We spend much of our lives trying to be something we are not. Whether one is aiming for a spiritual, social, or physical goal, we’re always headed somewhere. The future is a vast abyss, that you can not see the end of. Your field of view can only go so far. As well, the past is a quickly fleeting recollection of the present. There are times in life, when you cease trying and be who you want to be, and be who you are. There are times when the past becomes your fingerprint, and the future becomes your whiteboard. These moments are what we chase after for most of our lives; they are the moments we cherish and savor in our hearts and minds until we die.
January 1st, 2011: With one last look out of my bedroom window in Southern California, I left my home for LAX Airport. The final destination was South Africa, the intermediary destinations were Minneapolis, MN and Amsterdam, Netherlands. I was excited, unsure, anticipating, and partially melancholy. I’d be going with my father, which was great, but I knew I would miss my mother and three siblings. None-the-less I boarded Sun Country flight 421 to Minneapolis, on the first of January, feeling that this was not only the beginning of a new year, but the beginning of a new life experience.
The two weeks spent in Minneapolis changed me permanently. My father worked throughout the week in downtown, and so I would go with him in the mornings, and have the opportunity to roam the city until he left at around five. As a result, I was very far from dependence on anyone or anything. With twenty dollars in my pocket, suited up in weather gear, I felt liberated, and gave Minneapolis a warm handshake. These were moments where I felt very privileged, but at the same time I was home-sick and missed company. I enjoyed Minneapolis, but was not sad to see it go.
February 14th, 2011: Armed with a sense of anticipation, my Dad and I boarded a Delta Airbus to Amsterdam, to catch another flight towards Johannesburg. As we waited in the line for security, I noticed that most of the travelers around me seemed beat down, and bummed. I made a note of this: These people are about to board an airplane either to home or to a major city–thousands of miles from here! Why is everyone so bummed?
Through security, baggage checked, we arrived at the gate. Just before boarding, I called my family to say goodbye; I was in a strange flurry of emotions: sadness, excitement, and fear.
Eight hours later, we arrived at the gate in Amsterdam, and I was beat. Sleeping like a bum under a bridge at the gate, I fell asleep for two hours. I realized why those travelers in Minneapolis were so bummed: they were tired! After a drowsy boarding, we departed.
About an hour and a half into the flight, I woke up, and witnessed a view–forever ingrained in my soul (attached photo). Time stopped, the destination became irrelevant, and I felt an overwhelming sense of freedom. Shortly before this flight, I had begun reading the writings of Joseph Campbell–his book “The Power Of Myth”. He speaks of bliss in the book–specifically that following your bliss is exercising your spiritual feelings, and feeling place and purpose in life. I felt at the moment of witnessing this sight, a moment of true bliss. Time froze, and I knew I was in the right place–spiritually, and physically.
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