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A night at the movies (and a slightly different post)

2 Mar

Many of the titles for posts on this blog have been inspired by movies or music – and maybe there’s a reason for that. Sometimes, movies and music are the ways that God uses to speak to us… a quiet whisper in our ear that leads to something more. I have a huge collection of movie quotes that I have built up – everything from

image‘You’re better than this. Don’t just think you are.. KNOW you are’ (Morpheus to Neo in ‘The Matrix’)

 

 

 

 

 

to

image"Never trust spiritual leader who doesn’t dance". (Mr Miyage in ‘The Next Karate Kid’) (and a quote I take very seriously….)

 

 

 

Often I find myself pulled up short by something in the media, something on the screen, something I hear in a mall, or a cafe..and that, I guess, is how I ended up here. I’m posting this on the Explore The Adventure blog because you might like it. But also, because it’s increasingly difficult to separate the exciting whirlwind world tour journey that I’m on from the even more thrilling journey of personal discovery that I find myself in. I hope that’s OK with you all!

Anyway, I’ve told this story a few times, but not on this blog so I thought I would post I, if only to prove that I don’t take myself seriously!! And yet, it’s part of my story, and so I am actually fiercely proud of it too.

So….

I was working at a major multinational’s IT operations centre, based in the North West of England. As usual, I was spending a few days staying up there for meetings and just to make sure that my team didn’t forget who I was.

I’m not a great one for eating and drinking on my own when I travel, so I would either go down to Borders and Starbucks and read three or four books, or I’d go to the movies. The company was going through a tough time, as they were reorganising, so I’d had a hard day – the cinema and a couple of hours being frivolously entertained beckoned me. Little did I know that a few hours later my life would have changed as the Universe took drastic action to make sure I was listening….

imageI’d settled down to see ‘Wimbledon’ with Kirsten Dunst and Paul Bettany (yes, I know, hardly a tough guy’s ‘action feature’ but I’ve always had a soft spot for ‘chick-flicks’ (and Kirsten Dunst)) (and if I can ever be as good an orator as Bettany was in ‘A Knight’s Tale’ then I will be happy!

And that story of a British long shot Wimbledon contender in his final tournament, chasing his dream (and winning the girl along the way) awoke something inside me. Odd, that… It seemed that I wanted to be so much more than the successful IT guru I had become, and that my dream was rapidly escaping me… but wouldn’t it be great to be able to change people’s lives? Wouldn’t it be great to actually take a decision to step out of the 9-5? Wouldn’t it be great to do something amazing with my life?

I filed it away under ‘interesting to think about’, finished my popcorn and wandered out of the theatre.

imageWhat I wasn’t expecting was the series of body blows that awaited me outside. I’d obviously got myself into a very receptive state, as the first movie poster outside proudly advertised the Jet Li movie ‘Hero’. ‘Hero’? I shrugged the thought off and walked on.

 

 

 

 

imageLever Brothers’ advertising had obviously got itself some new locations, because the next poster I walked past loudly proclaimed ‘Bold’. ‘That’s odd’, I thought to myself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

imageThe next poster for the Keira Knightley/ Clive Owen movie ‘King Arthur’ dared me to ‘Rule Your Destiny’ and my mind had gone into overdrive by this point. I made a mental note to go for a quiet drink to work out what was going on and maybe come to some conclusions about what was next for my career.

 

 

 

Nothing had prepared me for what happened next… the poster that changed my life… My eye was caught by a few words in the bottom of a colourful kids’ movie poster. ‘A hero will rise….’ it said – and suddenly I was stopped dead in my tracks – almost unable to breathe and certainly unable to move. Too many significant messages in too short a space of time meant I couldn’t ignore them all. Call it fate, or destiny, call it God speaking – you can call it what you like, but at that point I knew without a shadow of a doubt that my new career beckoned me. I needed to do the heroic thing, be bold, rule my destiny…and if the movie was anything to go by I might even get the girl as well.

 

imageI suppose you’ll want to know what that last poster was advertising, won’t you? I’m not sure I should tell you – but you’ve been good enough to stick with my story so far, so perhaps I should let you in on the secret. Spongebob Squarepants.

Yes, my new career has been created on the back of a cartoon character. Many of my friends would say that’s pretty reasonable.

