I return to Rio under the Full Moon, and it hasn’t quite hit me yet that my brother is gone. Our heroine Kelly returns. and I realize a new depth to her Daoist mastery: on her back is a crescent white moon within her gold fur,Β  and within her white underbelly is a gold patch. She is the embodiment of the Taiji!

As I write this now, with one hand, as she continually nuzzles my other arm away from me to have it resting on her. Now, I can choose my words more carefully. My first day back in Rio we had a great shock with Kelly. I was out with her at the park as usual, and she was roaming around free in the grass. My cousin waved to me as she was walking to the bus stop, and I decided on a whim to accompany with her down to the bus.

She was a bit worried that Kelly was off the leash, but I assured her that I put her back on as we get to more traffic areas (nearer to the bus stop), but I ignored her concern down the flight of stairs to the road below the park which I had been several times before with Kelly safely. She was on the other side of the road smelling homes and gates where dogs were when she locked eyes with us and started to trot over. In that same moment, a motorcycle with a car behind it was coming down the street. Time slowed down as I watched the scene unfold and the motorcycle did not see Kelly until it was too late and slammed his brakes as he collided with her. She was pushed and dragged by the well a good 5 meters, and images of her being crushed and killed flashed in my mind.

 

When I was younger, the only dog I’d own- Kaloh a half yellow lab half huskie mix-had been hit by a car after running away one night-I was the one who had opened the door and let her get past me as well as the one who had given up after a few hours on the search. I’ve carried that blame a long time and watching Kelly get hit in front of my eyes was a living nightmare, my cousin was shrieking as well to add to the horror.

Kelly didn’t get crushed, and scurried off faster than lightning back up the stairs to home. I chased after her and let her back in the house before doubling back to make sure the motorcycle rider was ok. He had already left and my cousin had as well, so I wandered the empty street for awhile in a bit of a daze. The guilt and sorrow washed over me for the rest of the day, especially since we took Kelly to a Vet to be examined for her injuries and had to leave her over night in a lonely cage. My cousins worked on grounding me that everything was ok, it wasn’t my fault, things happen, and Kelly had already forgiven me.

Forgiving myself was a longer process, and all I can do is etch a lesson deeper into my heart to be more careful and more respectful of the circumstances in this world. Just like they had said, when we picked up Kelly the next day she didn’t have a trace of a grudge on her heart and loved me as unconditionally as she always had. Since then her injuries, all surface scratches and bruises, have healed and she is still her playful and loving self.

Flight

After recovering on all levels-I had cold-like sickness for a few days after returning from Sao Paulo as well to add onto matters-the next landmark was a Hang gliding tripped I had promised one of my cousins. In the days leading up she was so excited she couldn’t sleep, whereas I kept the reality of it pretty far from consciousness given my fear of heights and not wanting to steal away from the energy of the experience itself!

This is the same ramp my cousins took me to 3 years ago in 2014, and I never even dreamed that I would be running off it at top speed 3 years later. My tandem partner was Luciano, or Popo, and is very reputable and popular among the locals at Sao Conrado:

http://asadeltapedradagavea.blogspot.com.br/2012/06/voo-de-asa-delta-no-rio-com-luciano.html

He’s very experienced, speaks decent English, and was able to say all the right words to calm down my cousin’s bundle of nerves!

The flight was beyond words, as I etched the feeling of freedom into my heart. Relaxation at that intensity with such a gorgeous scene of nature around us-simply exhilarating.

As we approached the beach he began preparing me for landing, but the sudden dip was like a roller coaster ride that caught me off guard! My legs were running in the air like in those old cartoons for a second there before he calmed me down again and prepared me to hit the sand.

My other cousin was waiting at the beach and I spent the rest of the day relaxing and playing in the ocean and sand.

Cleanse

A good friend of mine spontaneously recommended that I lay down in running, clear water to clear out the pain in my heart. This was the exact same method for clearing energies used by the Q’ero Shamans I encountered in 2014, and when I mentioned that to her she downplayed her wisdom as common sense that had been forgotten!

My cousin’s friend group is a bunch of good-hearted Christians that I have been connecting with during my time here. For this last week in Brasil they arranged a retreat at a Sitio- (farm like property out in the state of Rio). When we got there and they took me to a river with the perfect depth for my friend’s advice I was overjoyed at the synchronicity. The cool running water cleared a lot out of me, and the verse of the Dao de Jing “Water nourishes all things, but does not lord it over them” floated to my the surface.

I waded down the river a ways where a tree taught me the meaning of letting go of control and trusting in the unfolding of Nature. That’s been a common theme this whole trip, and I was glad to embrace the wisdom on a deeper level. That night the atmosphere of the group was a bit tense, as people went off and did their own thing and I was moved into action when the words of my cousin struck my heart “I just want this to be over and to go back home for us all to go our own ways.” I had been a bit of an outsider of the group, and had not fully opened up about my spiritual experiences or life story. I saw this chance as a way to open up in front of everyone-as terrifying as that was. Lucas, the man on the far right of the bridge, translated for me as I shared my painful experiences with mental illness and my desire for everyone to appreciate the gift of this present moment and to love each other. Things shifted after that, and everyone came together putting aside their surface level frictions. My heart felt infinitely better after that, and I had a deeper gratitude and understanding of my own history.

Whether I believed in a greater plan or not, I could no longer argue that my experiences had no use when it comes to affecting positive change now. I feel honored to be able to share my story, have it listened to it, and see people letting themselves be moved by it. I’m in the process of writing about them into a story in the hopes that more people can begin to understand what we call insanity and those that are going through their own processes of change.

I look forward to Peru, and continuing this process in a safe setting where I can face a lot of those deeper fears that have been hiding in my unconscious, driving a lot of my impulsive emotional reactions through life. Who knows what adventures await?

As for now, thank you Brasil. Thank you all the beautiful people I met here, because you are the ones I am here for. Until next time,

Saudade

-Arthur, “Rolozeira” Freeman