizard Richard van den Winkel connected my mailing list (with 1,600+ connections) to my blog. I was shit scared because now literally EVERYBODY I knew could see me stumble. It felt so vulnerable and exposed. But it turns out that only 30% – 40% percent actually opens the email and only 40 people read one of more posts. That feels humbling (I’m not that special), disappointing (the majority of the people I know doesn’t care too much about rising our level of consciousness) and a relieving (I’m less exposed than I feared).
I arrived on a Friday afternoon, a couple hours before Shabbat. Shabbat is a day of strict rest. The religious Jews are not even allowed to switch the light on or off. Which means they have found all kinds of clever solutions like leaving the light on and have special plates that keep the food warm for the next day. The hours before Shabbat are very hectic; everybody is rushing. If feels like rushing to your massage appointment, as somebody put it.
I am in the train to Naharya, on my way to the graves of my grandparents. My grandfather Johan Pilon is the founder of Nes Ammim, a Christian settlement that was founded in 1960. He believed the holocaust was made possible by the lacking dialogue between Jews and Christians. As a young student of medicine in Amsterdam he could see how his Jewish friends were deported. He made it his life work to create healing between Christians and Jews. In his vision the best way to do that was to help built up the country. Just work and live together, without any intention of converting each other.
My grandfather died when I was a baby. I am the only grandchild he ever held in his arms. He died just after my brother was born, unfortunately without seeing him. My nieces and nephew came later.
He has a kind of mythical status; supposedly he was a very special man. When he was still a gynecologist in Tiberias there were people who wanted to touch him to get some of his goodness. Because I grew up with a father who completely ignored our existence, my successful grandfathers were my distant role models. I grew up with the feeling I had partially rotten genes but there was some holiness in the distance.
As I said I feel terrified. The 14th of January, the moment of leaving Amsterdam to step into the unknown, comes closer and closer. While a large part of me just wants to hide under my bed for a year I handed over the lease of my apartment to a young friend of mine two days ago. So I have no bed anymore to hide under. The visa are in order. The video explaining the project is finished. Now I can only pray that things will work out. Please watch the video and let me know what you think.
”Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”