 

 

 

And that set in train a whole set of events in which I know I have been held safe in the hands of God – financial problems, business failure, world tour, a new career, a new puprose… all of that can be traced back to that one fateful evening – an evening in which I stepped up to a new vision of myself as a hero, as someone who was going to create their destiny rather than just respond to events, someone who was prepared to take a risk in order to achieve something worthwhile.

I haven’t seen all of that yet – just glimpses and premonitions, echoes from a future yet to come… and yet that future is certain as I move into the next part of my life… and it’s incredibly exciting.

So for you – what’s the next step on the adventure? What are you hearing that you’re choosing to ignore? Where do you need to step up – to take a risk? It might be scary, it might leave you feeling vulnerable – but it will be the best thing you have ever done.

As Mark Twain famously said:

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did so. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."

Will you join me on that exploration?

Here we go again . . . .

26 Oct

Well, after a very relaxing couple of weeks, where I have caught up with some wonderful friends, been dancing, been walking, seen my eldest son’s new flat, celebrated my youngest son’s birthday… I find myself getting ready for the next part of the adventure.  This time I am going to be away for around 9 months.. Travelling round Australasia and Asia.  The trip looks a little bit like this…..

 

Escape…..

Flight to Fiji (30th October)

Fiji

Stay Fiji

Complete PADI course

Flight to Auckland (19th November)

New Zealand

Tour NZ Overland to Christchurch

Flight to Hobart (10th Dec)

Tasmania

Tour Tasmania

Flight to Melbourne (22nd December)

Australia

Stay & tour Melbourne (Christmas)

Overland to Adelaide

Stay & tour Adelaide (New Year)

Flight to Alice Springs (2nd January)

Tour Uluru

Overland to Darwin

Flight to Cairns (10th January)

Overland to Sydney (dive Great Barrier)

Stay Sydney

Flight Sydney to Singapore

Flight Singapore to Bangkok (2nd February)

Thailand

Stay Bangkok & tour

Overland to Chiang Mai (~22nd February)

Stay Chiang Mai & tour

Overland to Luang Prabang (~14th March)

Laos

Stay Luang Prabang & tour

Overland to Vang Vieng (~25th March)

Stay Vang Vieng & tour

Overland to Phnom Penh (~5th April)

Cambodia

Stay Phnom Penh & tour

Overland to Ho Chi Minh (~21st April)

Vietnam

Stay Ho Chi Minh & tour

Overland to Hanoi (~2nd May)

Stay Ha Noi & tour

Overland to Hong Kong (~13th May)

China

Stay Hong Kong

Overland to Shanghai (~24th May)

Stay Shanghai

Overland to Beijing (~2nd June)

Tour to Tibet/Nepal (Start 8th June)

Tour to Kathmandu (arrive 25th June)

Nepal

Stay Kathmandu and tour

Overland to Varanasi (~30th June)

India

Overland to Delhi (~4th July)

Flight or overland to Mumbai

Flight to UK (8th July – TBC)

 

Now, the observant amongst you will have noticed that flights run out at the beginning of February…. After that, it’s overland travel and no fixed agenda.  So all bets are off after February – I might go anywhere.

 

The last time out I felt that the trip was about letting go – letting go of my old life, my old identity, my old habits – and letting go of where I had failed.

 

This time round, it’s about stepping into the new.  I’m wanting to experience some wonderful places – to soak myself in the beauty of nature – but also to be part of some of the spiritual places, to be part of the local spiritual experience, if only for a while.  I want this to be more about people, and less about geography.

 

I also want to write – to start the book that’s been burning in me for a while now.  I want to put some on line programmes together – and to start work on a series of workshops that I will deliver when I get back… and maybe to start delivering those as I travel too.  I am going to be deepening this blog a bit too… and linking it more to the sister blog at www.registereddisciple.com where I have been posting some of my deeper thoughts, where I have been sharing a little more of what’s on my heart.

 

So, October 30th I leave for Fiji.  It’s going to be fun…. And I am going to miss my friends and my family… so stay in touch.  Facebook.  Email.  Read the blogs.   Post on the blogs.  Text me (although I am not answering my phone).  Find me on Skype.  I’ll keep you posted on my adventures…. And I will look forward to seeing many of you when I get back – to dance with, to chat to, or even at a workshop, maybe.

 

A travel blessing

30 Aug

Before I left, my friend Julie, who is an Inter Faith Minister, blessed my trip.  This is the thrust of that blessing

The Blessing – July 2010

You won’t be lonely – the happy clappy angels and your beautiful guardian angel are coming with you. You are safe and protected.

