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"Life's full of Exits." - Hunter S. Thompson

I'm sitting in a busy coffee shop and restaurant in Florence, Italy that is not unlike the shops I have worked in for years. Ditta Artigianale (worth checking out if you're ever in Firenze) offers a reflection for me of someone that I have been proud to be in the past, and someone that I am letting go of.

A familiar scene in a foreign land.

A familiar scene in a foreign land.

Moving on is always interesting, and I feel this is especially true when you are moving on to forge your own path forward. In October, I finally made the decision to trust in the hard work I had put behind learning to be a designer and quit working behind the bar at Sip Coffee and Beer House, my best friend in coffee shop form. We remain friends, and I still get to help them out with music. 

Leaving Sip wasn't just about embracing freelancing, but also leveling up my commitment to my own art and music, and doubling down on focusing at school. I've learned so much in these last few months, but paramount among all of my recent insights is the powerful practice of simply trusting myself and my intuition. 

Here in this coffee shop in a vibrant and beautiful city as of yet unexplored, I am grappling once again with this difficult practice. Finding lodging here has been a struggle, and my traveling companion Bri and I sit here praying with all our might that we will be able to find a place to sleep tonight that doesn't cost more than we can afford and/or isn't located in a sketchy or unreachable part of town. 

Looking out over Florence from San Niccolo. Photo by  Dylan Peterson . 

Looking out over Florence from San Niccolo. Photo by Dylan Peterson

In travel, sometimes bringing manifestations to the ground can feel like being a frayed piece of thread, passing through the eye of the needle. It seems like you won't be able to get yourself together enough to make it to the other side in one piece, and the window of opportunity you have is impossibly small.

When you finally thread the needle, suddenly the Universe stitches itself back together. 

This trip has thrown a lot of needles at me, and I can feel myself being sewn together in beautiful new ways that I could never have imagined. To borrow a line from a favorite poem by Saul Williams, I feel a bit like I'm wrapped up in "the swelling patchwork of vibrant dreams." Trusting in the process and breathing through an edge is not unfamiliar to me, or any of my traveling companions for that matter. Yet, in an altogether new country, the stakes are a bit higher than ever before. Your stability is based solely in your mindset, and maybe a few comforts from home strapped in a backpack.

For me, my stability was shaken to the core on day one. I knew going into this whole thing that relaxing into travel would be a difficult task based on my transportation situation across the pond. All accounted for, I spent about 40 hours in planes and airports, and another 3 or so at Milan's central bus and train station. Don't ever do that to yourself if you can avoid it. I am a pretty cool customer when it comes to air travel, but I was barely human at the end of that mess.

In a wicked trick of manifesting what you might need but don't want, I lost my glasses on my way to meet Bri after my extra long day(s).  

rabbithole, one of many playlists that kept me sane on travel days. 

If you know me well, you know that I am deeply attached to those things, and contacts give me the heebie-jeebies. Puttin' stuff in your eyes is not cool, dude. If you know me really, really well, you know that I have a strange habit of losing glasses on vacations. In the past when I've lost them, I've found them miraculously (in L.A. no less) or have been able to get new ones without too much trouble. On this particular vacation, it was immediately painfully obvious that new glasses were out of the question, and it was going to take another miracle to find them.

It seemed like an opportunity to test some magic tricks. I've been in intensive training learning to perform pocket miracles for almost two years, and here was a perfect proving ground. So I set some intentions, did some Reiki, and Bri helped me start the search. We retraced my steps through a large park in Milan, jumping at everything that was the same color as the case that held my glasses when my sunglasses were on. We were about halfway through the park when we came around the corner to see a guy about our age sitting under a tree with a journal, guitar case, and a small cardboard sign that said "REIKI". 

Talk about a pocket miracle. He was a Reiki Master and musician from Brazil named Oscar (pronounced like Oxcar in Portuguese), and he was more than willing to help us look for my glasses. 

Reiki Master, Musician, Yogi, and all around good dude Oscar. 

Reiki Master, Musician, Yogi, and all around good dude Oscar. 

When we were unable to find them even in the company of another Reiki Master, I knew that the opportunity was not just to test some magic. This was a chance for me to break the hold of something I'd had a block about my whole life. And it was certainly still a chance to test some magic, just a different kind than what I had thought. 

I was being initiated, that much I knew. The initiate must look for clues to the next piece of the puzzle to determine the path to growth. I had been stripped of a survival tool, but maintained my dear friend and had been gifted with a new friend and teacher. The glasses were an offering to the Universe, which meant a lesson was to be imparted to me from one of the individuals I was to interact with in my immediate future. 

The best magic trick that the initiate can perform in the face of trying circumstances and an unforeseen pathway revealing itself seems simple, but is often the most difficult: Listen. 

 

Stay tuned for Part 2.


How did I get here? This thought has bounced constantly through my mind since I left home, even upon my return. Especially upon my return.

I had come to a moment of profound exaltation in my life. A moment in which shifts had revealed to me the magnitude of an opportunity looming in the ethers waiting to present itself. 

When the call to adventure came, I knew I had to steady my intentions and jump with all my might. And so I was carried away like a piece of dandelion carrying a wish into the wind. I had been longing to expand and explore for some time, and the stars aligned to carry me off to wonderland.

This is the story of the Seeker.  

 

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