October 11, 2020, 6:45PM
On a train to Greenwich to visit my soul-family-sister, Marcy, I reflected tirelessly on a consistent travel itinerary that kept me living that gypsy life; a three month quarantine, a month in Florida, a week in West Hampton, two weeks in Istanbul, Turkey, a month in Southhampton and a brief layover back home in Manhattan before heading back to West Hampton for what would be a life changing class and experience.
Johnny Walker Blue and house full of creative inspiration was a welcome touchstone.
That night, I had a dream.
In the dream, the late country singer, Kenny Rogers came to me. With incredible technicolor, I could see his corse thick gray hair and Santa Clause beard growing out of the wrinkles on his face. He extended his rough manly hands and invited me to sit down to a table. He looked me in the eyes with his piercing blues and began to sing to me, like a father to his son;
“You've got to know when to hold ‘em, Know when to fold ‘em, Know when to walk away. And know when to run”
The following morning I awoke and told Marcy about the strange dream.
“Do you have any connection to him or to that song?” Marcy asked
“… Riding in my Dad’s red truck listening to his 8 Track tape of “The Gambler” from my childhood” - I replied
I loved the song and the nostalgic memories it brought back with my father but I hadn’t heard it in probably 20 years.
“What do you think the dream is trying to tell you” Marcy replied.
The class and experience in I was invited to contribute and participate in the previous week was called - “Foundation”.
Think of it more like the killing of old paradigms and the restructuring of life anew. Consistency, even with the flamboyant definition I gave it, held a point of view I was comfortably prone to. This “Foundation” experience would soon destroy that.
Upon completion of the class, I was inspired to return to Istanbul to work with Dr. Dain Heer, one of the creators of that class. The trainings in Istanbul, less than two weeks away, would be major and deeper experiences into a transformative life experience modality called; Access Consciousness.
Founded by Gary Douglas in the early ’90’s as he channeled the rogue Russian healer “Rasputin”, Access (as simplified) invites you to create a new reality for yourself, without any judgment whereby annihilating the notion of “Right and Wrong, Good and Bad” - including any lack, pain, suffering and so many more human constructs many have come to accept as the norm. Dr. Dain Heer joined Gary in the early “00’s and helped bring Access Consciousness to the world with a greater reach, employing his background in chiropractic medicine. More on Access Consciousness later …
Upon completion of the class I was eager to go the distance, to employ these new concepts even deeper to integrate into my private practice to help others and to help myself.
“What’s next?” I asked the two facilitators of the class.
“Well, Dr. Dain Heer, is offering the next TWO levels of Access in Istanbul, if you want to really dive in head first”.
I leaned over to my college, Sara, and said “Let’s Go”. She jumped at the idea.
But there were walls. Big walls. Walls that I looked at with incredible significance; Commitments, Money & Time. I am sure you are familiar with these usual suspects that wait in the wings to hijack our mind when contemplating potentially life changing paths to greatness. Often these roads may give us the opportunity to shift gears and change lanes into a parallel universe.
That October Morning, as I sat telling Marcy about my dream, the heavens opened up and it began to pour. At that point, it didn’t even occur to me to tell Marcy about my desire to go to Turkey. It wasn’t even a point of discussion. I continued to marinate on the dream alone, as the rain nourished the earth and expanded my awareness out to the far reaches of the universe.
“How does it get any better than this, What else is possible?”
Access Consciousness is built around living in the question of endless possibility. By nature, the humanoid experience wants to figure everything out and find an answer. In the Foundation class, I learned tools that I was now beginning to employ systematically.
“What will it take to manifest this journey of possibility?”
Living in the question is not always easy, because we are geared to NEED the answer to everything. In Access you learn that the answer creates the box that you put yourself in, and while you think you’ve figured out the basics, the endless possibilities the universe wants to give you are blocked by your limited awareness of what could truly be.
Was all of this a big gamble? Was I gambling with life? Was it time to learn to know when to hold ‘em or to fold ‘em?
Employing the “Access” tools, I let go of trying to figure it out and just continued to ask:
“Who does this belong to? What am I supposed to learn from this?”
The days following became equally as magical as they did debilitatingly painful.
October, 17, 2020
The following Saturday, less than a week later, through awe-inspiring quantum mechanics It all manifested. I was going to Istanbul in four days on a one-way ticket.
“What grand and glorious adventures can we create?”
October, 21, 2020
In the back of the Uber on my way to JFK Airport, I checked in for my flight online. I was polarized with a clause in the check-in process.
“This is a one way ticket, you must have a return flight or transit flight booked out of Istanbul to be granted entry into Turkey by the boarder agent”- it read in bold italic print.
Quickly I googled ways around this. I read on a travel blog that now with most airlines waving cancelations within 24hrs, you can book a flight, enter Turkey, and then just cancel the flight.
While on that same site, I noticed an article that was posted; A list of the places where Americans can travel without Covid restrictions. I browsed. In the region the offerings were more abundant than in most places in the world but I must admit, none of them were high on my “Must-Visit” places;
Bosnia & Herzegovina
Montenegro looked promising. I had heard about their gorgeous beaches and ancient mid-evil architecture. With close proximity to Greece, I reached out to my dear friend Ioanna in Athens to invite her to meet me for a creative adventure (We have been doing this regularly on zoom since meeting in Athens in January).
"What would we create together that would change the world?”
Already turning this into a work trip, Ioanna was intrigued and eager to join.
