I'm so grateful to be in sunny, balmy, breezy Sydney, Australia. The silent portion of The Silent Project (tSp) begins one week from today, on Janury 23, 2014.
I didn't deliberately plan to be in Australia to launch The Silent Project.
Instead, I'd learned about six months ago-- before The Silent Project had even entered my awareness-- that Grethe Fremming, co-founder of Transformational Kinesiology (TK), would be in Sydney in January to teach TK7, the final level of the Transformational Kinesiology courses.
It's been nearly ten years since I embarked on the study of this esoteric healing practice. TK has changed my life in so many ways. One of the most powerful transformations has been in the palpable positive shift in my relationship with my dad. Before TK, things had gotten pretty rocky between us. Within a year, imperceptible yet very powerful changes had manifested and since then, Dad and I have organically developed a different way of connecting with one another. It doesn't involve hiding who we are from one another or putting on a mask. Instead, TK facilitated my ability to experience, witness and be with Dad in a completely different way. Of course, Dad still worries about my safety, health & well-being (just as Mom does), yet somehow post-TK, we're able to transcend the fears and worries and "water under the bridge" to share deeper conversations and loving words and warm hugs. I'd missed those during the "disconnected years" and I'm deeply grateful for the TK tools, balances and techniques that have restored harmony to our relationship without angst, drama or superficial phoniness.
Grethe lives in Denmark and doesn't make it to the US very often to teach any more. In 2006, I flew to Sydney for my first visit to "the land down under" to take TK4 with Grethe and her late husband, partner, coach, and gentle soul, Rolf Havsbøl. I've been waiting more than six years for TK7 to be offered, so when I heard that I could return to Sydney in January 2014 to take the final intensive training course, I felt compelled to be there to complete the training curriculum.
The class began today. It was tight timing to get to Sydney. I chose to forego sleep many nights in order to be able to achieve all I wanted to accomplish before my departure.
My mom's 80th birthday was January 11th. I wanted to be with Mom (& Dad) in Houston, Texas to celebrate this milestone (and to celebrate Dad's 85th a month early). I was also committed to being in Sydney for TK7. At first, I didn't think the scheduling would allow me to do both. I explained the situation to Mom and told her I'd be in Australia during her birthday, but that we'd celebrate another time.
It was Steve who gently reminded me of the timing of Mom's birthday *and* the TK course schedule. I had revealed The Silent Project to him along with my intention to embark on a year of listening differently during which I would not be speaking. I didn't know how he'd react to this, and was grateful to hear him encourage me to follow my path with full support from him, no matter what it entailed. Always one to consider logistics, Steve asked how I would be able to participate in the TK intensive training program if I wasn't speaking. Hmmm. I'd initially thought I'd begin the silent portion of tSp on the 1st of January, but now... Well, I suppose I could start the year of silence after TK7 was over. While the practice of TK works effectively with the setting of intention-- with or without speech-- and can certainly be facilitated silently, I recognized that my silence might be received negatively during the partnering with other participants during the training. I also tend to ask a lot of questions to clarify my understanding during the TK courses to facilitate my absorbing the intention and practice of TK. Not being able to ask the questions verbally and in the moment might limit my ability to receive the information in the course. Likewise, I was making up that my brothers and parents would not accept or respect my being in silence during Mom's 80th birthday celebration, and instead, might accuse me of hijacking my mom's celebration and making it "all about me," through my choice to do something so different, so outlandish, so "extreme" that is outside the norm. So... I recognized that I could set the date to begin the year of silence to start on some date after Mom's birthday (January 11) and after TK7 training concludes (with the final class session on January 20). Thus, I chose January 23 as my first "official" day of silence to launch my year of listening differently.
It was wonderful to surprise Mom with the news that I would be able to fly to Houston to celebrate her birthday.
And now here I am on day one of TK7.
My host, Natalie, lives in the Taylor Square area, conveniently and centrally located in Sydney. She walked me to the bus stop. I'm so grateful to Natalie for opening her home and her heart to me. She is as thoughtful and considerate as any person I've met.
Last night, we took a stroll through the neighborhood to find a convenience store that sells bus passes so I could purchase one and easily take the bus to and from Randwick where TK7 is being taught at The Centre on Frances Street.
Eight years ago, when I was here for TK4, I was invited to stay in the home of Abby, a TK participant, and her husband, John. This time, I again sent a request through Gail, the organizer of the TK workshop, to see if anyone taking the course who lived locally was willing to accommodate me. Nothing manifested, so I posted on Couchsurfing www.couchsurfing.org to see if I would be invited to stay in the home of a member of this generous community. Natalie responded and I'm so grateful because it's giving me an opportunity to get to know her and to connect with such a fun, spontaneous and generous new friend. I look forward to her visiting us in California whenever she comes to the United States.
Natalie had said I could take either bus 373 or 377 to get to my destination. 377 was the first to arrive and I stepped inside. I confirmed that the route would go to Cook St and Frances St in Randwick. It was about a 20-minute ride. The driver kindly alerted me when we arrived at the appropriate stop. I got off and turned around, not sure which direction to go. Another woman had just exited the same bus. As I glanced about, I realized it was Abby. It was amazing that we'd been on the same bus. (She'd gotten on much earlier than I had from a different part of Sydney.) Of all the buses that travel to this destination with the different options each of us had, it was truly remarkable. Such serendipity. I was happy to see Abby's beautiful smiling face. We walked to the class together and as we did so, we briefly got caught up on the last 8 years since we'd last been in TK training together.
