When I go out to meet the light, the shadow of my body follows me, but the shadow of my spirit precedes me and leads the way to an unknown place
- Kahlil Gibran

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Yesterday I went to the passport office in another fruitless attempt to conclude an endless series of visits to renew my passport. Over the past 3 months I've literally been there about a dozen times, so that now I think I can drive my car down the winding ramps to the visitor underground parking on level P5 by muscle memory. Ordinarily renewing the passport is automated and takes one day. But I have this curse... I am cursed to suffer in all matters of immigration.

The curse was first realized many many years ago during my university days in Vancouver when my friend's dog made her way into my school bag drawn by the scent of a beef sandwich. Incredibly, the mutt found the taste of my immigration papers that I had kept in my bag more appealing than the sandwich itself. Two thirds of the document was in her belly before I knew something was amiss, while the sandwich was untouched.

I remember that process to replace that document. It took months to replace it because somehow, the process of replacing those papers mysteriously got stalled somewhere in Ottawa. I had to make a visit to the immigration office again after 2 months to inquire about it since I needed the papers to enlist in the Canadian military as a reservist. That delay meant I missed the enrollment for that summer. And that summer instead of learning about armored reconnaissance, I had met my first girlfriend in a nightclub.

Eventually those papers were replaced. The best the Canadian authorities could do was to provide me with a signed photocopy of the original which by then was fertilizing my friend's backyard. And so, the shady appearance of the replacement immigration papers would torment me on many occasions as I traversed the borders into the United States. Each time I tried to explain the photocopy along with the mangled torn corner of the original, the US immigration officer or airline check-in person would typically look at me with an incredulous look that said "yeah, right buddy, couldn't you have come up with a more compelling story?". I actually missed a flight once to return to California because the US embassy, being closed on a Sunday, could not corroborate that the document was valid.

But even when this document became obsolete by the issue of a work VISA, my cross-border harassment would persist. There was that time when my friendly US immigration officer by the name of Gao sought to get to know me intimately, and once again I missed my flight.

As for the current entanglement, I had applied for a new passport in order to attend my younger brother's wedding ceremony taking place in Fiji. I had given myself 3 weeks to get this done, turns out it was not enough. They wanted a whole month because my passport had been damaged by water. I'll take some responsibility for that part, I had inadvertently put it in the laundry. But I think the curse made me do it.

So, thus began a series of visits with lots of ticket pulling, every visit begins with a number on a piece of paper. I wrote a letter of appeal to expedite the process, and then there were interviews, they wanted to see the wedding invitation, then there were phone calls to follow up... more visits... by then I had gotten to know one female officer in charge of my case like family. So it felt natural to tell her in half-jest, half-desperation, that I'd bring her to the wedding with me in Fiji if she could just get the passport to me on time. Alas, it was not to be. Maybe she didn't like weddings, or the sun and clear blue waters; but in the end, I missed my brother's wedding. It was the most bitter moment of 2009 for me.

For over a month I avoided the passport office, then starting a couple of weeks ago I began the trips again. The ensuing visits were often a waste of time - obscenely long lines, counters closed for the day, I forgot the collection receipt, etc. Gradually, almost miraculously, the process reached the final stage, the passport was ready for pickup. But when I went yesterday to collect it with my collection receipt firmly in hand,... my ID was not in my wallet. A meltdown followed, the histrionics included me wanting the curse to materialize so I could go 12 rounds in the boxing ring with it. I simply couldn't find my ID anywhere.

Today I took the day off work to handle a police report for my lost ID, then apply for a new ID, then pickup the passport with my temporary replacement ID AND register a personal business. All involving government offices and worse, on a Friday, which meant a half-day since the offices would be closed earlier for muslim prayers. After the experience with the passport office, I was anticipating a nightmare of a day, maybe even a week or month.

But today, the light was shining on me brightly. There were no obstacles at all. The police officers were kind, and later, the ID office was not overrun by a mob, in fact it was quite modern and relaxing. After the fiasco with the passport office, this place seemed like the First Class lounge for Virgin Airlines. Believe it or not, in a matter of 90 minutes, I had knocked off ALL the items on the agenda save for the business registration.

Sustainable Development

Are we going to make it as a species?

Last weekend I was invited to attend a gathering to raise awareness about Sustainable Development. After reading "Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight" by Thom Hartmann, I've been drawn to this subject. There were many performances and speeches at the gathering by young adults, one in particular was quite clever - a percussion performance using recycled items. For me, this video shown was stirring enough to warrant this post. It was given in 1992 by a 12 year old girl at the UN earth summit. I am glad to be able to share the video here.

And this movie is also worth your while - HOME.

Here's a thought that occurred to me today. When was the last time any of us touched our planet? I mean physically touched it perhaps by walking barefoot or reaching out to a tree, putting our toes in the ocean. I haven't for a while now... I am guilty of taking this planet for granted. My own home.

The Law of Attraction

Growing up, I never thought I'd be unmarried at my age. But the future has a way of eluding our imagination. I don't feel much unease about being unmarried, instead I am grateful for the greater opportunity to learn about relationships between men and women or the masculine and feminine. And believe me, how my opinions have evolved over the years as I go through my experiences. I will reserve these findings for another post.

For most of my life I've felt the urge to avoid loneliness, maybe I still do and instead the loneliness is being replaced by aloneness. For these days I feel the aloneness as a gift, particularly when I am in true pursuit of my highest calling or simply put enlightened knowing. In my heart I know that she and I will meet. For it would be quite tragic to go through all this inner work without sharing with someone the fruits of a fearless love. In truth, my desire for that higher place attainable by two hearts has been some of the impetus for The Bright Path.

As a child I remember my desire for that intense union with the feminine. A heady yearning of an young eager untarnished heart enflamed by enchantment spun by pop songs on the radio. As night I would dream as I listened to the songs carried by vivid imagery - the long goodbye at the train station in summer rain, the dizzying first kiss outside the dance hall as the music plays, on a blanket on a grassy knoll undressing her on a sunny spring day and the warm breeze carrying the scent of lilac... I've known the scent of her hair, smell of her skin etc. so many times. Gradually that dream turned into fantasy as I stumbled through my relationships; and then eventually the fantasy too was forgotten, overshadowed by the belief that I was not worthy of Her.

So I've felt I've needed to clean up some things inside, believe once again in my worthiness. It cannot be found until I've at least liked who I am, and dare I say love who I am. And so, this has been the focus of the work of removing the fears and limiting beliefs. From the outside nothing much has changed about my life, yet on the inside I feel as though mountains have shifted. The fears are diminished, the inner Judge rebuked and the inner child awakened. For as long as I can remember, only now I feel attractive. I am worthy, I can feel it because at last I believe it. Wait for me, I will find you.