I looked further; “Update on traveling to Montenegro”. As of three days prior to publishing, a 72hr Covid test was now required. Undeterred, I kept looking for other flight options. If Ioanna could meet me, it would be worth it to undergo a test. The great news is, once you’re in the region, its very easy and cost-effective to travel anywhere. Immediately I logged into my favorite airline booking app, “JustFly” to search for possibilities;
Tirana, Albania, with a 22 Hour Layover in Belgrade, Serbia was my ticket. At $89 it was a throwaway if things fell though and I had to return to the states from Istanbul.
While Ioanna was still contemplating Montenegro, I began to be intrigued by my “throw away choice”. I dove head first into YouTube travel bloggers who had reported on traveling throughout Albania and others through Belgrade, Serbia. I let it sit. I was confident that no matter what arose, I would choose a healthy, exciting, positive adventure.
A week later Greece went into lock down. Ioanna would not be able to meet me. My growing curiosity for Albania encouraged me to commit. I found GORGEOUS Airbnb’s in both Belgrade, Serbia and in Tirana, Albania. Hosts for both places, were beyond gracious and helpful in assisting me in planning my trip. Blerim, my host in Tirana, put me in touch with an expert guide, Ilir. We connected. I threw some things out there, He threw some back. We had a plan.
My two weeks in Istanbul were a blur. The trainings were beyond logic and comprehension, and My symposium with healers from across the world, was a great success. I met countless and incredible souls to collaborate with in a collective effort to create a huge impact in the world.
November, 2, 2020
“Know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em”
I had the dream again, but I was onto the message now.
At the time of this second-coming of Kenny I was considering canceling my further travels and just return back to the USA. Mind you, there was no legitimate reason at this point to do so, except the nagging overbearing (but loving) chorus coming from the USA, imploring the immanency of another lockdown.
“What was I doing? What did I hope to gain from further travels when I could always come back at another time?” They would collectively harmonize.
However, It was not the time to “Fold ‘em” …
In fact, this time I took another gamble. I left my suitcase with friends in Istanbul so I could travel lightly in the coming days, guaranteeing a return to the magical city after my Balkan adventure! How’s that for daring?
Belgrade was truly Magical. My host Goran picked me up at the airport with a sign declaring my name. He brought me back to my incredible little flat in the center of town and sent me toward the best places to highlight my brief time there.
This article isn’t about the details of these magical places, so you’ll have to wait unit further posts for those highlights, but it is about the magic of being and following your heart into possibility.
November, 4, 2020
Arriving in Tirana, Albania the following day brought me immense joy. What would I expect here? Who would I meet? How would I impact, or be impacted by the people, places and experiences I was about to have?
As blessed as one can get, my Airbnb host, Bleirim just happened to work in Human Resources at the Tirana Airport. He graciously met me, put me on the right bus that would leave me in front of his flat, where his wife would meet me to check me in.
What else is possible?
Seamless. She greeted me with an open heart, wonderful advice on sights in Tirana, and a short list of Albanian words to get me by.
“Faleminderit” - I replied (Thank You)
The next day, Ilir, my new friend and Albanian guide, picked me up and we set off for the Mountains. Literally.
“I had an idea to take you to a very special place on top of the mountain overlooking Kruja” He offered.
“It’s a mystical cave where people go to light candles and make wishes. The Sufi’s consider it a Holy Place and many important leaders of the order through the ages are buried there”
I was in. Little did my new friend know that not only was I mystical, but that visiting resting places of righteous souls in Israel was a cherished pastime. Adding elevated Sufi masters to my cannon of divine support would always be welcome.
Within the first few minutes of meeting Ilir, I knew our souls were destined to meet.
The following day he picked me up at my flat again, this time for an even grander adventure to an ancient Unesco Apollonian site and, on the way, A mid-evil working monastery. To top it all off, a trip to the shores of stunning, Vlorë, a seaside town in southern Albania, about two hours from the capitol.
On the long drive, Ilir and I exchanged cultural anecdotes. He shared with me what it was like growing up under communist rule through its fall in ’93.
“More people knew who Michael Jackson was then Jesus Christ” He said, referring to the communist ban on all religion.
He also indulged me in opening his heart about the women who had touched his life, with significant Albanian tunes blasting on the radio, as a soundtrack to the scenes he painted.
“Can I play you my favorite American song?" He said. “I would love that” I concurred.
He fumbled on his phone to connect the Bluetooth. The speakers crackled as connection issues threatened disruption. Then it happened.
On a warm summer's evening
On a train bound for nowhere
I met up with the gambler…
We were both too tired to sleep
So we took turns a-starin'
Out the window at the darkness
The boredom overtook us
And he began to speak…
He said, "Son, I've made a life
Out of readin' people's faces
Knowin' what the cards were
By the way they held their eyes
So if you don't mind my sayin'
I can see you're out of aces
For a taste of your whiskey
I'll give you some advice”
So I handed him my bottle
And he drank down my last swallow
Then he bummed a cigarette
And asked me for a light
And the night got deathly quiet
And his face lost all expression
"If you're gonna play the game, boy
You gotta learn to play it right
You've got to know when to hold 'em
Know when to fold 'em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run
You never count your money
When you're sittin' at the table
There'll be time enough for countin'
When the dealin's done"
Ilir was a gambler too. Instantly it all began to make sense.
“Every gambler knows
That the secret to survivin'
Is knowin' what to throw away
And knowin' what to keep”
I was winning this hand called life.