Frequently Stated Concerns and Explanations of Understanding
As of this writing I am twenty-six years old and have only finished two years of college, having left conventional studies in 2003. Contemporary sociological conventions in North American society dictate that the logical thing now is to go back to University in pursuit of a “real” job. Yet I hold that what is true for one is not necessarily true for another, even though we do share a universal collective experience; the problem here is that we all interpret the reality differently. If my desire is to maintain the status quo then naturally I would not have made the decision to take on this mission at all. But my aim, rather, is to move society beyond that which we have always known to experience something greater; to experience a new reality through heightened consciousness, ushering humanity into a new era. If I were to ignore this drive to do this project in pursuit, rather, of maintaining contemporary cultural standards it would contradict my morals and compromise my values. In the end we will not regret the things that we did, but we will regret the things that we never dared to do.
In 2008 an elephant told to me to dream big (no, really an elephant spoke to me). The kind of big that if I told someone about the idea they would laugh at me, call me crazy for even thinking it, and tell me that I won’t do it and that it can’t be done. It is just such a response that provides confirmation that an idea is a good one if there is the burning passion to do it. Humoring the elephant, I tried this “dream big” philosophy. The New England Patriots were going to the Super Bowl in Arizona that year and I got the crazy idea that I’d like to perform for them at their post-Super Bowl Party. Surely it would be THE Super Bowl Party to attend. I tested it out; I told people about my idea and they laughed at me and said that it couldn’t be done. I was the one laughing when I found myself in the main ballroom of the Westin Kierland Resort Hotel in Scottsdale Arizona performing for the players and their families and guests just before Earth Wind and Fire and Alicia Keys went on.
This ride across the United States is the same thing. There’s a vision of a new reality that I feel in my heart and soul. A world free of hunger; free of homelessness; free of suffering; free of fear. I have dreamed big. And I am now taking the steps to make it happen. The possibility of failure does not exist, for I have the burning passion to see its manifestation and the drive to never give in to the temptations that may threaten to keep me from this important and much needed mission of spreading light throughout the world.
I began consciously working on this project in 2007 even though I wasn’t aware of it yet (paradox intended). An entry in my journal from February of that year says that my work will be, “…like an angel sweeping into…lives at just the right moment to deliver a message – then disappearing.” Later writing that the work would, “create such discussion and commotion that it would be difficult not to sit up and take notice...It will be like a dream of a new world…scary to some; absurd to others.” The idea is to use my work, essentially, as an Earth Angel; “to inspire meaning and hope,” to help positively guide humanity to experience a new world reality.
"An Earth Angel,” says Australian humanitarian Kerrie Guy, who is currently living and working in Cairo, “is someone who honors their spirit and passion in life; they allow it to guide them regardless of any logical perception they possess or any well meaning human advice they receive based on persons logic. Angels do not work in logic! Angels work from inspiration; that place where a multitude of valuable guidance resides for us each individually if we dare trust it! We all have the potential to be Earth Angels; we simply have to become inspired; that is we have to get ‘in – spirit’ and trust and work with our own unique inspiration!"
After hearing about the Journeyride some have asked, “Why?” To which I reply, “If not this, what? If not now, when?” Today is our chance to make a difference; what are we waiting for? It is said that in order to get what we have never had we must do that which we have never done. I fully understand that this physically challenging experience is also a spiritually challenging exercise. As author and Community Arts Developer Patrick Overton famously wrote, “When you walk to the edge of all the light you have and take that first step into the darkness of the unknown, you must believe that one of two things will happen: There will be something solid for you to stand upon, or, you will be taught how to fly.” It is hoped that this journey will likewise inspire one of two things to happen: that it will set into motion a series of events that will bring humanity to either stand upon the solid ground of peace, or to soar to heights beyond that which we can currently image.
Some have questioned my decision to begin the ride at the edge of the cold days of winter. As a performance artist I find great joy in expressing meaning through metaphor and winter, representing death, perfectly expresses the profound emotional meaning which is part of the driving force behind this mission. After experiencing the death of my best friend in 2007, it felt as if I too had died, yet I was still alive to grieve my own passing. This symbolism will later be carried over to the end of the journey coinciding with the beginning of spring; representing rebirth and a hope for the future.
But the purpose of leaving in the winter goes even deeper. Hundreds of thousands of people all over the world will be without refuge in the blistery months of winter this year by no conscious choice of their own. We may be sympathetic to their circumstance. We may be empathetic to their situation. But by voluntarily joining in their suffering to help discover a panacea for their condition, it is an ultimate act of compassion to end the suffering of humanity.
As nineteenth century Canadian poet Henry Drummond once said, “Happiness...consists in giving and in serving others.” I do not maintain that doing this mission will make me or anyone else happy; but by boldly stepping forward and giving of myself to others despite the circumstances and despite the criticisms it is my conviction that true bliss will be found. Simply put, the Journeyride Project embodies what twentieth century American mythologist Joseph Campbell famously instructed, “Follow your bliss.”
I am not that naïve to fail to understand that this ride will be without obstacles. There will be moments that I will question my very decision to come up with such an idea, and wish that I was back home to sleep in my own bed. That I had a warm home cooked meal. That I could be with family and friends. That I didn’t have to keep moving forward. There will be moments that test my physical strength and mental capacity. There will be cold snowy nights and burning hot days. I will encounter less than kind individuals that only aim to take advantage of me and try to cause harm. I will get injured. I will get tired. I will want to give up. In short, I will experience the same frustration that hundreds of thousands of people deal with everyday. But I will want something more. I have something to say; and with the world listening I will say it.
It is my hope that this information has adequately answered some of the concerns about the Journeyride Project. I do understand that these concerns come from “well meaning human advice” of persons of logic, yet I maintain that illogical thinking inspires innovation. Contemporary English philosopher Tim Freke writes in his book Lucid Living that, “History shows that today’s sensible certainties soon become tomorrow’s silly superstitions. We look back at many of the beliefs of our ancestors and find them crazy and amusing. Isn’t it possible that our descendants will look back at our present cultural assumptions and find them equally crazy and amusing?”
If today someone suggested to you that woman in the United States should not have the right to vote you would undoubtedly question their sanity; yet less than one hundred years ago woman had to struggle to advocate, in some instances under dangerous circumstances, for that right.
Also in the United States, just over a hundred years ago, there were deadly confrontations because of those that held the radical idea that slavery was immoral. Now we look back in disgrace at our ancestors for the severe lapse in judgment that allowed that injustice at all.
With this is mind, it is not too hard to image that a hundred years from now, or maybe two hundred years from now, that the world will similarly look back at our current time and just laugh and laugh at our absurdity. They will wonder why we had to struggle so hard to achieve such sensible common needs that by then will be universal.
“You may say that I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.”- John Lennon
Too much has already been said about the Journeyride Project. There is a danger in planning in that we plan so much without actually doing anything. Nothing is ever perfect and waiting for something to arrive that never will is quite possibly one of the causes of insanity. Dream. Plan. Act. Evaluate. Dream some more. Plan some more. Act some more. Evaluate some more. And repeat.
Please remember to express your support for the Journeyride Project by tracking my progress at www.JonasCain.com where you can view pictures and stories from the assignment.
I'm a mirror (and so are you).