Updated: Dec 16, 2020
The butterfly effect is described by Wikipedia as:
an idea that says that a small change can make much bigger changes happen; that one small incident can have a big impact in the future.
This week has been one of unknown and untold impacts and I wonder how many happened in your week?
I posted a story earlier in week on my social media that demonstrated very clearly how a single act of connection can positively transform the life of someone else with no effort at all - it was unplanned but totally intentional. You can read that here if you want.
Today I have a different story to share - one of untold impact, happening far and away unknown to me. I've decided to share it in two parts to show how our lives truly interconnect in ways we could not possibly comprehend:
The first part is the story from my perspective - a story that started more than 8 years ago.
The second part is a shorter story from the perspective of someone who reached out to me today.
This series of events leaves me with a sense of wonder about the great mystery of our world and the symphony of events that unfold in totally perfect chaos.
When I sat down to meditate on an alabaster platform at Abu Ghurab on November 10 2011, I could not have imagined that single act would spark a chain reaction of events 8 years later that contribute to the site being re-opened for tourists.
None of this was my intention, and none of this was planned. In fact, such are the mysteries of the universe that I had no idea that this had even happened until today, 30th January 2020.
My original plan for Egypt in 2011 was to be at what was widely described as a powerful alignment between Orion's belt and the pyramids of Giza. There is a lot of controversy about this alignment theory that doesn't bear going into here. The plateau was closed on 11/11/11 and I was one of those who was asked to leave the site on account of a 'threat' by people to conduct sacred rituals. What does matter is that for whatever reason I was drawn to be there and the events that have unfolded since are a result of that trip.
I had started this adventure in Dahab - a place I love for its simplicity and charm. This was my second trip to the Red Sea with plans to dive the Blue Hole and see the beautiful Anthias which are native to this part of the world. It was not to be... once again I was suffering sudden sensorineural hearing loss in my right ear which was impacting on my hearing. I was left with the dull drone of mid-frequency tinnitus to keep me company.
On the evening of the full moon, I joined a small group of travelers and locals, and we took a jeep into the Sinai mountains where we sat in silent meditation for 4 hours.
The moon and stars moved overhead as we shifted positions every hour.
It was a deep and reflective time given where I was at with my hearing and the intentions I was setting for the time ahead in Giza.
When I finally arrived at my recommended lodgings in Giza, I was offered a premier room on the roof of Sphinx Guesthouse. Gouda Fayed the kindly and welcoming owner made me feel immediately at home and cared for. Gouda grew up in Nazlat al Salman, a small hamlet next the Sphinx and his modest guesthouse had hosted the author Robert Bauval and famous celebrities like Shirley MacLaine.
Gouda's brother, Ahmed was an acclaimed tour guide, and, according to an old website I found, '[Ahmed] was the personal guide to well known individuals, some of these noted personalities are; Henry Kissinger, Elizabeth Taylor, Princess Diana, Leo Buscaglia, Pat Robertson, The Grateful Dead, Mrs. Jahan Sadat, Shirley MacLaine, Sally Jessy Raphael and Ken Kesey.' It's no surprise then that I should stay with Gouda for this particular event.
The views from my room on the roof were nothing short of spectacular, with a 180 degree panorama of the Giza plateau. In the evenings I sat under the stars and watched the Pyramids by Night light show - you couldn't not see it from my vantage point, and I awoke to some of
the most serene and beautiful sunrises before all the tourists arrived. The issue with my ear did distract me from being 'in the moment', and yet in the recesses of my mind I know that this experience was truly extraordinary.
The day before the 'great alignment' I had arranged a tour to Abu Ghurab near Abusir with the express intention of meditating at the site, and I specifically wanted to go by horseback. My friend had described to me his own experience at Abu Gurab and I didn't really know what I would find or what to expect. In retrospect, a jeep may have been more comfortable but not nearly as nostalgic (or memorable).
I was greeted by a beautifully misty morning when I put my head outside the doorway and looked in awe at the pyramids. It's a view that you almost have to keep pinching yourself for - am I really here looking across at these marvellous structures? How is it possible that I am paying so little and staying somewhere so unique? The Sphinx Guesthouse has been renovated in recent years and is still modestly priced for such charm.
My guide and I left early before the heat of the day rose above the desert.
As I reflect back on that day, I distinctly remember my discomfort at exploring the metaphysical side of this ancient place. My guide was very knowledgable and sensitive to the tourists he took to the ancient sites and appeared more at home with my desire to meditate than I was.
