A few months back, I stood at the Prime Meridian in England, looking one way to the Eastern Hemisphere and the other way to the Western Hemisphere. I snapped this goofy photo and posted it on the blog with a caption, “Hmm where will I go next, East or West.”
I actually, in that moment, wasn’t questioning at all which direction I’d be going after I left Europe. I felt certain then that I would go to Nepal in November for a month long course I’d signed up for back in July, then to Thailand for Christmas and into the New Year. I was heading East – that was the tentative plan. That’s what I thought then anyway…
I didn’t realize though that I was soon to have a course altering conversation with Vicky – my good friend I stayed with in London, remember? I guess that’s typical of life though, huh, not knowing what the next moment will bring and how it will alter your future… Finally learning to embrace this uncertainty. In my case, it seems these moments tend to lead me from one country to another, sometimes hopping continents, which I’ve just done.
So, here’s what happened… I was at Vicky’s back in September and I shot out of bed one morning with this feeling that I was supposed to do something for my cousin Nolan. For those that don’t know, Nolan is my 11-year-old cousin from my North Carolina family that I spent time with last Christmas. He has spina bifida and limb girdle muscular dystrophy. His mother is my 1st cousin and we were very close growing up, although our lives have taken us down very different paths, and we haven’t had the opportunity to be close in decades.
Going through my divorce last year and trying to figure out my path for the future, I felt the need to reconnect with family and decided to spend the holidays with them. That’s when I got to know Nolan and he just stole my heart! I was hopeful then that the trip to North Carolina would grab me as the new place I’d want to start my life over, but it didn’t feel quite right… And dammit, I’m not doing things anymore that don’t feel 100% right! A month later I was securing a storage unit in Key West, contemplating the start of a blog and looking at one-way tickets to India. My life was about to change.
Ok, so back to the feeling that made me leap out of bed… I don’t think ‘feeling’ is actually the appropriate word because that implies it was fleeting and questionable whether I’d take action or not. No, no, it’s more, I was compelled with strong conviction to do something – SOMETHING… I had no idea what though. How could I possibly do anything to help? Long story short, the same day I shot out of bed thinking of Nolan, I saw on facebook another friend who had started a fundraiser page to aid in his continued volunteering efforts in India. I donated… Whoa, if this guy can get his friends to donate for expenses while he volunteers, people will definitely donate to help Nolan and his family. And just like that the Nolan’s Way give forward site was born. We’ve raised $16,000 so far, by the way… Hurrah!
My working on the give forward site at Vicky’s flat led us to discuss Nolan at length and led Vicky to share a story with me. She told me about her visit to see a healer years earlier named John of God in Brazil. She told me miracles are happening there and that I may want to consider visiting if I wanted to help Nolan. Ummm whoa, that’s heavy… Miracles… Like real miracles? Seriously?
Vicky’s story was compelling and I spent the following weeks looking into this John of God fellow online. Vicky is one of the smartest people I know and I trust her completely, but this is just too far beyond comprehension. I continued on to find a lot of interesting information online… No, Eryn, this is crazy… Next subject – you’re going to Nepal – moving on. But my mind kept coming back to it – I couldn’t keep my thoughts from returning to this healer. What if miracles are happening? What if? You could go check it out Eryn… I was surprised to see online that some big names from the U.S had been to see John of God; Oprah and Wayne Dyer, the American spiritual guru, just to name a few. This strangely made me feel a bit better about pitching it to my family. For skeptical Americans with deeply embedded Christian routes this might be just too much to fathom. But Eryn, how can you turn away if there’s any chance it could be real. And Vicky’s been there! And all these events unfolded to get you to London and to Vicky’s. You weren’t even supposed to go to London and never ever in a million years would have considered this if you hadn’t heard her story.
So I asked myself a few questions… Can I admit to myself that there are things happening in this world that are beyond intellectual comprehension? Yes! If we as educated, rational, free thinking human beings can allow ourselves to believe in God*, which frankly, is equally as irrational and comes with no scientific proof, how is this different? Hmmm, interesting point! How do we decipher which irrational, improbable things are valid and which are not? Ummm, I don’t know. More importantly, what makes us so rigid in our beliefs that we could dismiss this? How could I? And he’s not anti-God anyway, he says God works through him. Hmmm.
* 86% of Americans believe in God per 2007 Gallup pole
After weeks of brooding and having internal arguments with myself over how crazy this was, I finally just decided I had to go check it out. I mean, from a distance (everyones normal life in America) it would be nearly impossible to justify coming here to check it out. Who would spend their vacation time in Abadiania? Ummm no one! But I’m already out here traveling and I would’ve likely made it to South America anyway, so why not? If there’s an ounce of truth to what’s happening, well then I have to go… For Nolan, and for my other dear friend Laura, who has a rare immune disorder. Even if you won’t be able to persuade Nolan’s family to be open to this, you know Laura will be receptive. You have to check this out Eryn! You have to go!
Here’s a link to read some on John of God if you’re interested http://www.johnofgod-healing.com/frm_john_of_god.asp
So, that’s how I ended up in Brazil. I said my emotional goodbyes to my London people, baahaahahaha when will I see them again, hopped an early Monday morning flight from Heathrow and arrived late last night. It was 16 hours of flying and a 2 hour taxi ride to a small town in nowhere farmville Brazil named Abadiania.
I’ve been exposed to so much while I’ve been out here on my travels – cultures, religions, people, philosophies, varied experiences, wine, gelato off topic Eryn. If there’s anything I’ve learned on this trip, it’s to trust my instincts and intuition and follow what my heart tells me with full force.
Was this meant to be that I learned of John of God and made the decision to come here? Will it be a wild goose chase with no tangible results? Who knows… And it doesn’t matter, really. I’m taking this leap of faith with an open heart and an open mind, but with no expectations and that’s enough for me.
Side note: Soul sister Siggy is in Nepal at the month long course I was signed up for. I am missing her, but I know this is where I was meant to be. I think it’s kind of cute we both were flying at the same time on Monday. She, from Thailand to Nepal, and me from London to Brazil. We were meant to join forces in Nepal this week, but I took a detour. Who knows when I’ll see her again, but I’m thinking of her as we’re both rejoining cultures of spiritual growth from two different continents.
P.S. For anyone who donated to the Nolan’s Way fundraiser, I just want to mention that all of your donations are going towards helping the family buy a house that will accommodate Nolan’s progressive needs. I am funding this trip to Brazil from my travel budget. Didn’t want any question marks on that.
So, stay tuned… There will surely be some interesting stories in the upcoming posts, coming to you from Abadiania, home of John of God.