Tag Archives: spiritual

Re-Post: Polar Express (2004)

This is a repost/rewrite of a blog I wrote in 2004. At the time I was running a blog called “Tribal Courage” that specifically spoke to men. It was very early work for me in blogging. I was going through some major changes in life at the time and had found two great resources. The first was John Elredge’s book, Wild at Heart. The second was by Gordon Dalby, Healing the Masculine Soul- a book I wish somebody/anybody had shoved in my hands when I was a much younger man. I found my original blog while surfing the net the other night- and thought it would be interesting to re-post. I had started journaling, something most explorers seem to have in common with each other. Perhaps it is the desire to truly know and understand ourselves as we push through what seems to be incredible experiences to others- as we are simply living in the moment, and then simply reflecting on it. The blog I wrote in 2004 corresponds with the season, as well as a reflection of who I am, and a tiny insight to me as a person….

I’m trapped. Coming off a my expedition in the Chiuauan Desert of Northern Mexico, having a near death experience at the hands of a faulty water bladder and dehydration, a new commitment to family, fatherhood, and husband…I decided to treat my family to a night out at the “nice theatre” and not the sticky floors of the “cheap” theater…

We promise my 3-year-old to go see a movie—I vote for “The Incredibles”. A great movie about a family of superheros who put aside differences, depression, the sence of inadiquacy….who hasn’t lived that life? This speaks to my heart and its just what I need to hear at this moment.

I lose. Not to the popularity of vote for another, film, but rather to the availability of tickets. So we buy our passes for “Polar Express”

I’m trapped in another sense. I can’t go to a film these days without pulling some kind of message from it. But maybe this one is safe…or so I thought. Saving Private Ryan, Braveheart, Good Will Hunting…all have deep messages for me about the making of a man, the battles within, the path to becoming a stand-up guy, a warrior defending my family, my faith, my own soul.

I don’t want to get too specific at this point—I don’t want to ruin the movie for you if you haven’t seen it. I also want you to pull out your own themes—maybe we can sit down and discuss it sometime over hot chocolate—served from a more subdued staff than the movie represented.

The spiritual themes that run through “Polar Express” are themselves incredible. The theme of wanting to believe, but not coming to grasp with belief, yearning to hear there is an incredible message for each of us individually, even when others are around you who can hear it, yet no matter how hard you strain to listen-nothing. Silence. Desolation. It feels like abandonment.

Perhaps how at one time we have received something special. Something deep, something spiritual, a very special gift, like the speaking to our heart about who we are, our desires, a special name to be called… a special message-and then losing it…

Then the final scene of that desire being written on our hearts. For some its a new destiny, maybe our new name…simply scribbled onto our heart…a name that in the beginning of a journey had only a few letters.

I saw my own spiritual journey reflected in this film. I understood the frustration of not being able to hear God’s voice when others where having larger than life experiences. I could relate the “wandering” that was taking place on the train, sometimes leading to possible dangers, only to be rescued before I got seriously hurt.

In my own journey I have had the displeasure of being surrounded by those that I had to pull along, the occasional “pain in the @$$” know it all, as well as others who were on the same journey—who built my own confidence and helped me to reach my destination.

Totem

Mojo. Good Luck Charms. Trinkets.

Most often associated as an object that produces a positive influence over the fortunes of a person, or set of persons upon possession.

Backpackers, Mountain Bikers, Hockey Players, and Overlanders have something they carry with them to bring about good fortune, protection, prosperity, or spirituality. Some carry it for fun.

Some believe there is a combination positive spiritual energy produced from the physical form of the object and the spiritual energy through the faith that is placed in them by those who possess them.Others just carry charms for unknown and often trivial reasons. Whichever camp you reside in you have to admit it there is a draw to know what others carry and why is it so interesting to understand the stories behind them.

When I think of items I have carried on the trail and the stories behind each item, I find I have had a quite eclectic selection. Here I will list a few and when I carried them or came about them.

I guess the first one comes to mind is a tiny set of prayer beads I carried for years. I am not Catholic, and my first introduction to prayer beads was some years earlier while in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. The set I am referring to was a tiny set that could go around your middle finger. I found that they helped me to concentrate on a task by working my fingers over the beads. This is probably due to the fact I am a kinesthetic learner and having an object in my hands as I digest information increases my ability to process and retain. I picked these up while visiting a Russian Orthodox monastery in Texas while on a road trip with my good friend Amund. He actually taught me the value of the beads and some years later I found myself using them on a regular basis in my own spiritual walk. I do admit to carrying other beads with me- specifically a set I picked up in 1990 while in Desert Shield. They were great conversation starters and on subsequent trips to the middle east I still carry them today.

The next item of mojo would have to be a Hawaiian girl. She sat on the crossbar of my mountain bike and was with me on many trips across Texas, Colorado, Utah, and Idaho. She is still a faithful companion. My sister-in law gave her to me as a key chain, but for me she was destined to the bike from the moment I saw her.

With Hula on the mind I also have a Hula Chicken– not quite mojo but gets plenty of looks at my desk. I still get the feeling its a rooster with a grass skirt….something just doesn’t add up on this one….

I currently carry an “explorer squirrel” in my survival pack. He’s pretty cool and is a reminder for me of my relentless pursuit of adventure and (SQUIRELL!!!) my sudden distractions….

I have seen some pretty incredible charms. I have a co-worker that has a Metro Man (from Mega Mind) character. For her it is a reminder of giving up all the fame and glory for focus on inner self.

Picking up various trinkets and charms on a journey can be fun. And though I do not believe in any power in them, I do believe having an object to focus on can be a benefit. A very close friend and team mate carried a Ranger tab in his ruck to keep him going as he was going through the course.

Mojo charms are usually symbolical in nature and rely more on the power of owner’s suggestion. In most of the research I did during my post grad work showed less than 25% of those who carried good luck charms felt their luck had actually improved Still I am always curious and intrigued by what others are carrying on their totems, so if you would post up pics on the Adventure IQ facebook page what you carry as a charm and tel your own story.