The World Convention: This convention, which is the first one I've attended since my home in Honolulu, was a kalaidascope. My timing was off on the actual events, but was impecable when it came to meeting up with the right person at the right time. I forgot I signed up for the Wednesday night boat cruise, so ended up staying at my brother's an extra day.
Thursday: When I got on the train, there was a friend from the Big
Island on his way to the convention. We had a nice "train" chat, and
took the cab together. I found my friend from Sydney right away, and we hung out
together for most of Thursday. I ran into some special people I really wanted
to see, but mostly I just wandered around sampling the feel of it all. I didn't
rush anywhere, or make myself show up anywhere; nor was I upset when I missed
anything. I have been to hell and back. My inner self seems to be in this place
of, "I'm just along for the ride". I'm not passive, I had high energy
and enthusiasm for all that happened; but I'm just not piloting the boat anywhere.
Went to the Kickoff Meeting about Unity, and of course it is an incredible
feeling to be in a room with 15 or 20, 000 like-minded persons and have a
common theme together. There is nothing like it. The thing is, that as powerful
as that feeling is, it is illusive. It can pump you up for a very short period
of time, and it can even inspire you for a longer period of time so that you go
out and do things in the name of that spirit. The power of the group, the power
of the many, can make you feel powerful. My reality is that I am interested in
what happens when that feeling goes away. What happens when it's just you and
your life and your trials and your decisions? How do you respond then? The
group can't live my life or walk my path; the group can only be there as a wall
to lean against when I can't stand on my own. I love the fellowship that saved
my life, that gave me back a life to live, that made the journey I've walked on
possible; but I'm not 20,000. I am one and I believe it is the one that
Special moments are the conversation I had with new friend from New Zealand
about taking care of people you love, or maybe have to try and love, when they
are ill. This has been a theme in my life for a long while now, and I am able
to share some of my experience. We did get a
few tears, talking about what’s it’s like to care for someone through illness
and death. It was an intimate real conversation. I had a few talks like that
about other topics throughout the convention. I prefer connecting with a few
people one on one, than trying to seduce the mass; although I did enjoy the energy of ?, 000 screaming meanies!
The line for the Blues Lunch was beyond the pale, but we managed to get in with a bit of sneakiness, and the show was really rockin’. I didn't feel bad because my friend had been very ill, and could not stand in the line. I saw a lot of people I knew, and of course,
got right up next to the stage to take video! Kenny Wayne Shepherd (plug) was the
group and guitarist. Some really good rock blues!!
Later we went to a great Japanese dinner with friends from Sydney and New
Zealand. The restaurant was megaloud, but the company was great and so was the
food. Am always amazed, on the mainland, at how loud everything is, and am
surprised that people eat regularly in such loud, chaotic environments. /Stomach ulcers, anyone!
Made it back to the Comedy Show and had some good laughs, but was very bored
with the family/children jokes. The jokes about us being anonymous, but walking
all around with badges and logo bags were really apt! The whole anonymity
issue has become so difficult in this age of "social media". I'm not
sure how it came about, but it was decided that we could post pictures from our
convention on the net as long as we respect the identity of the participants by
only posting to "friends". So now, if you go to a large convention,
you are in affect giving permission to be posted on the net. Sounds to me like
it was determined that there was no way to stop it or control it, so we
"approved" it. I'm not opposed, because I spread stuff about myself
and my friends all over the internet. I do try to respect and protect anonymity, where I can. I just wonder how
we will address the issue of anonymity in the future, since it seems we've
avoided addressing it now.
Friday: Went to the "Old-timer’s Meeting" which is always one of
my favorites, although I could do without the continual stories about "how
I met JK." Regardless of what anyone tells me, or all the historic stuff “very important peoples” quote; I was in
Northern California in the early 80's, and I never heard a word about JK until
I had been on Maui for several years. I still believe the whole JK thing was a
brilliant PR idea someone thought up in the late 80's in order to make us more
like the other guys, more appealing to the mass, and with the hope that we
would have more credibility if we had a "founder". That is just my
"wild and crazy" opinion, and nothing I've heard from all the
multiple sources about this topic has changed my mind over the years. One of
the things I loved about this group when I first came was that we didn't have a
founder; and especially that we didn't have a male founder. I'm a bit soured to
find out all these years later, that either I was tricked when I first came in,
or we have now acquired something I personally didn't need.
I was wiped out by the end of Friday. Two days of non-stop walking, talking,
visiting, listening; and basically I was exhausted, so my friend and I stayed
in the hotel, caught up and watched a movie together. It reminded me of bonding
with my sisters; watching movies. I was really bummed to miss Trombone Shorty,
but I knew I had to pace myself.
Saturday: We slept in Saturday, and I missed the Jazz Brunch, but
after the crowd at the Blues Lunch, I was okay. We ended up in a meeting at the
Marriott at the end of the first speaker; but I finally heard the best speaker
I heard the whole convention. He was from Texas, and he sang. He's the first and only speaker I've ever heard sing, and it could have been so hokey, but he pulled it off and it was so inspiring.
Friends went off to see other friends, and I went to the Board Forum. I love
to hear the questions asked, and the answers given bridging the gap between
what we expect and what is possible for a world-wide group that has really its only own credibility to fall back on.
After, I grabbed some food and sat in the foyer people watching. I have had
a strong sense this past month that I am not alone. I have felt close to a spirit
that guides me. Being with my family, there has been a lot of reminiscing about
Kent, and then at this convention with so many old friends. While I was sitting
there on my own with an empty chair next to me, I could feel Kent’s energy so
strongly, as if he was sitting right there with me. It was a strange,
beautiful, and comforting feeling. There we were, together, people watching
like we always used to do at these events. It was one of the few times I was
alone, and I wasn’t. And now that I’ve reconnected with my spirit, I know that
I never will be.
Went to a couple of workshops before and after, and heard some great
stories. The best part of that was hearing all the trials others have gone
through, and not found any reason to use or give up their lives. I’m not the
exception. There are many of us who face devastating events in our lives, and
muddle on through, coming out the other side wiser and filled with new life.
Went back to hotel to rest up for big meeting, and ended up reaching out to
someone. I was so glad to be there for them, and they joined us for the
meeting. Of course, it was incredable! After the meeting, we got lost looking for food, and
ended up showing up at the same place with a bunch of friends. Then, we went back to
go to the concert, but finally said “no way”!. Gave our tickets away a to lovely guy, and went
Sunday: Morning meeting sat in front of friends from Maui, and had a great
meeting. Roommate had to leave for airport during meeting, so joined up with
Maui friends. After, we all went to lunch and had a nice recap of our time.
Went and laid by the pool with another friend for the afternoon. Spent the
evening with room service and TV, completely zoned out. I know it doesn’t sound
as exhausting as it really was, but it was an awesome time, and a great send off
for my trip. Although I didn’t go around tracking down people from other
countries, I was reassured that no matter where I go, I will be able to reach
out and have friends and more than friends. I was also inspired to
recommit to being of service in any way I am asked on my trip. I've already been asked to go to an institution in New York, and share in Holland! Reconfirming my
commitment to do the will of my HP along the way and feeling my way along the flow
lines as well as I am able. Bless you all.