Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Cruising with a purpose

So I've signed up for a cruise heading into balmy Pacific waters where the ship carves a course through blindingly blue sea and the sun beats down from dawn to dusk. The air is filled with laughter as cocktails are shaken, the salad bar is endlessly re-stocked and ice settles in glasses as the cruise director coos news of countless shipboard amusements over the PA. 

Massages, dance lessons, art auctions, cooking lessons, tai chi, wine tasting, yoga, shopping, facials... you can imagine the delights.  

Meanwhile, down in the bowels of the good ship Oosterdam, in a small windowless theatre, I'm settling in for another lecture with some fellow cruisers as we get stuck into a course called Fractal Evolution. 

The lecturers are Gregg Braden and Bruce Lipton, top authors in the stable of Hay House International, the giant American publishing company that specialises in what the book trade calls MBS - the mind, body spirit genre. 

Having published in that area myself, I was intrigued by the sound of what they were offering.  Here's the blurb that drew me in: "Faster than we can document it in the media or teach it in our textbooks, it’s clear that we’ve entered a new phase of life on planet Earth. From the unprecedented crises of broken economies and the realities of climate change, to the shrinking resources of food, fresh water and the renewed threat of World War, even the experts are reeling at the perfect storm that’s converging on our near-term horizon. With all of the uncertainties there’s one thing we can be sure of: the collapse of global systems leads to big changes in our personal lives. 

"In this compelling new program, visionary scientists and bestselling authors Gregg Braden and Bruce Lipton marry their expertise in science and technology with the intimate knowledge preserved by the world’s indigenous elders to answer the questions on everyone's mind: What does our changing world mean to us? And what can we do to ease the transition?"

How could I resist? Cruising's fine but mixing the indolence with some stimulating mind food sounded wonderful. Bring it on, I thought. 

I wish I could tell you I triumphed in the learning department. The boys were compelling, their messages profound, their stories pertinent, their passion undeniable.  We touched on a thousand Powerpointed matters:  the world's stark choice between destruction and transformation, the wonders of cell biology, Darwinism and how he got it wrong,  indigenous wisdom, global warming and the Antarctic ice core samples that prove it's not our fault, energy healing, epigenetics, the rise and fall of civilizations,  self-belief, ancient scrolls, the tree of life, the nature of physics, geomagnetic fields, reincarnation, Hopi prophecy and the power of community. And more. 

All of this poured out every day that we were at sea in between afternoon tea time and the cocktail hour. You know, that blob-out time of day. When you're on holiday, what really calls you at 3pm is napping.  

At the end of one afternoon I left with my head full to bursting, fled through the noisy dazzle of the casino and the happy-hour cheers from the bar and went outside to gulp in what I needed most – air...buckets of salty air, the setting sun's warmth and a view of limitless blue.

The disconnect between what we were learning and the happy, mindless, pleasure-seeking other life we were luxuriating in was too much. I went a bit nuts there for a while. 

My mood roller-coasted between high elation at being out on the ocean on a huge, gorgeous ship surrounded by huge minds, and deep gloom over my lack of scientific education and the scale of my own tiny life. Then, bless it, on some weird energetic level my body seemed to sympathise with my turmoil and went out in protest. Suddenly I had a sore throat, a snotty nose and could hardly breathe (what, in the tropics?!) and with huge relief was forced to lie down. 

I think next time I want my mind blown I'll do it on dry land in sensible clothes with a sharp pen and a posture of total attention and dedication. If I cruise again I'll absorb nothing more challenging than a cracking good novel and the menu of delicious spa treatments. Oh, and another of those Tequila Sunrises would hit the spot as well.  :)

PS I did actually learn a lot. And had a wonderfully good hot-stone massage. Thanks, Ann, star member of the Oosterdam's spa staff.

1 comment:

Burg said...

Wow, what an amazing program. Seems incongruous with the notions I have of cruising and probably make most heads explode -on dry land or otherwise.