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The Journey

I had an existence which I called life long ago before this moment when I was given a crucially important decision to make between the two options of my future which would question my whole Gemini being from both perspectives. It started much long ago than this moment, it had it ups and downs, some twists of fortune and misfortune. But from this particular moment in life everything else before seems somewhat comfortable and easy life with not much acknowledgement of my truer self.

I was in a more neutral geographic location, which also happened to be my birthplace, thinking between going back to the place where I bloomed as an artist and was recognized but which gave lower chances of any major success or the new place of opportunity which the universe laid open the path for but where I was nobody from nowhere-land. It was a month of going back and forth in my head between the old and new places, waking up to one decision and sleeping with another. I could clearly see the pros and cons of both choices, but still none of them would completely win over the other. My inclination towards one or the other choice was so biased by my Gemini nature - the duality in everything - the left and right hemispheres of the brain - the rational and emotional extremes and more so in that sense. I could see that choosing to go back to the old place would mean that I could just continue playing music and searching the depths of my artistic soul, but also meant so much stagnation in terms of success, major breakthrough and just putting it short - my dream. While choosing the new road I wouldn't have the opportunity to get into the scene right away, but if I worked my way through like I did in the old place I would eventually get what I want and in much bigger capacity than the old place could offer me.

So in search of the answer I woke up one morning to a repetitive dream of finding a chest full of treasure and then next thing I see myself driving a red convertible on a coastal highway. The dream was so bright and so picturesque... For a person who sleeps really deeply and who rarely remembers his dreams, that really meant something important. So later on that Sunday afternoon as I was just walking around the house, I stumbled upon a book, which was lying in a basket full of other books underneath our bookshelves. It looked so tiny compared to the rest of the books in that pile. But somehow it grabbed my attention. It was The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. The first thing that came to my mind was: "Oh wow I remember hearing a lot about this book", then second thought: "Oh and it's so small. It's just perfect as I don't feel like reading a long book. And it's Sunday. How perfect!". I opened the book and read the first page... The antagonist, Santiago, wakes up to a repetitive dream of find a chest full of treasures which were hidden underneath the Pyramids in Egypt. What are the chances, right? And so I was hooked... I didn't continue reading immediately as I felt an instant rush of all sorts of blissful feelings. I took a cigarette, walked to the balcony, smoked it, tried to calm down and came back to read the rest, knowing that I won't lay down that book until I finish it...

The Alchemist was insanely beautiful and extremely truthful for me... It spoke to me in so many ways. That tiny book contained all the answers to my questions. It was the message I was waiting for. I could relate myself to all the situations through which Santiago had to go before he had to make his choice just like I had to make mine. I could immediately find the equivalents people of my life for each character that accompanied him in his journey. When I reached to the point where Santiago has to choose between staying in the desert with his beloved one and his new tribe or continuing his quest of finding the treasures under the pyramids, I just put down the book... Up to that point it was already exactly like my life story, just told in a fictional manner with a lot symbolism. So I knew that from this point on wherever the books takes me there I will go... So I had to take another smoke break!

At that point in life my Gemini was also influenced by key figures from both the old and new places, whose advice was so biased by only their intentions and each of these camps was only seeing the one side of the Gemini, although seeing that side very truthfully. I had my best friend representing the alchemist calling me to the new place with a generous offer that was hard to resist from all the rational perspectives. But I had my girl (just like Fatima from the book) and my bandmates and friends (representing the tribe) calling me back to the old place, which was my oasis. And the old place was by all means was an oasis in a desert. We were all happy there, a living that looked a lot like the paradise life in the movie The Beach. But we all knew it was the Fool's Gold that place and we were stuck in an oasis in a desert and nobody could escape and some people starting to not even look for an escape - just minding about their daily dose of joy. It was a hard decision because after all what is happiness? Is it the life spent on struggling to achieve a dream that you don't even know if you'd even come close to it or choosing to be happy every day and living as much of a carefree life as possible... It's not hard to see that in majority of cases people are unhappy because of the daily stress they're going through. So if you can eliminate or at least minimize the responsibilities you take on and its byproduct - stress, then with some basic training of mindfulness you can easily live a life which you could call happy.

That question was the climax of my whole existence in the old place... I finally found happiness there, creative freedom, a wild bunch of friends and even some recognition. It was all there, already created... All I needed to do was just to continue on top of what I had already built. On the last day before I left the old place, not telling anyone that I might not be coming, my girl decided we should drop acid together. Now I understand that I have different readership: to some it would be like oh drugs, I'm not reading this anymore and others would be more interested to hear the experience or see how it relates to theirs'. But either way, this isn't to spoil the lyrical tone of the writing, but to bring forward how crucial of a role that experience had in my decision. After all any drug is just an activation of a certain point of our brain to a more elevated level. If you can draw the benefits of it without falling into addiction or committing anything harmful to yourself or to the society, the whole experience could be seen as positivistic and opportunistic.