You are quieting your mind – becoming centred and still. Drawing all your energy back from past work, past relationships and wherever. You are filling up with energy, where you have been drained and distracted – God is pouring itself into you.

Keep up the cleansing & purification, bathe in healing water – you will receive cleansing and you will be transformed into light.

Feel the many angels that are coming with you. Follow this journey with your heart & soul not with your head – follow your inner feelings. Look at beautiful scenes. Travel to holy places, attend services for the divine. You will be transformed, following in God’s footsteps. Pray to Jesus, pray to the Holy Mother. Use the divine as your compass. Check in in with your heart regularly.

Every day spend time with God and sit in peace. Meditate by the mountains, streams and rivers, by the ocean, under the stars. Use it as a deep resting space – do not try to be busy – use it to become clean & clear, to heal old wounds, to be renewed & become you, divine, a disciple.

Feel the energy of those who have gone before.

Speak with God in every moment. Come home to yourself and to God. Rest in the blessings of the Holy Mother. Drink the divine water. Become clean – pure – divine – healed, inside and out.

7th July 2010

Hilo – Day 1

16 Jul

Rather than take the free bus to Hilo, I got a lift from Lauren, one of the girls in the hostel.  100 miles later saw me in a hostel way out of town, 100 yds from the beach, with frogs croaking and birds chirping.  No people, though.  Like a ghost hostel.  Just me and the two 6″ centipedes – which caused me to move quickly to the top bunk.

However, I got a good offer on a trip up to Mauna Kea, one of Big Island’s five volcanoes.  Following a brief stop at Rainbow Falls we set off on the ride up into the mountains.  A brief stop to acclimatise at 9000 feet found me walking up one of the cinder cones on the mountain.  It was a truly eerie experience – as one of my companions put it ‘like walking on a barbecue grill’ – crunchy, lava rock underfoot.

(this is just the VIEW from the volcano)

Next stop, the summit.  Because of the unique climate in Hawai’I ( clouds form an inversion layer, which means that weather happens BELOW the top of the mountain leaving clear skies above) the mountain at Mauna Kea is dotted with observatories and radio telescopes.  But the real star was the mountain – casting its shadow over the town of Hilo below, and looming over the glacial canyon below, where the lava had been ground and shaped by the slow progress of glacier ice.

By the way, in winter, Mauna Kea actually has snowy peaks (the name means ‘White Mountain’) and the surfers leave the beach, grab a board (or anything they can find) and ride the snow instead.

In the distance, the long slope of Mauna Loa (long mountain) can be seen, and the volcanic summit of Maui’s volcano, Ihaleakala, peers through the cloud.

As the sun sank below the ridge, I was overcome with a sense of awe – and an understanding of who I am and why I am here.

Quite an experience – and more at http://amanofgod.wordpress.com/2010/07/16/goddess-of-fire/

Leaving . . .

13 Jul

Every great journey needs a great send off.  I have had some fabulous moments over the last few days:

A wonderful evening in the Hot tub at Sue’s with my friends Sue & Andy, Mandy & Di and Yve… sharing and encouraging each other as usual.

A brilliant day at Alton Towers with my two boys, David and Jonny, and David’s girlfriend Alice.  Courtesy of a couple of buy one get one free tickets, we flew on Air, turned ourselves upside down on Nemesis and scared the living daylights out of ouselves on 13.

I had an incredible time (and some lovely thoughtful cards and presents) at Want2Dance Dosthill with some fabulous dances.

Mexican food and bowling with the boys… and then an afternoon with the rest of the family, including baby Ellen and bits of the family we’d never met before..

and then an evening with my best friend Heather – who had packed some fabulous packages for me to take – beautifully wrapped up in string… and then up early to get away to the airport.

One or two tears… there are so many people I am going to miss….

Here goes

10 Jul

Well, tomorrow I travel. All my worldly goods are either sold, in storage, or packed in a 70 litre rucksack.  I have only one key, and when I sell my car today, then I have none at all.  I feel liberated, excited, free – and I feel scared and nervous.  I’ve alredy said goodbye to many of my dearest and most wonderful friends – I’ve danced some beautiful dances… now all that’s left to is to say goodbye to my family,  and to my best friend… and then I am off.  Hawai’i – and the rest of the world – beckon.

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