In any life, in the reduction of the actions and choices that take a person on their journey, after all the stuff of a personâs existence is burned or rotted away, what remains is something quite remarkable. For lack of a better word you could call that something grace.
It exists everywhere. Yet one cannot hoard it. The more selfish that one is, the less of it will remain. I crave grace, because in it, is an abundance and flow that changes and converts a world (and myself) from being entropic to regenerative. Human beings are like buckets with holes in them. WeÂ only hold things like grace for so long, and it all seeps out of the bottom of our hearts. We need flow to keep our bucket full. Making our requirement, one of perpetual motion.
It is in our architecture, and that is what makes humans: frustrating, terrible, beautiful and wondrous. Each is always in itâs own unique level of grace. Our actions, well, they often are a reflection of the content of our hearts. We need more continually.Â But gratitude, giving, it all brings grace. Suddenly we need less. And peace flows.
It is like the universe has an invisibleÂ dimension where an eternal throbbing, pulsing flow of light and sound exist that carry all the energy that is love, nourishment and flow for the bucket. But to get a dose, man needs to first give some from his own bucket, all the while being well aware that it has holes and all that you cherish is fast running out on to the ground.
In a country,which seems on the surface to have fallen from grace, I have seen recently the most amazing proof that A) This is probably far from reality and B) I have been letting my own bucket run too dry.
I had not noticed, till our economic crash caused this great big sucking sound and I looked and saw my bucket was starting to suck air the same manner in which a drain does as the last of the water runs out. Whoa what to do?Â Simple. I dipped my bucket when I poured all that I had left, onto the ground.
This blog is me doing that. The Intuit Small Business United Project where I gave more than I would consider doing for myself is another. (That story and video with about 4000 views in ten days is here and you can still watch read and participate with your comments and votes if you like, but it ends tonight)Â The grand reward in these past several months came as I witnessed an outpouring and connection with the people of a new tribe via Intuit,Â and a fresh flow commenced that began to once again, fill me.
We are all a lot nicer to be around when we have grace. But to see it, you somehow need to give it, without respect of cost or person. It is your ticket for entry into a river which never runs dry. It always has that affect.
In my life one of the best illustrations of grace occurred for me on the Island of Nias, which is off Sumatra in Indonesia. I was on a photo trip and it had taken days of difficult travel to reach the malaria infested place which is home to one of surfingâs wonders of the world.
Lagundri Bay funnels the energy of storms which come screaming off the Antarctic ice cap on to a reef which creates possibly one of the most amazing waves I have ever experienced.
The trip had been arduous in more ways than I will say here. Just flat out hard. I was in a steep learning curve phase in my life and career. The short of it is that I had almost drowned alone doing something I traveled there to do, capture an image. Finding myself at the end of my rope in the dark at the edge of the civilized world had been revelatory.
In the hills high above the bay is the village of Botohilitano. The area had long been populated by an indigenous population of head hunters whose culture embraced the tenets of black and red magic. A long history of people had disappeared in the area and their heads were used in the consecration of the foundations of Botohilitano village.
Visiting the place was something which I did not look forward to. I had studied bible and missionary work under a rather unique man named Lester Sumrall who had spent a lifetime working in the mission fields of the world. Sumrall spent life doing one basic thing: giving. I had learned much from and through him in courses through his college, about man and flow. None of that made me desire in any shape or form to want to actually go up to Botohilitano.Â It was a long walk up a steep hill where the village was established, to keep it out of the reach of the tsunamis, which would regularly devastate this land sitting on the edge of the ring of fire. You had to really want to go there
But the day came when one of the guys on the trip, Ryan, borrowed a scooter and said, âHey lets go.â Big camera bag on back, we putt-putted up the near vert climb as the rusty scooter strained at the load and grade. It was a dismal day for Indonesia. Think grey. As we approached the buttressed gates of the village my dread grew and lay on me like a heavy blanket. I knew what lay in and below the surface of perception. The thought of it sickened me as I knew how those people had died, based on my study of the tribes in that region.
A funny thing happened as we climbed off the scooter and slowly walked up the steps and into the megalithic village site. I remember it clearly as the dawn bursting into the frame of one of my images. As we stood in the central courtyard, that heavy blanket lifted and I could literally feel joy in that quiet ancient place. I was stunned.
We met and played a bit with some of the children and unobtrusively sort of browsed the old place for a couple hours. In leaving the village the entire process sort of reversed. Both Ryan and I remarked on it as we headed back down to Lagundri Bay. You could feel the place leaving you.
The next day I ran across Mark Flint, an Aussie guy who I becameÂ friends with. He had pioneered the recent developments in Lagundri and had been in on the original tribe of surfers who had found the place. I asked Mark about the village. My simple, “Hey what gives with that village on the hill?â brought an amused smile and remark that I will always remember.
He said, âOh Botohilitano? Why, they are all Christians. Some years back a group of missionaries went up there and were slaughtered. Later, another group of missionaries went up and the entire villageÂ converted, based on how the first group had died. Itâs a wonderful place isnât it?â Nothing had been the same since and the head hunting and human sacrifice had ceased.
What I learned though, in my own process, is that it was not in the dying that everything changed for that little corner of the earth, but it was in that first groups choice of how to live. Do you really believe in what you say? What will you do? Would you die for it? Will you live by it? It is not that difficult a thing to do, to die. It is an act that each one of us must embrace at some point. That is part of physicality.
But the choice in living through grace, that is something amazing. Empty your bucket. Make a choice. Stick with it. Watch what happens. Your world is about to change, and it will be a good thing.
One of my new friends through the Group Tribes, is Ed Brenegar. He has a great blog on gratitude called Say Thanks Every Day here.
Everything you see was created through sound. In my Hawaiian culture, music is one of the threads the tribe always espoused and embraced. I have always thought that this put the ancient Hawaiians in the flow that caused the huge outward migration that colonized the Pacific and beyond, long before Western Man. One person who embraces flow, grace and gratitude in elegant fashion is musician Ben Harper. This video piece illustrates it well. Thanks to Frank Quirarte for pointing it out.
Another piece of music, that takes one on a sweet walk to grace is by my friend, Ventura based writer and performer Zuri Star and is right here. “Walk with me” is an invitation we all need to send.
Seth Godin has a great little lesson for the Tribe here. Read between the lines and you will understand exactly why I included it.
Below you will see two images. In the gallery you can click on them and see their back story. They are yours.Â Each is significantÂ to me. Below each image is a yousendit link which will eventually expire. You can download the print file and have my permission as the creator of that image to use it for personal use. They are my expression of gratitude for all of you who read this blog, contribute to my own well being and existence, and have borne with me in this Intuit event which many of you have been so generous in contributing video views, votes and comments on. 4000 views? I am blown away by your grace.
This amazing comment/quote was sent to me recently by Bill Babin, who also contributed the fantastic Ford Video which is in Connectedness.
You didn’t come into this world. You came out of it, like a wave from the ocean. You are not a stranger here.
Alan Watts (1915 – 1973)
Thank you all. The bucket is full.Â Imagine that.