We are in a state of gratitude.
  We are in a place of inspiration.
      We are called to this sacred journey.

We've created slideshows for each portion of our journey. Sit back, relax and enjoy the journey!

Jan-Feb, 2006 - New Zealand
(click on map to see larger image)

January 22, 2006

Hot Water Beach Coromandel, New Zealand
"The magic is here!" This was an exclamation from one of the kids. One of my hopes for the kids when we began this trip, was for them to discover the magic of this world, that nature's mysteries would awaken their passion for life, and dissolve a seemingly learned negativity and cynicism.

The magic continued as both Kate and Matt would exclaim, "look at how the curl of the wave is making that pattern as it comes across the ocean. Wow! And look how the water is disintegrating in the sand as the water goes back into the ocean. And that water was so hot, it felt cold, did you notice that? And did you see how the water bubbled up as that old man put the shovel in?"

We had just come from hot water beach where there is a natural hot mineral spring that bubbles right out of the sand and emerges in the low tide. People come here and dig holes in the sand around the hot water as it comes up and fills up the holes. You can't get too close to the hot water and sand because it is burning hot as it bubbles out of the earth. The kids were fascinated by this phenomenon, and were digging and building walls and learning simple engineering principles just in their fun. They were bubbling with excitement and giddy with energy in this special place we had found.

When the tide came back up and started blasting through the walls of sand that had been built, the ocean regained it place among the sand and replaced our hot tubs with the cold ocean water again. As we left the beach, the sky was enlivened with splendid colors, and as we walked back to the car at the other end of the beach, that's when we all were filled with fun and wonder, and activated with excitement, as I heard Matt exclaim, "The magic is here!"

We had been in the town of Coromandel for a few days. This is a very vibrant area with many creative people. There is one place we had visited called Waiau Waterworks. The guy who built it must have just tinkered and played for years. He had created all kinds of fanciful things: making bicycles that shoot out water, all kinds of water wheels that show how power can be created from the force of water, zip lines where the kids could hang from and fly through the air, and on and on. The guy must have just started building these things until they must have attracted people to come and see and eventually it became a business --- a very interesting fellow.

On another outing, we met a British fellow who started building a railway on his property 27 years ago, a 60 acre tract of very hilly land that had been denuded of all native trees. He started replanting the land with 25,000 trees and building a railway that many said could not be built. A very eccentric fellow, but another example of what a person can do with simple desire and belief in oneself.

I thought about how these places could not be built in America anymore, "too dangerous" and not able to pass code or insurance regulations. We had quite a conversation, he had mentioned that America didn't seem to be much of a free country anymore, and I could only agree.

Political commentary
Let me take a moment from my journal writings for some political commentary that I want to express before I return to magical musings. Icasiana and I had another conversation with a woman in her health store who remarked to us, "The American people are so isolated from the rest of the world they don't seem to realize how suppressed they are." I thought about how other people in the world look at the United States and see how controlled and restricted our people are, and the politicians and media sing its lies and propaganda about what a free country we live in. To me it seems we have been taken over by a foreign entity in the clothes of the US government. I suspect most of the world is appalled at the policies of the US, and at this time the US is still occupying Iraq, especially after the pretense for beginning the war was a lie.

The Avian Bird Hoax
Meanwhile, there is the same propaganda machine out here in these parts. I read an article in the newspaper here in New Zealand trumpeting the dangers of the avian flu and how devastating it could be if an epidemic arises. Then I read an article in an Australian alternative magazine called "New Dawn" that was challenging the cry for help to combat the avian flu. As far as I'm concerned, this avian flu scare is a bunch of rubbish, manufactured by the government/corporations who will profit when people are placed in fear and can be manipulated. When they are afraid they will not question why the American government will waste money on stockpiling $7 billion worth of worthless Tamiflu drugs. The only ones who will be helped by this will be the profits gained by certain corporations and individuals, such as Donald Rumsfeld who owns stock in the company who has the patent for this drug. The newspapers write that officials are estimating that millions of people could die if this epidemic starts to develop the way they project and blah blah blah. This is nonsense. The avian flu has only infected people who have come in contact with sick birds. It has never been shown to be transmitted from human to human. What's really going on here?

I feel very angry at times when I see the world through these eyes, and see such injustice perpetrated by the government of the country I am a citizen in. Fortunately these are not the only eyes I have, especially with a precious new born who knows none of these things. Elijah is tuned into the vibrations of love and sees through the eyes of love. What a joy it is to be in his presence and be able to carry him through this world. I feel such joy and appreciation for that, and to be with my whole family.

