Saturday, November 19, 2016

Reflections on Fireflies and Miracles

"These are the days of miracle and wonder, this is the long distance call, the way the camera follows us in slow mo, the way we look to a song, the way we look to a distant constellation that's dying in the corner of the sky, these are the days of miracle and wonder, don't cry, baby, don't cry." ~Paul Simon

I stand on the edge of the Ping River in downtown Chiang Mai and release my offering of banana leaves and incense and candles into the river. I gaze up at the full moon barely above the skyline and watch as lanterns are released as far as I can see in every direction. As they float up into the sky, they begin to morph into flying points of light, into fireflies, and as they drift further away and further apart, they look more like constellations moving across the sky.

This is Loy Krathong--the festival of letting go, of releasing any anger, hatred, resentments, and negative thoughts. You release these into the river and into the sky and set your life in a new direction. If we don't let these things go, they can turn into poison and slowly kill us. It doesn't just stop at the negative. If we hold too tightly to anything that no longer serves us (people, places, jobs, habits, beliefs, anything), it too can turn into poison and slowly kill us.

These points of light I chase, these fireflies, are not meant for me to catch and keep. Much like the fireflies I use to catch and put into jars on those warm, sticky mid-western summer nights--those glowing bodies in the dusk evenings, etheric and magical--are not meant to be kept. I had to let them go. And I must keep learning to let go so I can continue along this path of light. And on this path of letting go is where miracles occur.

My novel is both logical and magical. It is both grounded and etheric. It is both reliable and unreliable. McKenzie chases fireflies that she's sure are faeries. She believes her best friend is from another world. She believes in magic. Her life teeters on the edge of wonder and madness, on the edge of a singularity where dichotomies break down, where miracles are unearthed.

I believe we can live in a world that can be both logical and magical, where we can be both grounded and etheric, where we can choose to see the world through a lens of magic and wonder that may or may not have any foundation to it at all.

Sometimes people drop out of society, drop out of life because it took everything from them, and the only way back to freedom is to get out from under everything crushing them even if that means living on a junkyard spaceship out on the fringes of the planetary system--where the wild west meets the future.

This is Firefly--the story of Malcolm Reynolds, his firefly spaceship named Serenity, and his small crew who are a reflection of every aspect of himself that he's lost. And as they move through space, just getting by however they can, Malcolm slowly begins to find those parts of himself he's lost through his freedom and through those he chooses to keep close--his miracle.

I watched every episode of Firefly as well as the movie Serenity not long before I left Santa Cruz. Malcolm's story impacted me so much I decided to make it a piece of my journey as well.

Inspired by letting go of glowing bugs, one of my characters, and the idea behind an old tv show--they are embedded into my blog all in equal measure.

Do you see these things reflected in my blog? What do fireflies and miracles mean to you? 

Friday, November 11, 2016

Happy Birthday Blog

One year ago today I made my first blog post here at Chasing Fireflies and Miracles. I was still about 2 months out from leaving the US, and I had no idea what I was doing with it. I knew I didn't want it to be a travel advice blog nor an inspirational change your life blog. I just wasn't intuitively compelled to take either of those routes. I attempted to write several posts over several months unhappy with all results--until that fateful new moon 11.11 day. And like a void suddenly lit by fireflies, I knew.

I decided to approach it with curiosity much like I was going to approach my travels. Read: I had no plan other than a series of questions that would ultimately lead me across 6 countries and more than a dozen cities and villages. I would take it one post at a time and let it unfold, let curiosity guide it. Approaching it this way left it open to being both personal and universal--not directed at any particular audience, but at the same time, an open letter to every individual who reads it. And maybe in the process, it might end up being informative and inspirational as well.

Settled now in Chiang Mai, life has slowed down in certain ways though my weeks fly by. I've fallen into a steady pattern somewhere between stability and a brief stop on this indefinite journey. My posts and pictures have slowed, but they certainly won't stop. There's still much curiosity to be found here in this pause. Let's see where it goes.

Have I succeeded in doing what I set out to do? Have I led you through doors of curiosity over these past 10 months? Have I been your firefly? Have you seen miracles?

Also, does anyone out there know the meaning and inspiration behind my blog name? There are a few answers to this. I'll be going into those in my next post.

And as always, "Travel light, live light, spread the light, be the light." ~ Yogi Bhajan