I am in the air above the Atlantic Ocean. The murmurs of a flight completely full of passengers cannot be heard over the roar of the airplane engines. I have been too busy to write a blog this last few days. The workshop in Prague finished with a standing ovation. It was my favorite workshop yet. It is a kind of heaven to me that with the use of technology and interpreters, I can address a packed audience full of people who do not speak the same language as myself and still accomplish the same collective healing experience. And what words do not accomplish, faces do. I love nothing more than connecting with people in the audience. I love the intimacy of exchanging looks with them. It is as if my heart sees them so clearly, and their hearts see me. It makes me feel like I do have a family among the people of the world. And by becoming well known, I’ve enabled them to finally find me.
So far, Prague is my favorite city in the world. It is the most beautiful city I’ve ever been to. I walked around Old Town Prague yesterday; through the narrow stone streets and Romanesque buildings, which look like a scene I imagined while reading fantasy novels while I was a little girl. The only word to describe Prague is magic. It feels like you could turn the corner and run right into an actual dragon or unicorn. I bought jewelry from the street venders on the Charles Bridge. I made a wish (a traditional gesture) while touching the statue of a saint on the bridge. I visited the Castle and the adjoining Cathedral. I ate stevia sweetened chocolate from a vender. I watched horse drawn carriages go by and swans float on the sparkling Vltava river. I have fallen in love with Prague. I could easily live there. There is something fantasy like about its land and its ancient buildings and its people. Even after everything that has occurred there throughout its history, its magic has transcended its pain. And day after day, the people continued to amaze me. I felt welcomed at every turn.
When I first arrived to Prague, I participated in a ‘spiritual panel’ of sorts at a building that was once a slaughterhouse. I was on stage with other spiritual teachers. During the event, when it became obvious that there would be no window for productive debate, only a theological fight between myself and another teacher on stage (whose teachings completely conflicted with my own), I excused myself from stage in order to avoid entering into a heated public conflict with him. It is the first time I have ever walked off stage in my life. Because of the response it elicited, it will probably be the last. I am not naturally a person who shys away from conflict. I love constructive debate. I simply don't like when I am hired so that people can see a theological war between myself and other 'experts' in my field for the sake of good entertainment. But I did not make any friends doing that. Many people were angry with me because of that decision. The next day two people confronted me. One who called me a coward directly to my face, the other who told me they decided based on my withdrawal, to attend the other man’s workshop instead of mine. And when I showed up at the auditorium to speak at the Festival Evolution, I was told that my withdrawal the previous night had earned me a reputation as ‘a difficult, self centered, American princess with an unnecessarily large entourage’. It also made for an uncomfortable topic of conversation on the TV show I appeared on in Prague. When we were sitting in the studio, the host informed me through the translator that she has never received more personally attacking messages in her life than when she publicized the fact that she was having me on the show. She told me that she has noticed that people either love me or hate me. I am not only controversial in the United States it turns out. Unfortunately, my misunderstood withdrawal from the panel discussion has made this even more the case now.
We had a rather surprising thing happen in Prague, people kept commenting on how expensive my workshop was to attend. In fact, unbeknownst to me it had created a big uproar prior to my arrival. Many of the Czech people do not think it is appropriate for people to make money from spirituality. The economy is not good in Prague, so even though the event was relatively cheap by US standards to attend, it was expensive for people in Prague. Many people denounced me as a spiritual leader completely over the price of my workshop. This shocked me. It is hard to produce so much free content every week and to have made it a point to try to remain accessible to people and to still be told that "I'm all about the money".
Most people do not run their own companies and so most people do not understand that there is so much to do in order to make a company run, that the owner of the company seldom has any hand in the minute details of how the company runs. They seldom make any of the small decisions, like setting workshop prices. They seldom have time to answer e-mails or oversee other people’s work. But they still get blamed for everything that goes on in the business.
The minute decisions related to my business are not made by me. For example, we trust people in the area we are visiting to set the ticket price based on all the variables that go into paying for a production. We have to pay for travel and accommodation and equipment and we have to pay incredibly high prices for venues that can accommodate hundreds if not thousands of people. The typical price of venue space for a day is between $16,000 and $20,000 dollars. Many factors go into setting the price for a workshop ticket. Many of these factors, no one would know existed, unless they had put on a workshop or owned a company themselves. But it has been an unpleasant wakeup call for the entire team.