Rotorua, NZ
We went to Rotorua, New Zealand around the 25th of January and ended up staying there for 8 days, for good reason as it turned out. First we visited old friends from the Network Chiropractic community who live there. They are building a beautiful home overlooking Lake Rotorua, a very special place indeed. They have been serving this community in a profound way. John Funnell began 18 years ago and when he married Margi, they joined up forces. In a recent year there had been 1,500 babies born in the community of Rotorua, and between them they had checked 550 of these babies! This is astonishing to me that they are having such a huge impact in this community. I respect so much what they have done, to have communicated their message about chiropractic so deeply that the community has come to understand how important it is for children to have their spines checked and cleared, and to come to them consistently over the years. They have many patients where the whole family comes to them for care, and one that we heard of that had four generations of Maori family members who come to them.

Unfortunately, our friends were in the middle of a major remodel, and there was not much opprotunity to spend more time with them. But they connected us with some very important people. A wonderful massage therapist named Ripeka, and a Maori tehunga (this is someone who does spiritual healing work and is considered a shaman of the Maori people).

Maori Culture
Rotorua is a major tourist attraction right on the edge of Lake Rotorua, and the town has many geothermal geysers and hot mineral springs. It is also called the spiritual center of the Maori people, who are the native people of New Zealand. Whether or not it really is the spiritual center of the Maori people is debatable, but it really is the tourist attraction center of Maori performances. As for the Maori people, it genuinely is home to the TeAwara tribe of the Maori. They've been here for centuries and they are still here.

The 2nd night in Rotorua, we went to a performance by one of the many troupes here in town. The kids are doing a project on Maori culture and we thought that it would be very educational for them to experience this. They did a welcoming ritual and some other examples of the culture, and they performed a number of songs that were very nice.

I was hoping for more of an educational program, it was more geared for tourists and entertainment. For what it was though, the people who hosted us did it with a special care and spirit. They were very genuine and endearing. I was left with wanting more of the real thing, that was to come later. But first I must mention something funny that happened to me and my wife.

At the Maori performance, they led the evening with a prayer and they ended with prayer. That was special. The funny part of the evening was when I was voted the chief for my group for the evening, and that became part of the welcoming ritual we did later. As I was saying, I became chief because my wife voted me the chief. According to Maori custom only a male can be a chief, and only a woman has to choose one. Since I have become chief Icasiana has since grown real fond of calling me "The Chief". And that makes her Miss Chief, which suits her real well I think, and she readily agrees, because she really is full of that.

Our hosts at the Red Rock Motel-David and Mel
Things are starting to come alive now. We're starting to connect with the real Maori people, and going to the real villages instead of the contrived ones of the performance centers used for entertaining tourists. The managers of the motel we're staying at, David and Mel, are Maori and we've connected with them in a special way, and our kids have been having a great time playing with their kids. Anyway, they invited us to share a traditional meal with them, called a hangi, and then go to their marae after. The marae is the meeting house for the members of the tribe, like a community center. The marae extends back through time. When David took me through his home place he showed me where his koro (grandfather) is buried and told me that's where he will be buried. I marveled at how connected he felt to his ancestors, how clear the line from them to him was and how this connection was such a force through his eyes and through his being. Our time with his family, David, Mel, Wiremu and Damel was very precious to all of us. We were sad to leave them, the kids had had such a major fun play time on the trampoline and in the swimming pool making up crazy and wild games. And not having to do their school work! Overall though, they're doing a great job on their Maori culture project.

"Rongo" Our Maori Tohunga
We were also sent to Rongotipuiteata Flavell by our friends John and Margi Funnell. This was a very important connection for us. We first went to see Rongo to ask some questions for the film Icasiana is making. He is a spiritual medicine man, called a tohunga. The word is similar to the Hawaiian term Kahuna or the native American Shaman. He was very generous with us and we had a very lively and informative conversation about native medicinal plants, native cultures, the spiritual path, and Maori culture.

He received us as equals on the spiritual path and gave of what he knows freely. I then asked him a personal question about myself and how I haven't been having the feeling to do healing work since I stopped doing chiropractic. He looked at me and told me that my energy centers or chakras had become a bit out of balance and invited us to come back so he could take us to the sacred waters of his community and do a cleansing on me. Icasiana and I readily agreed and showed up at his place all bright eyed and bushy tailed. He got in the car with all of us and we set on our way to drive to his village, the place he grew up and still considers his home. I asked him if this place he was taking us to was a well known place and he told me it was very well known to his people. I joked with him and asked him if I could find it in any of the brochures that I had piled in the car about places to go see in Rotorua. He laughed and told me, "no, it wouldn't be in the brochures".

