Way back in the summer of ‘81, I paused with friends on top of the Continental Divide in Colorado, took my clothes off and ran down the bleak mountainside into the Indian Peaks wilderness. It was an overcast day with passing rain showers, not exactly an auspicious beginning for a bare-all vision quest. I think my most memorable moment was hiding under a huge log, waiting for a squall to pass, just like an eons-ago “naked ape” ancestor would have done. Amazingly, the spirit of adventure and the kindness of many strangers kept me safe and sound throughout these challenging two weeks when I placed myself at the mercy of the Powers That Be. I ended the quest on a New Mexico mountain, coming to understand in a very concrete way that all beings on this planet, including the mineral ones, are one. And I caught a glimpse of myself as a walker between two worlds.
Profound insights, but what of the next day, and the next? I had only the vaguest sense of wanting to live differently. Predictably enough, this first attempt of mine to ditch Babylon ended in failure. Civilization had me hooked, and slowly reeled me back in – to finish school, to marry, and to try to fit in once more.
My next chance for an escape came more than 20 years later. I sold my house, bundled the cats and necessities into my car, and set out to find me an ecovillage, a community of kindred spirits. After much wandering and temporary detours, I did locate a small community seemingly well suited to my inclinations, and eager to have me and my feline friends. (I had no idea how difficult it is to find a community that likes cats!) But a few months away from moving, I was struck by a lethal disease, and struck hard. Instead of ensconced in a sweet rural cabin, I was swallowed by the medical whale. Hospitals, surgeries, chemos, tests, transfusions, more tests. The treatment failed me, and talk of a bone marrow transplant faded. Then came the day when the oncologist told me to go home and talk to the hospice. I figured I had been faithful to my dream. I could do no more. I failed again, but not for lack of all-out effort or heartfelt dedication. Grief-stricken, I began to tie up the loose ends of my life.
And then, I got angry and stubborn. I opened up to life’s flow and a friend’s care. I started to hike. I found a clinical trial. And very very slowly, I got better. I embarked on an unconventional healing path, and got better still. It was then that it occurred to me that perhaps I had enough time to write a book summing up my insights about the underlying mechanism upon which Babylon is built, and what it takes to make a leap out.
Here is the book, dear reader. And since I have quite changed my mind about imminent dying, you can write to me below. I would love to hear your feedback.
Vera Bradova, Colorado, 2009