TK7 deals with using fragrance, color and sound to facilitate transformation and healing. It's exciting to be learning about these tools to support myself and others. For the past couple of years, I've been actively researching and using essential oils for healing, comfort and relief. I was so impressed with the effectiveness of the products from doTERRA brand certified pure, therapeutic grade essential oils that I chose to become a distributor. Many of the oils are appropriate not only for aromatic use, but also for topical and internal use. I've brought about a dozen oils with me to use in this experiential training.
If you'd like to explore the benefits of such high quality oils, I invite you to visit my website, www.doTERRA.com/kacichristian. If you're interested in purchasing any of these oils, I invite you to sign up under "quick links" to become a preferred customer for a one-time fee of $10. Preferred customers receive 20% off of the retail prices shown and there is no minimum order or frequency of purchases. (The discounts will be automatically applied in the shopping cart.)
I bring quite a few oils with me when I travel, always asking for the quart-size ziploc bag to be hand-checked and not put through the x-ray machine, since these are medicinal quality. This trip is no exception. I've got some oils with me now and am really pleased to work with them in a new way. These essential oils have become my go-to "medicines" and I've done a complete medicine cabinet makeover, no longer housing aspirin, ibuprofen or any other over-the-counter (OTC) or prescribed pharmaceuticals. (Call your local city to determine how to safely dispose of unneeded pills. In my community, the local police department has a bin to accept unneeded pills to dispose of them safely, rather than my getting rid of them by flushing them down the toilet where they end up in the local water supply.)
I mentioned The Silent Project to Grethe and she nodded, instantly understanding the intention for this year to experience listening differently. It is right for you, she said. I was appreciative of having her blessing and support in this journey.
When class was over, Abby and I returned to the bus stop and rode back into central Sydney.
As soon as I got off the bus, I spied a Thai massage place. Man, that sounded so good. My muscles were tense and sore after two days of extensive travel and cramped quarters. I acted on impulse. I went in. I asked about the availability to have a traditional Thai massage, and was told that there was an appointment available. I phoned Natalie to let her know that I wouldn't be back at her place as early as I'd expected. She said she'd meet me there after the massage and that we could have dinner together.
I was getting dressed when I heard her voice in the waiting area.
It had been a beautiful day, and I was happy to have a friend with whom to eat.
Natalie suggested a favorite Thai food restaurant. The menu offered "Som Tum," a fresh papaya salad, that I knew could be made without fish sauce or shrimp to make it vegan-friendly. We went in, sat down and chatted about our day.
While we were sitting, two men walked past the restaurant entrance, suddenly turned to come in and the tall blond man immediately made a beeline for our table.
"This is the woman I was telling you about, the one who's doing The Silent Project!" he exclaimed to his companion.
I was a little dumbfounded, and struggled to remember why he looked familiar.
He said, "I'm so happy to see you. I wanted to introduce you to my friend. He just did a ten-day silent retreat!"
I invited them to join us. They sat down at the adjacent table.
I still had no idea who this man was or why I recognized him. I am usually quite good with names and remembering people. But I'd only been in Sydney for fewer than 24 hours and didn't remember meeting anyone other than Mohammed in the Vidaphone shop at the Sydney airport and Elizabeth in the Duty-Free Shop. Other than Natalie and me, no one knew that we would be dining in this Thai restaurant, either.
While I was talking with his friend and discovering our shared experiences as alumni of the 10-day Vipassana meditation course (www.dhamma.org), the blond man was talking animatedly with Natalie.
After about ten minutes, the blond man announced that they had plans to meet other friends and we said our goodbyes.
Shortly thereafter, our entrees were delivered to the table.
Natalie filled me in on what I'd missed.
The blond man had shared with her that he works in the Duty-Free Shop at the Sydney Airport and that yesterday, he'd overheard me talking with his colleagues.
Oh, yes. I remembered smiling at him as I walked past him to exit the Duty-Free shop yesterday. But we had only exchanged smiles.
He had explained to Natalie that he is quite good with manifesting and that he had visualized running into me in Sydney when he was with his friend who's done the silent retreat. Amazing, right? Sydney is a huge city, and this man didn't know my contact information. He didn't even know my name. He didn't know where I was staying. And yet, he found me in some random restaurant and achieved his intention of connecting me with his friend. (I still don't know their names.)
He'd also told Natalie that years ago, he was a big fan of the Spice Girls and had entered a contest to interview one of the Spice Girls. (Mel B, perhaps?) His friends and family told him he didn't have a shot. He didn't pay them any mind. He visualized interviewing this woman, and lo and behold, his name was chosen and he experienced this opportunity. Later, he also got the chance to interview Victoria Beckham. And then ran into her in a bar in LA awhile later, too.
I was touched that my having shared about The Silent Project generated his thinking about me and being inspired to connect me with his friend. He said that he, too, would undertake the Vipassana 10-day meditation course soon.
It was a day filled with unexpected and perhaps inexplicable synchronicities. It's a small world, after all.