I’m on a plan ride with my girlfriend coming back from a festival in New Orleans. The French Quarter Fest adventure was a blast! We are both wearing black nail polish for fun. Because we can. It was Dianna’s idea, but she enlisted me quickly. She didn’t know it, but It’s the second time in my life (Halloween and theater excluded) wearing nail paint. The first time was during a six week trip to India in the spring of 2001. That trip to northeast India was a peak life chapter for sure. In fact, it was one of my life’s most important and growth inspiring adventures. It shaped my life perspective significantly. I didn’t know it then, but I was creating and living in all aspects of Belief Energy that spring.
Soul- Soul hangs in the air in India like the Beat spirit hangs in San francisco. No wonder i’ve been drawn to both since my brother introduced me to eastern philosophy in 1995. If I had them, many of my former lifetimes were lived in these two places. My 2001 volunteering trip to India began after I signed an offer letter with salesforce.com to become their 23rd salesperson. I signed the letter under one condition, that they let me explore India for two months before hitting the phones. They made the right call to support my desire. Before salesforce.com, I’d worked around the clock for five years in a few tech companies after college. Instead of stressing out when the startup I worked for imploded and shut it’s doors unexpectedly over a weekend…I took it as a sign. I was due for a worldview expansion. The loud pop of the .com bubble’s burst woke me up! I journied to the enchanted Asian sub continent to teach in schools, thus compassion and a desire to get out of myself (not stock options) was my central thrust.
It was my first time outside North America. This kansas boy was shocked and awed from the minute the plane landed in Delhi. My desire to explore, give and grow was authentic. Language barriers sharpened my already discovered ability to communicate at a subtle energy and soul level with people. Successfully navigating through rural towns without a word of Hindi showed me what the Buddhist “All is one” principal was all about. I was on the other side of the planet, yet feeling supported by the people i met like I was home. I witnessed human suffering in the back streets of Old Delhi and along the train tracks of many towns that I still haven’t forgotten. I joined the Salesforce.com Foundation steering committee upon my return. I did that on my first day on the job, in part because of the soul evolution i experienced on my Asian adventure.
Tribe- I started the trip touring Delhi with a former LA roommate and close friend, Steve Mueller. It was great to catch up with him. He had great stories to share about his new life in Dubai. Though my senses were completely shocked, i felt a deep connection to India. I loved how it felt in all its overstimulating glory, even at 114 degrees. Though it was a dramatic departure from my small town Kansas roots or the beaches of LA, it felt like home. It was an amazing feeling. I had never been so tuned into the energy of people. Language barriers forced me to communicate with more than words. After exploring the hectic and amazing spectacle of Delhi I rode trains and trucks into the hills of Himarchal Pradesh to the town of solan with a supportive group of fellow volunteers. We all shared a spirit of adventure, excitement and compassion.
Health- I was on curiosity learning overload everyday. My brain, senses and soul were simultaneously engaged, even when overloaded. Learning about myself, my place in the world and everything I encountered was my daily goal on a conscious and subconscious level. My mental and physical body experienced surges and rest throughout the journey. I was hiking or teaching in the foothills of the Himalayas one minute…relaxing and getting a large henna tattoo on my back from a fellow volunteer the next. Dancing until we sweat to jubilant Hindi music one minute… sitting in meditation above the valley that ran below the rural inn we called home the next. Ten years later I can still go back to that valley in my mind any second I want.
Action- My Man of Action spirit was needed many times like when the younger student volunteers got really sick and needed hospital care in a small rural village. I was in action when we journeyed through the rural mountain roads to the home of the Dahlia Lama in Dharamsala. I poured energy into my volunteer role at the school too. I won over the stern school principal and quickly became the most exciting attraction on the hillside campus. Years after the trip I received an invite from her to attend the marriage ceremony of her son. My role on this trip was learner. My goal…growth. This mission into the unknown gave me enormous strength.
I walked on air for years following my amazing trip. I realize now how much the trip helped shape the core4+2 that belief energy is rooted in. No wonder it was one of the best chapters in my entire life. Happiness stored up from my journey to India will last forever. I can tap into it anytime I want and often do when i need a boost. I look forward to enabling a similar experience for my daughter and girlfriend.
Assignment: Take a trip into a faraway land you know very little about where you dont speak the language. Get out of big cities fast. Take a journal. If traveling long distances isn’t possible, start a “Thursday Firsts” experiment in an area you barely know near where you live. It’s an exercise in which you do something you’ve never done before with no planning at least once per week for a few weeks. Push yourself. Get lost. You’ll only grow if you take chances and say Yes! keep a journal. I’ll dedicate a full post to the crazy scenes I wandered into in the belly of San Francisco when I was on a “Thursday Firsts” kick a couple years ago.
Share your experiences with us here or on the belief energy fb page!