The road has always been the place for self-discovery and uring the crest of the New Age movement I spent a lot of time on the road. Nearly all of my journeys were on somebody else’s nickel. Magazines like East West, New Realities, Fellowship In Prayer paid me to document for their readers what it was like to take part in a New Age version of a vision quest, what it was like to take an intensive workshop with author and transpersonal psychologist Jean Houston, or what it was like to live in a Japanese healing arts dojo.
Save for my experience in the dojo, most of these travels involved the delicate balancing act between being a participant and being an observer. Part of me was in the experience, for example doing a reenactment of emerging from the birth canal with workshop leader Jean Houston. Another part of me stood outside the experience, figuring out how I would translate what was happening to me to my readers.
Most of the time, this duality was no big deal. But sometimes it caused problems. There was one time, for example, when I’d crammed too many workshops into too many back-to-back weekends. I was just adjusting to Jean Houston’s creative Possible Human workshop, when an MD participant in this two-year program asked me during the first morning of a five-day workshop what I thought of the whole thing. “Is all right,” I told him nonchalantly, “but it does remind me of some other things.” I also made the mistake of telling him I was a journalist. Next thing I know, Jean sauntered up to me and I expected the worse — to be kicked out of the workshop for my less than gung-ho attitude. To my relief, Jean was totally cool about it. “The thing about you writers is that it’s hard for you to just participate in your experience,” she told me. She asked me gently to tone it down.
It took me ten long years to weary of going to workshops nd participating in vision quests. In the end, it seemed time to graduate from being a perpetual student to someone who learned by doing or teaching.
But I sure had a lot of fun on the road!
This is the section introduction to Travels. For the titles of the articles in the section, visit the Table of Contents.