Travelogue, part 1
When I wake up after a rather short and bad night, I walk to the window and open the curtains. In front of me I see an unrealistic, idyllic scene: a sun-drenched square with swaying palm trees, people walking around in bikinis in a kind of paradise environment. No masks, cheerful chatter. It looks like the set of a movie. The Truman Show. Brave New World. The Floxton Paradise. I squeeze my arm. I’m awake. I close the curtains.
Yesterday I arrived with Anne in Sharm el Sheich as the start of a long journey. We booked at a beach resort on the Red Sea, to go from there to the mountain of Moses. Mount Horeb, in the middle of the Sinai desert. This trip had been on the program for a year; last year I was supposed to make the trip from Sinai to Israel with a group of men, but Corona threw a spanner in the works. Now, exactly a year later, I am dedicated to go. This time together with three women: Anne, my love, Maria Vendrik and Monique Willemsen. I have already made many trips with all three: With Maria and Monique to Gaza, Jericho, Ararat, Rwanda, and many other destinations. Both Maria and Monique accompany trips through the Middle East themselves. It is nice to go out together again. We have no idea yet what the journey will bring us. It is truly a “Journey into the Unknown.”
Later, when I walk a little uncomfortably through the paradise garden, I realize that it is somewhat reminiscent of our world as I experienced it in recent years – prior to Corona: everyone is walking around, shopping, partying, swimming and eating. But appearances can be deceiving. On the horizon I see two “fake” palm trees with all cell towers attached to them. I feel the poverty of Egypt behind the walls of the Beach Resort. Behind the beautiful appearance, I see the painful truth of a world in crisis. I felt it, but it wasn’t yet visible. After a year of Corona, everything seems to have changed. The crisis has surfaced. Corona has brought to light everything that did not work or was not in balance – both in ourselves and in the world. We crave redemption, but how? For the time being, it seems that we are becoming increasingly lost in reproaches, chaos, opinions and theories. Underneath I feel fear and despair.
I am not doing quite well either. I have felt for months that I have to take this journey. Via Egypt to Israel. But Israel has been hermetically sealed for months. So maybe we can enter through the back door; across the border at Taba, but everything is still closed there too. Meanwhile, a dear friend is fighting for her life in the hospital in Jerusalem. She has bone cancer. In some magical way, I feel totally connected to her, just like Anne, and we feel we need to assist her. She is a source of inspiration and anchor for us in this chaotic time. She seems to be fighting the same battle that the world is fighting, but in her own body, to the bone.
Ultimately, the moment is there. After a lot of preparation, tests and forms, but especially a lot of worries and inner demons, we leave. The journey is unreal. What used to be so common is suddenly a collosal undertaking. While in essence nothing has changed. The plane to Istanbul is overcrowded, with Muslims going home to celebrate the New Year. At the airport in Istanbul we can eat in a restaurant for the first time. What a wonder. The flight to Sharm El Sheich is also packed, this time with Russians and Ukrainians all going on vacation. What do you mean 1.5 meters distancing? What do you mean Corona? The first cracks in the wall are starting to show themselves. It seems as if our world has been in a collective psychosis or delusion for a year now. Is everything real? Or are we watching a big theatre play? Nobody can tell. Corona is all too real, as I have experienced myself. Much more than just a “flu”, as some have claimed. But it is no longer clear whether the remedy is still in proportion to the disease. The only thing that is clear is that we are in a grotesque story with the entire world population and that we have to work it out together. But how?
Our way out of the chaos is to go to a holy mountain, where Moses was once given the Ten Commandments on Two Tablets. That wasn’t a piece of cake either. While he was upstairs talking to God, his people began to worship the golden calf. More on that later. Somehow our journey is about finding a way out, a solution for all of us. How? We have no clue yet.
In the weeks before, I let go of all pretensions and expectations about the trip. “Are you here for the world or for yourself?” I once heard a shaman ask when I traveled to Belucha, the sacred mountain on the border of Siberia and Mongolia. (read the ‘The Seventh Gate’)
“For the world?” I replied hesitantly.
“Wrong,” the shaman roared. ‘For yourself! There is nothing outside of yourself. Don’t be arrogant. You don’t mean anything to the world. Work on yourself first. “
That thought came back to me last week. I struggled with all kinds of inner demons, experiences and hurts, and it seemed only fair to go to the mountain very humbly, just for myself.
As Maria, Monique, Anne and I tune in for the journey, while sitting at the pool, Anne makes a prayer to bless the journey. Mary washes our feet as a gesture of healing. I ask the Great Mother for permission in my mind to go on this new path. She looks at me lovingly and asks, “Are you coming for the world or are you coming for yourself?”
Fortunately, I know better now. “For myself,” I answer.
“Wrong!” She thunders. Ahead the music swells at the pool. “You come here for the world!” The chills run down my spine. Immediately I see thousands of people around us. I feel the world’s despair. I feel the support on the journey of so many people who wholeheartedly support us. And I feel the power of the magic of this journey… Something big wants to reveal itself, but I don’t know what. I can only follow my own steps, both humble and at the same time with my head held high. Small and big at the same time.
TO BE CONTINUED
Do you want to travel and support us? We find it great to tune in regularly and to create a field of love with a larger circle. Our first goal is the next full moon, March 28, on which the Jewish Passover falls. We will climb Mount Sinai the night before and tune in from there.