I feel that my discomfort was influenced by the spiritual broo-haha that had ignited around the 11/11/11 date and I felt self conscious riding a horse out to an ancient complex when perhaps I felt I should be doing something other than meditating At this distant, slightly neglected place. I wonder how many of us have felt trapped by our 'shoulds' and missed the opportunity to 'be in the moment'?
We stopped at very specific places along the way and The guide explained what he knew about Abu Gurab when we arrived. He seemed attuned to the powerful places and knew exactly where I should sit.
There are many theories about the temples of Abu Ghurab and their purpose. Almost all agree it is a necropolis. The information that resonated the most for me was about this Temple’s linkages to the seasons, and the cardinal directions on the alabaster altar in what would have been a courtyard of one of the temples.
You can read more about the sun temples of Abu Ghurab here.
I have no memory of the meditations, but I do remember feeling very uncomfortable standing on the alabaster altar as I viewed it as a sacred place.
With my Guide's earnest encouragement, I took my seat and bathed myself in whatever energy was there; and allowed myself to enjoy the stillness and peace for a while. The guide was excellent with the camera and he took a series of photos while I sat in quiet contemplation. Today, I am forever grateful for the gift of his time to take me to Abu Ghurab, his gift of knowledge, and his acceptance of me more at a time when I was still grappling with this whole meditation thing.
My memories of Abu Ghurab near Abusir and the pyramid complexes of that trip loom large in my memory; but I left Giza and have never returned or thought that much about it until today.
So ends my part of this story; but it's not where the story ends.
In the world of social media, our ability to connect and impact people is far beyond our imagination. This aspect of the internet isn't lost on me, but I'm forever amazed at what's possible.
There have been occasions when people I have chatted to in the early days of the internet have tracked me down through social media to say 'thank you' for helping them through a particularly tough period in their life (I was a frequent user of internet chat when it was a 'thing' in the mid 90's and was open to talking to people from all over the world and listening to their stories).
Today I received a message of a different kind.
Hasan made his presence known on my intagram in November 2019. I thought nothing of it - he responded to a story with an emoji... the world is full of strangers.
A few months later, however, Hasan messaged me to let me know he is from Abusir village, and to thank me for helping him find the best places to 🧘🏻♂️🧘🏻♂️ along with a photo of near where I had sat in the sand looking towards Abu Ghurab.
Hasan shared that it was through my posting of the above image on Instagram in 2018 that he was able to discover a place that was right in front of him, but that he knew very little about. Although right in front of his eyes, he didn't know it.
I'm always touched when someone shares a message like this - it's so aligned to my philosophy of 'just one person', and making an impact 'one conversation at a time'.
The next message, blew me away and has kept me so energised all day...
A series of photos came through showing a meeting amongst a group of men, large machinery clearing up rubbish in a village somewhere and finally a newspaper article:
What? This can't be real...?
Hasan and I exchanged a series of messages throughout the morning, and I asked a friend to translate the gist of the article into english.
The article confirms that the youth of Abusir campaigned the Governorate and authorities to re-open the temples of Abu Ghurab to bring tourists and help alleviate poverty in the village. My own internet searches revealed an article I could translate into english which says:
...the youth of Abu Sir village made several claims to all the concerned authorities for the speedy opening of the archaeological area. Most of the village youth are graduates of colleges of tourist guidance and antiquities, and there are a number of them working in the Ministry of Antiquities or Tourism, and a large number working in tourist guidance, and the village has a number It is a small hotel, very close to the archaeological area, where the operation of the archaeological area will be a great source of income for the people.
I've asked Hasan to keep in touch so that I can follow the unfolding events more closely, and I inquired as to how this inspiration had arisen.
Hasan explained that he was at the 'beginning of the road' and my instagram photo encouraged him to 'continue with that path to now'.
Our minds cannot comprehend the possibilities or the impact we can have (both positive and negative) on other people. Our world is far more mysterious and interconnected than we openly acknowledge, and through the power of social media (which I sometimes despise just a little bit) we can, and do, transform lives without us even realising it.
I've read books about soul-planning from Robert Schwartz,I understand quantum processes and our interconnectedness, and I'm very attuned to the possibilities of 'the butterfly effect'; but none of this compares to seeing it in action and having people contact you to let you know.
If an instagram post can inspire someone to mobilise the youth in a village to re-open an ancient site that was mostly neglected and forgotten, then what else is happening out there in the world that we don't know about?
In sharing this, it is my hope that you continue to show up just as you are, doing what's important to you. I'm always a bit self-conscious sharing some of the more spiritual elements of my life in the public domain; but I'm starting to 'dance like nobody is watching' and I encourage you to do the same.
Lastly, if you have been impacted by someone or something that someone did - be like Hasan and reach out to that person to let them know. There's a good chance you might just make their whole day!