“How do you know if you succeeded in your mission?”
This question has presented itself throughout the journey time and time again, from various people, trying to wrap their heads around the idea of a young Israeli guy, going around the country as a self appointed ambassador, on a mission to promote his country and push his ideology in each and every state, yet doing this without a set timeline, scheduled talks or even a basic itinerary of where he’s going to be next.
And to be honest, I get it.
As westerners, we’ve been so accustomed to live our lives in the confinements of the “known” and “predicted”, order and structure, just so we can feel “safe” as much as possible.
It’s no mystery as to why we choose to live our lives this way, as much of it is attributed to a subcontinuous mechanism that is still making sure a tiger won’t surprise us as we step our foot out of the cave.
New Realities – Same Old Mindset
Even thought we live in the safest times in human history, most of us are operating unknowingly according to this primal wiring of our human brain.
And as much as keeping ourselves safe from predators is one reason we survived as a species, there is another factor.
Something that helped our nomadic hunter gatherers ancestors find food and shelter!
For you and I, human beings living in the United States of America in 2018, western scientific outlook on the world is the only way we know. Making a distinct separation between the observer and the observed. Something, that is in complete contrast to the indigenous people of the Americas, Australia and Africa, who see themselves as part of the creation and nature, and as only one element of a fully integrated environment.
Us being such “scientific”, has caused us over time to suppress our natural “gift”, and made us put more trust in a machine based analysis of a problem than ourselves!
If you’re wondering what’s that “gift” I’m talking about, it’s called intuition!
My One and Only Measurement of Success
The intuition, a virtue ingrained in the core of each and every one of us, has been my sole compass and assessment result tool this journey.
And so whenever I hear the question “how do you know if you succeeded in your mission”, I can’t say “Oh, Kentucky has a small Jewish community so a 10 people meeting would count as success” or “I had 20 personal interactions with non Jews in Florida and that was my goal”.
For me, the answer is much simpler – I just feel it!
A Tale From The Road
Here’s an example from this past few weeks…
As I was crossing the Florida panhandle on my way to the “real” south (Alabama), this “not knowing what’s the plan” and “trusting my gut” mindset, was what drove me, same as it did in the last 17 States.
After a short stop in Gulf Shores with an Israeli friend I met on a surf trip in Panama exactly a year ago, I continued to Mobile Alabam.
The entire drive, Danielle was nagging me to reach out to the Jewish Federation in town and see if we can set something up with them, but something inside me felt it wasn’t the reason for my arrival this time.
As we stopped for the night at an half empty parking lot, trying to lay low with a 22 feet 82′ Winnebago without catching too much attention, I checked some of the events that were happening around us on Facebook.
Mobile is the birthplace of the Cajun community in the south. Unfortunately, a devastating hurricane hit the port some 300 years ago and most of the Cajun community moved to New Orleans, a fact that marked the beginning of decades long rivalry between the two, on who does Mardi Gras better (and explained the crazy number of events going around town a few weeks before “Fat Tuesday”).
Out of the long list, I found a free, 3 days meditation retreat in town, a practice I’ve been looking to expose Danielle to for a while.
I’ll save the longer version of this magical weekend to the memoir book, but to give you the abbreviated version, it was a once in a lifetime experience!
Meeting people like D’vora, a spiritual seeker in her 50’s who’s been to Israel years ago, and in a small group discussion with people who knew nothing about this country, shared how amazing it is and how she thought of moving there.
Meeting people like Lenny, a 68 old Jewish man, recovered alcoholic originally from New York, who spent the last 20 years of his life advocating the benefits of AA meetings to people who struggle with alcoholism.
When Lenny was younger, he was a student in the university of Haifa, and for him, meeting an Israeli in a place like Mobile Alabama, was an opportunity to make amends for his wild actions back in Israel.
And meeting the Welsh’s, a couple of University of South Alabama psychology professors, that are almost half a century together and just now made their first Israeli couple friends.
In a million years I wouldn’t have guessed that this would be my experience in Alabama, and even if I worked from now till 120 I wouldn’t be able to set up something like this in advance.
To Conclude –
I don’t expect everyone to understand the reasoning or choices I make in this journey (heck, at times I don’t) and I’m definitely not trying to convert anyone into a more spontaneous person because that’s the way to live life to the fullest.
I’m just a storyteller, figuring out himself, life and everything in between. I offer lenses for others who wish to see reality from a different perspective, and hope that in the process it’s not just entertaining but also doing good in world 🙏
*This Shabbat I’ll be doing with the Chabad Rabbi of Biloxi Mississippi and the local community. Next week I’m planning on being in New Orleans for Mardi Gras long weekend and then continuing to Texas!
As always, if you have any connections in those places please let me know!
P.S – I need your support!
To make a donation and support my effort to promote Israel in all 50 States, please visit my Patreon campaign. The goal is to get to 100 people who’ll donate $30/month but there’s no minimum. You can donate as little as $1 per month and it will still make a difference!