He took me to the waters and went first to open the channel with spirit before I went in. I went into the waters when he was ready and he cleared disturbances in my system. Of course, I couldn't feel this happening for those of you that know me. I did feel very refreshed though and felt well afterwards. The water I went in was fed by 8 springs right by the edge of Rotorua. It was cold and pure. Icasiana went in after me and had quite a big healing. She has a history of trauma with swimming in the water after almost drowning when she was 15 when her dad died trying to save her life and the lives of 2 of her younger sisters, Patricia and Cecilia.

Being with Rongo felt very healing for me and it grew in me as I would spend more time with him in the next few days. He also told us that this journey that we were on now was going to be bigger than either of us could imagine. I already thought it was going to be big, but this sounded even bigger. My mother must have known because she didn't want us to go on this trip at all, or at least she didn't want us to take her brand-new grandson Elijah!

The day that we were leaving Rotorua, after 8 days, we went to see Rongo again. We had called him the night before and told him that we were very grateful for the healing work he had done with us and we wanted to take him out to breakfast and say, "Thank you." He told us we would meet at 10 am because he had a funeral to go to at 11 am. There was more in store for us than we realized. When we picked him up at his house we drove to a nearby place to get food and then he asked me if I wanted to come hear him play his saxophone at the funeral of his cousin. Although everyone he knows in the Maori culture is a cousin in some way, this was his blood cousin, the daughter of his mother's sister. I readily agreed to go to the funeral whereupon he said he had to go back home and get his saxophone. I was a little confused as to whether he had forgotten it or what, but our family ate alone until he came back with his young children.

He has adopted 2 children, Tera and Michael - beautiful bright beings age 10 and 2. He also has five biological children but since they are adults now he has taken in a number of young children. Previously he had adopted 2 children, but had not signed the adoption papers, and when they were around 11 years old, the parents came back and took them back. This time he had signed the proper papers and was emphatic that they would never be taken back. The other "adopted" children are now around 15 and 16 and they run away from their biological parents from time to time to come see him.

When we got to the funeral we discovered that this was the third day of the funeral of a woman who had died and was going to be buried after this last part. When he had worked on us in the waters 2 days prior, at the same time, members of the community were washing her body in the waters as part of the funeral ritual. In the Maori culture, a funeral can last from 3-7 days. This funeral was 3 days. Rongo had been up the previous night as part of the prayers that were being offered to the deceased. Their belief is that after a person dies, their spirit stays with the body for a few days, they are even able to feel sensation, but cannot move or respond. So while the spirit is still there, they honor the person and everyone who chooses will get up and say a prayer for the person. Some of the elders will take an hour for their prayers.

When we arrived, family and friends of the deceased were still inside the marae, and we waited outside. When they were finished and came outside, Rongo and two of his friends were ready and began playing their saxophones to a piece of pre-recorded music of theirs. It was a plaintive and beautiful song. As the mourners filed out and they carried the body, a wave of emotion came with them. We watched as she was put into the car and was driven away, with the mourners getting into their cars to follow her to the cemetery. Although Icasiana and I both felt this wave and became very emotional, it went very deep for Icasiana and lasted until she did some work with it the next day to clear it.

Now we realized how everything had been orchestrated for us to be at the waters when the newly deceased woman was washed and then 2 days later when she was carried away to be buried. It was a catalyst for healing.

Later that day Rongo took us to see the original Maori settlement in Rotorua that existed before the town itself. The more time we spent with Rongo, the more I felt comforted by his care and protection. When we finally left Rotorua we headed out to the western coast toward Kawhia (pronounced Kafia) he mentioned he had friends there who would receive us. He called us every few hours to let us know that he had tried to reach them but they were not available. It felt like he was checking up on us and tracking us. With each of his phone calls, I felt his concern for our welfare and I heard his words again in my mind, "This trip (and its mission) is going to be bigger than you ever imagined". The next time on the phone with us I told him,"Rongo, my grandfather died over 25 years ago, yet now I'm feeling cared for as a grandfather would care for his grandson, you're carrying that grandfather place for me and I thank you." What a gift his caring has been for us.

By now it is February 5th, we are back in Auckland and we will fly out to Singapore tomorrow. More will come later from us. The trip has had challenges and I feel we are being prepared. The kids have been great, even though they don't believe their two new teachers have credentials to teach them! Elijah has been absolutely amazing in how he is so present and magnetic to other people - he is a pure joy to be with.


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