I cry uncle. I cannot turn the tide. (Why not surf? Now who said that?) In The Art of Pilgrimage (wholeheartedly recommend), Phil Cousineau tells us that an old Hasidic saying reminds, "Carefully observe the way your heart draws you and than choose that way with all your strength."
I cannot tell you the myriad of ways that you know what you know. For instance, I go to the Adventure Travel Expo the other day with a friend. We're on our way to another party but we're famished. I see a Thai restaurant from the corner of my eye outside the Moscone Center, but before I blurt that out as an option, he suggests a great Italian eatery that has "pizza just like pizza they make in Italy." I'm nostaglic for Roma and Firenze, so we head down the block. The bronzed-stud-waiter that looks more at home in LA than Milan tells us the place is booked solid.
Your first choice is always the wisest to follow. - reads my fortune cookie on 11/10/05
I suggest the Thai place. We stroll into Cha Am restaurant and unexpectedly spot J.D. Lasica. Then Buzz Buggerman. And Robert Scoble and his blogging buddy son. Serendipity is sometimes a blunt missus.
It's not important who said what. But I'm astounded that several people that know me by "reputation" don't even know I do work in marketing. "But you're such a good w-r-i-t-e-r." And I'd spent the whole day pitching my pilgrimage back to disaster-struck Asia - not as a marketer. But rather as an intepid journeyer, and as a blogger, as a storyteller.
We are all pilgrims on our own quests, like it or not, deny it or not. The structure of life is so. - Novelist Robert Stone
Uncle. uncle! In one of those (rarer these busy days) gaps where silence settles, a voice rushes in and it does not whisper 'marketing' or 'executive coaching' (two fields that have always intrigued me along with 'professional adventurer' and 'industry analyst' and many more juicy vocations).
I keep listening in a sort of inner silence until something clicks and I feel a right answer. - Hotelier Conrad Hilton, Be My Guest
In a nutshell, it said: Pilgrim, you will coach and you will market through stories. Stories.
Not by yourself either, the voice continues, you loner. (Ok, ok, I added the 'you loner'. The voice is gentle. That's how I know it rings true.)
A community of storytellers plumbing the depths of their experience.
Humans are social animals. "Bees cannot make honey alone, and comparably, human beings will not persist on the Way outside the field of confidence and support that fellow travelers generate," says religious scholar Huston Smith in his classic, The World's Religions.
Even the most introverted reflective philosophers and artists aren't entirely loners. I pluck off C.S. Lewis' A Grief Observed from the shelf in my hunt for Julie Powell's 365-day pilgrimage and his stepson's introduction reverberates, "There were few people among his peers who could match him in debate or discussion, and those who could almost inevitably found themselves drawn to one another in a small, tight-knit group which became known as "The Inklings," and which left us with a legacy of literature. J.R.R. Tolkien, John Wain, Roger Lancelyn-Green, and Neville Coghill were among those informal gatherings."
If you're curious where my inklings (pun intended) have led me, here's a preview:
1. Create a community-authored blog on the theme of pilgrimage (plus I have a few more interrelated media ideas brewing or shall I say seeping), under the banner of dwelve.com. At the Adventure Travel Expo, contributing editor to National Geographic Adventure, Costas Christ says that boomers are packing as much life into their remaining years as they can. Heck, aren't we all?
A woman whom redefined the notion of handicapped once wrote, "Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing." And the same woman also: "Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light."
Julie Powell, the author of Julie & Julia, found that marinating, dicing, and flambeing her way out of hopelessness was transformational - and compelling. "She had a bona fide fan base of loyalists who logged on daily to check the progress of her project..."People became really involved in the journey of it," Powell says in the article "The French Connection" in the Sept/Oct 2005 Pages magazine.
True pilgrimage changes lives, whether we go halfway around the world or out to our own backyards. - Martin Palmer
2. Create a network of nonfiction storytellers (anyone interested in writing, film documentaries, oral histories, multimedia blogging, narrative journalism, etc) and provide the equivalent of a literary agency matching artisans' project themes and passions to aligned brands (includes traditional media brands too). If Yahoo can pay Kevin Sites for a one-year around-the-world backpack journalism foray and VISA sponsors the blogs of Winter Olympic athletes, I'm speculating that maybe sponsored bloggers is a trend. (And maybe collaborations.) Nope, not souled out, simply sponsoring your vision as is.
3. Provide a socially architected microfund to provide a boost to incubate and sustain nonfiction storytellers, minipreneurs, or disaster relief victims (many more applications). Inspired by FINCA, Grameen, the Okinawan moai, artist's colonies, Kiva, Robert Paterson's notion of Social Software Aid, NaNoWriMo and many more, the vision is an innovative & social model for matching grants (and longer-term, loans).
Serendipitiously enough, I'm looking for another quote via Google and I stumble across a book with the evocative title The Journey That Never Was and find this:
Hearing God's voice is your most natural ability and it serves you unconditionally. God's voice has one purpose and that is to restore you to the truth of who you are, and it will do that in whatever ways you seek.
Bonus: From a man who writes of following your destiny. (Note title of his first book.) It's never to late to embark on your journey.
CAPEN: So, when did you start writing, and what motivated you to become a writer?
COEHLO: Well, my dream was always to become a writer, but when I went to my mother to tell her that I would like to write books and become a writer, she said,
"Well, of course you can do this, but first you enroll yourself in the law school, become a lawyer, and then (laughs) you'll be able to write in your spare time. Which I did, of course, because sometimes you feel very insecure about the future. But it was then that the hippie generation arrived, and give me strength to quit everything, to quit the law school and started to pursue my dream -- to follow my dream. But I didn't yet write books until 1986 when I wrote my first book, that is currently published here as The Pilgrimage. After that, that time, I was writing, you know, for television, for newspapers, and even lyrics for rock songs that are very popular in Brazil. But The Pilgrimage, my first book, I wrote when I was I was almost thirty-eight years old. I'm now forty-eight. - from October 14, 1995 interview with author Paulo Coelho, aired on the Futurist Radio Hour in the San Francisco Bay Area
p.s. I have no idea when 1, 2, 3 will happen. Spring. Spring is always a good time for regeneration. "The pilgrim's cycle replays nature's pattern of regeneration," echoes Cousineau. Yes spring. "Like ritual processions to churches, synagogues, or mosques, [it] is a progression that moves in a circle... The circle...Campbell...the sequence goes: separation, initiation, return. The goal of the sacred journey is to become whole again as possible. Our longing is the sign that there is a gap in the circle. Our life burns with the desire to complete the circuit with our journey." Sigh. Spring. In the meantime, I'm going off on another pilgrimage.