I was sad to leave Prague. A was especially sad to leave the people there. For example, I will miss the man who set up the workshop there and hosted me. I will miss the smile of his eyes. I will miss how warm he is and how generous he is. I will miss the feeling of him watching me to see my reaction to his city and the self-satisfaction that arose within him when he could see that I was pleased. I will miss one of our guides on the trip. We share the exact same birthday down to the year. I will miss feeling like I have someone that completely understands my mind and emotions. I will miss how expressive he is and how he enthusiastic he is about helping people to be completely themselves. And I will miss our photographer/guide for the trip. I will miss her graceful, swan like movements most of all. I will miss the slightly alien feel of her face and how observant she is. I will miss the overwhelming kindness that radiates through her self-depreciating nature.
I left Prague at 5 am yesterday, thinking that I would arrive back in the United States 13 hours later on that very same day. I was in for a surprise. When we went to catch the plane from Paris France to The US, due to an immigrations problem, they would not let us on the plane. When they finally resolved the issue, our plane had already left and so, we had to pay a ridiculous amount of money for 4 new tickets to the United States from France the next day. We were all emotionally exhausted from the process, but after a while, it dawned on us all that we were stranded in Paris for the day. So, we did what any person in their right mind would do… Go see Paris! We went to the Louvre. There is no way to see the Louvre in one day, much less in a matter of hours. It is the largest museum I’ve ever seen, and the most crowded. The splendor of the place and magnitude of the place is not describable. And I was left astounded at the loss of craftsmanship in humanity over the last 200 years. Art has declined as technology has risen. Anyone who does not believe me should visit the Louvre. I must say that there are things inside that building that I will never forget. I am haunted in particular by a painting called “La Jeune Martyre” by Paul Delaroche. I could have stood in front of that painting for hours. There was something in the subject of the painting that I related to. It was painful and beautiful all at once. I also saw the Mona Lisa. I have decided that I am going to do an entire Blog on that painting alone. It fascinates me. It is the most famous painting in the world. I went to see it in order to try to find out why. I will write about that in my blog about it. But I can tell you that you will never forget the moment you see it in person.
After the Louvre, we went to Dinner with one of our French contacts.
When the dinner ended, we decided to go back to a hotel, but luckily we lost our way to the train station. Instead, we spotted the Eiffel tower and decided to go over for a look (to the right is a picture we took of Blake there). Being extrasensory, I am not a fan of major metropolitan cities, but Paris is lovely. Belonging to the French, it is a sensual city. The French do not hold a strong vibration of self-punishment. They are much more indulgent. As a result, the pain in their cities is diffused by the air of arts, culture, pleasure and refinement. There is a gentle, sensual richness and depth to Paris. The French are more expressive than suppressive. As a result, their cities are not as rushed and there is not an oppressive feeling of doom. Even though Paris is a large city, it manages to emit a feel of coziness, especially as the sun goes down upon it. We went into a French pastry shop, (because it is practically a sin to go to Paris and not go into a French pastry shop). We took a coffee flavored éclair and a strawberry tart to the grassy field below the Eiffel tower and each of us had a small bite of them to commemorate the moment. I wish sugar and flour did not destroy my wellbeing in the way that it does. No one can compete with the French when it comes to desserts. French desserts are a whole other level of amazing. They are so good, it is hard to think or breathe when you are eating them. The four of us watched the sunset stretch across the sky behind the Eiffel tower before finding the closest subway entrance and making our way back to our hotel room.
We have five hours left before we land. I am watching a mother hold her one-year-old son in her arms. They are both sleeping. His little eyelashes are touching his chubby cheeks and his hand is locked around one of the ebony colored cornrows that has been woven out of his mother’s hair. I miss my son. This is the longest I have ever been away from him. Separation from the people that we love is an unnatural state. It goes against our most primal instincts. It goes against the oneness that is the very basis of our universe.
I have decided that the family is going to go into the deep red of the desert for a few days with me upon my return. We are in need of wilderness after having spent such a long period of time in cities. I want to hear the silence of the desert again.