First of all, I wish to say a huge thank you to everyone who, acting on good will and perhaps a tiny dose of insanity, has already purchased my new book even thought technically it does not yet exist. We managed to get into the top 200 bestsellers on Amazon for a considerable period, which means that this nonexistent volume actually trounced innumerable books that are actual physical products. All of you who preordered have my most heartfelt gratitude.
Speaking of things that happen before they exist, as I was writing Finding Your Way in a Wild New World, which, as you may know, is all about making things happen with less effort and more amazement, I experienced a succession of events that should not have happened. It seemed I was continuously encountering the kinds of people I was writing about: medicine men, shamans, healers, and mystics from all sorts of obscure traditions around the world. I thought that when I finished the book that these events would stop. In some odd way, I had convinced myself that my daily writing sessions were causing me to pay abnormal attention to the subject and that this was creating an illusion of “manifestation” that would disappear when I stopped writing. I may be wandering off into “woo woo” territory, but at heart I am still a skeptic.
That’s why I was surprised when, not long after I finished the book, I was introduced to a shaman from South America and invited to attend a retreat in a remote region of the American West. I was somewhat nervous about the entire event. Even though I have been running them for years, I have never been to a retreat myself. I had no clue what shamanic ceremony we’d be performing and, as some of you know, I have a slight tendency toward anxiety—to the extent that waking up in the morning is an athletic exercise of will and courage. The one thing that can reliably calm me down is an animal—any animal. I love animals. If I woke up and there was a rat in my room, I would be profoundly calm.
So, as I set out from the airport to the wilderness area where the retreat was to take place, I decided to request that animal be sent to calm me. I do this a lot in Africa and it always works there, though the Londolozi Game Preserve is so magical that I have begun to take it for granted. This time I decided I wanted to see a Pronghorn antelope. These animals are native to the American West, but though I have lived in their immediate neighborhood most of my life, I had never seen one. They are wary, very fast and learn to avoid people. So, as I sat in my rental car, mentally “calling” Pronghorn, my hopes were not high. A few seconds later, to my surprise, I experienced an odd sensation much like a hot flash. I my head, I heard (or thought I heard) something say, “We will bring them right to you.” I popped another Centrum Silver for aging women and thought I was imagining things.
Four hours later, I was motoring down a dirt road toward the retreat location. I was in a wide valley, too high for trees to grow, and could see for miles around me. Suddenly, in the distance, I caught a blob of movement, a little like a patch of sand, moving quickly across the ground. I stopped my car and stared in complete amazement, not quite daring to believe that I was looking at a herd of Pronghorn antelope. The blob came toward me like it was late for an appointment. When it was about a mile away, I could make out individual animals. Until the herd was very close, I didn’t dare believe that the very beasts I had requested were headed toward me, against all logic and instincts. When they were about a block away from me, there was no more doubt. They were much bigger and chunkier than I had expected and fast. I have since learned that Pronghorns are the fastest land animals in North America. These animals were not living in a protected game preserve, but in a place that was frequented by human hunters. Yet they sprinted a considerable distance to the one human artifact in sight—my car. And then they stopped.
As I sat in my car, alternately laughing and gasping, the last thread of my disbelief snapped. There really is some sort of communion between humans and the other animals that share our planet. There really is something real in the belief and practices of humans who have found harmony with the natural world. And there really is magic.
Arthur C. Clarke once wrote, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” To me, an iPhone is pure magic, yet I accept its existence. Mine continues to work no matter how many times I drop it. Sometimes I use it incorrectly or I’m in an area where the signal is weak, but that doesn’t mean I stop believing that the technology works.
Similarly, the “technologies of magic” used by ancient people must be used intelligently and correctly to have the desired effect. Very few people still know how to program them, use all their apps, or even turn on the power, but that does not mean there is nothing to these technologies. Not only do they work, they are part of the hardware that was born into your brain and body. They are waiting for you to take them out of the package and begin fiddling with the buttons. At first, you may not see many results. Keep tinkering. Ask people who know. Look for small effects and repeat the actions that produce them until the effects become more noticeable. If you persist, there will come a day when something sprints toward you with such determination and such beauty that your disbelief will snap like a dried twig.
Along with some of my master coaches, I have decided to label these “Pronghorn Alerts.” Just having a name for them will help you identify them in your own experience. When you have a Pronghorn-type event, even a tiny one, you must sound the “Pronghorn Alert!” by posting it to my Facebook or Twitter page. There you can also learn the not-at-all secret hand signal that we have invented to designate the statement, “I have just performed a miracle.”
We look forward to reading your stories and thanks again for being a miracle in my life. Just the fact that you are reading this makes you a bit of a Pronghorn to me.
Fun Contest Time!
Sound Your Pronghorn Alert!
We want to hear about your miracles! Post your Pronghorn Alert on my Facebook or Twitter page (use the hashtag #wildworld) between now and Noon Pacific time on December 12th (Yes! That’s 12 on 12/12!) and you’ll be entered to win one of ten autographed copies of my new book before it’s available in stores. As a matter of fact, you’d most likely have it in your hot little hands by Christmas. For more information on the contest and to hear me talk about my own Pronghorn Alert, watch the video below. Then pop on over and post your Pronghorn Alert pronto!
[Can't see the video above? Watch it online!]