So It was going to be my first time doing LSD and my girlfriend's second time. She really wanted me to experience it for the first with her and especially on my last day there. But the truth is that I triggered that idea in her brain... 2017 marked the 50th anniversary of Sgt. Pepper and they released the deluxe version. Me and her, we listened to that album back to back so many times. There were these mazing new takes of each song that brought me closer to being a true Beatles fan. Later I read the full story behind the album and how LSD was key to the album's creativity. And I clearly remember reading how John and George convinced Paul and Ringo to do it with them cause they had tried it already. Like George said it: "We couldn't relate to them anymore after our trip... like not on any level!". As soon as I read it I told my girl that I wanna do it! She got excited about it. Then I told my bass-player that he should do it with us. And I told him exactly how George Harrison said it! I told him "Man, I don't think I'd be able to relate to you anymore after my trip!". He was immediately in, partly cause he was a major fan of Harrison. In our band I was always the Lennon character and he was the definitive Harrison. Then one of my best friends who just checked into the town also got excited and decided he would join us. Now all of us knew each other and were pretty close. But only I knew every one of them in most details because they knew each other through me and they only knew me in most details. So there came the day and we dropped acid!....

After the initial one hour of extreme blissfulness accompanied with non-stop hysterical laughing we sat on a boat to sail across this Asian-style pond which was so big they called it a lake. The boat had a shape of a swan with its head facing down. As soon as we got on the boat the emotional senses and deeper thinking activated. It was a beautiful evening... The moon's reflection was in this giant pond with bridges and little islands. There were carnival lights at some places on the shore, pine trees in other spots, walls surrounding the lake and even a giant statue of a dragon-slayer lady on one of the islands. We set the Sgt. Pepper to guide our moods and went on the journey... We called it the Odyssey... We had the feeling that on that boat we are completely isolated from the whole world... We didn't want to go back home but we knew we would eventually need to which is why finding our way back home was the whole Odyssey. The giant statue of the lady dragon slayer was Penelope. All these comparisons were made in a lyrical manner, but weren't taken as deeply by the others as they were by me. Everyone was taking the effect of LSD in their own way and I could completely understand where their reactions came from because I knew them all so well, especially at that moment I thought I could read their souls like an open book. But I was in some other realm. The boat signified my life in that old town. We were enjoying our time on the boat and nobody wanted to get off the boat, which was exactly like the life in the oasis in the book. There were one or two spiders with their webs on some corners of the boat. My bassist kept making the point that this boat is the home of this spider and we are actually guests here. I agreed with him as both of us were pretty old-timers in this place. But my girl couldn't stop getting annoyed by the presence of the spiders. She kept saying: "There shouldn't be bugs where you do drugs." We tried to make it into a joke and even named it Boris the Spider from a song by The Who. But she just couldn't leave that idea that the boat should be free of spiders. It was so ironic though because the spiders symbolized for me the real people of the desert outside of our oasis. And it's true that the desert is their home, but at the same time I could agree with my girl who was a newcomer there, that we don't want this majority "tribe in our oasis". All these symbolic comparisons in my mind triggered the idea that this journey on the boat in the middle of these unknown waters is a really an Odyssey, that we're stuck on this island of Calypso or Oasis like in the Alchemist, and it's time to leave... Now for Odyssey his mission was to go back home, but I knew my mission wasn't at home either but somewhere else and definitely not on this island of Calypso. By the time A Day in Life came on, I looked at our sad Swan and I knew it was my Swan Song...

Now this passage might make you think that since I had already experienced that Odyssey the answer must've been clear even without reading the Alchemist. Yes and No... See, although the whole trip brought me to the idea that my mission was over at this place, I also experienced the happiest day of my life... It was sad and beautiful at the same time... Sad because I had my mind set about finishing the life there. But beautiful because it was a moment of pure catharsis... my love, my best friend and my brother in arm, all sailing together, feeling happy about life and thinking what were we so worried about in life before this moment? Life seemed to be so colorful and vibrant that I was questioning myself whether working so hard, stressing out about every big or little thing and being so goal-oriented was maybe all wrong from the start... Or if it wasn't all wrong, I should have at least stopped and just looked at the beauty of life more often throughout my life. So the Odyssey gave me the hard answer about the life situation but left me open with the choice - the mindful and happy day-to-day existence or continuation of the quest? So there it was again... the-never-been-answered question what is happiness after all?

So I proceeded to finishing the Alchemist. The rest of the book was just straight the answer that I needed in order to make my decision and close that dilemma. So the Alchemist tells Santiago that if he stays in the Oasis, he would have a good life, he would start a family with Fatima, the people of the Oasis would respect him and he would earn some gold as well, not a lot, but quite in enough for a good living in the Oasis. But if he stays, he would think of going on the quest for his treasure the first year, then on the second year he would think of it less and by the fourth year he would even forget that he dreamed once of the treasure as it would sound impossible and unrealistic to him at that point. But if he chooses to go to the Pyramids, he might actually find the treasure. And if he doesn't he would at least know that he tried. The Oasis will always be there and he can always return back. If Fatima really loves him, she would wait for him to come back with or without the treasure. And if Santiago really loves her, he would come back for her whether he finds the treasure or not. So Santiago goes on the quest, heavy-hearted and still not completely sure of his decision. The Alchemist accompanies him most of the way and then leaves Santiago when they're very close to the Pyramids...

At the moment when I'm writing this blog, that's where I'm exactly at - at the limits of the Pyramids. Everything before this moment has progressed in that same exact plot.

The rest of my blogs will be about this last one mile to the Pyramids and back I guess...

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