Photos and Excerpts

Sister Flor and I
Niki with Sister Flor in Baguio City, Philippines

 

This week I found the Holy Grail and started a revolution; now I’m going to the Philippines with Excalibur in hand and the Black Madonna shielding my heart— to buy my wife a Louis Vuitton Bag
My name is Feenx.  I am the Lady of the Lake, and Genghis Khan has risen from the ashes and freed my soul.

 

Niki at SOTH

Niki, Revo, and Hannah with Nathanuel Mejica and the SOTH children

 

I lay awake in bed that night, praying for guidance.  It occurred to me that all I had dreamed was being overshadowed by my own personal guilt over past mistakes.  My fear of losing the most precious thing in my life was holding me back from using my skills and my gifts to better myself—and maybe even better the lives of others.  I continued my nightly meditation for over a week, before it occurred to me that, given what I was asking for, I was not offering a fair exchange.  It was only several nights later that I opened myself up completely to the idea of change.

It is not natural or comfortable for me to think in terms of influencing others.  Although I have always felt deep down that there was something more I was meant to do and was raised by my grandmother to believe in the talents I was born with; I found myself hesitant to delve into that part of me.  Of course the thought of using those talents to make a difference in even one person’s life was an extremely uplifting idea yet it was just that, an idea—a dream that upon my awakening dissolved into reality and, day after ordinary day, was never realized.

 

Niki and Madison et al

 

Niki, Madison and Dexter hanging out in “The Provinces” with some of the local farmers        

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s a crazy world in which we live, when two weeks ago I could be happily living out an average ordinary life in the city of Toronto, and then suddenly I could find myself uprooted and halfway around the world.  I guess I would be exaggerating slightly if I said happily living, since, though I had a job, was surrounded by friends, and was living with a boyfriend who very obviously adored me, I, like many others living in my city, was completely dissatisfied with my current place in the world.  Thing is, the unhappiness was never based on my need to attain a higher material status.  I don’t really want a bigger house or higher-paying job to pay for the bigger house.  I can’t imagine two things in life more likely to bring stress into my world, so I have very pointedly, for years, been trying to avoid both.  No, if I was unhappy, it was lack of balance more than anything that was causing my distress.  I had momentarily lost sight of the part of me that makes me whole.  In ignoring that side of my nature, I had quite effectively managed to make myself sick.  A weakened soul breeds a weakened body, and, as I had neglected to feed my spirit for far too long, my body had decided it, too, had had enough.

Niki and Madison in “The Provinces” exploring local culture and traditions

Crew and Cow     Table of Friends

 

It is not my place to tell you what to perceive as real; reality, after all, is subjective.  Take, for instance, the Christian who believes that Jesus was crucified, died, and was raised again by a God who loves all his children unconditionally.  That, to them, is reality, and the contents of the Bible are viewed as fact.  Now, explore for a moment the Wiccan belief that the power of the world comes from the very earth itself and connects every living thing.  To them, it is the manipulation, or, rather, controlled usage of that interconnected energy that allows what others perceive as magic to become a very real and very useful tool to maintain a comfortable and peaceful existence.  To each individual, each situation, though coming from different ends of the spiritual spectrum, is very real.  As such, reality becomes subjective, depending solely on one’s fundamental needs and personal experiences.

Niki and a Baby

Niki cuddling one of the SOTH children in Quezon City, Metro Manila

 

Niki and Kids

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Niki and Hannah with a couple of the SOTH children at SOTH’s first big concert in Metro Manila

 

Of course, viewing someone as potentially dangerous is subjective. When you think of all the people you meet along the road of life and the effect they have on yours, you can see my point.  Next time you are out in public, take a look around you, and, if any of the people you see are a threat to your safety, your happiness, or your way of life, try to figure out why.  Where you are in your life at the time will drastically alter who you perceive as a danger.

If you are a young woman, then perhaps the well-built, muscular young thug standing on the corner is more a potential playmate than a potential threat.  If you are a little old lady struggling home with a couple of bags of groceries, then that young man likely looks twice the size he really is and three times as dangerous.  To the cop driving by in the cruiser, the young thug is probably more a potential nuisance than a potential threat.  To the baby mamma staying at home awaiting his arrival, he is possibly her salvation.  Think about it.  To the baby mamma he represents the food and shelter he provides.  The cop is wondering how the young man goes about providing that food and shelter, and the old woman is hoping that in his quest to provide food and shelter for his own family he does not take hers away.  As for the young woman, she is not likely thinking much beyond the fact that he is a hottie, and if shelter crosses her mind it is only in relation to the bed that may found inside.

So, you see, it completely depends on you and what you perceive as the reality of the situation.

Wanting the full experience, Madison learns the use of machetes
and guns from our friend Dexter in “The Provinces”

Madison with Gun

Madison with Knife

The people I have met are the real people behind an extremely strong, positive movement in this country to alleviate some of the poverty caused by oppression.  They are not in power; they do not want power, and yet, they have more power to help make change than I would have previously believed.

Their hunger to help others is far beyond what we define as charity.  They live each moment wrapped secure in their faith and are willing to give their lives for that faith.  They eat, sleep, work, and play with one goal in mind.  Their entire existence revolves around that goal, and they continue to sacrifice all they have in order to achieve that goal.  It is empowering to witness how a few tiny steps begun with strength of conviction can turn into such a long and wondrous adventure.

I have witnessed those who have nothing giving of themselves, because it is all they have to offer.  I have witnessed those who have only one piece of bread breaking that bread and dividing it, willingly going hungry so others can eat.  I have witnessed the man who owns only the shirt on his back going bare-chested so a child would be clothed, and I have witnessed the birth of a new day, with renewed hope for a better, safer world.
One of the children just came out to sit with me, and when she saw what I was doing, she simply stated, “You need to write…”

She is only nine and her use of the English language not extensive, yet she is more able to perceive the reasons behind what I do than I myself am able to comprehend.
It is a need—one that cannot be put aside and one that will not be denied.  I write to appease that need, to quench that desire, and I hope that in doing so I can share what I have seen and learned here.  As I have said many times before: if you could see what I have seen, you, too, would believe.

There is magic in this place.  Magic in the hearts of these people.  Magic in the lives that they live.  Magic in the truth of what those lives, lived as they are, mean for the future of their children, their people, and, I believe, the world.

 Niki and Revo ListenNiki and Revo speaking to a rice farmer about the importance
of the younger generation keeping up local traditions.

 

 SOTH Concert SOTH Big Concert

The SOTH children performing at their first major fundraising concert – part of the magic of SOTH is that ALL the children are encouraged to participate in their own success and the success of the children’s home – it is truly a ‘family affair’

 


Niki Norlock is a gifted writer and her awakening resonates with mine through a different twist of fate. My path was designed by the Divine, hers, through her awakening and discovering; a discovery of the true meaning of human existence by going to a different part of the world and learning a different way of life in a different culture. In her life travel, she discovered the power of forgiveness and gratitude to heal the human heart…the same discovery I had when I learned that forgiveness is a gift to myself; that is when all my brokenness was healed. Her book is powerful and one must read it to know her and understand her Synchromystic journey.

Julie Cox, Philippines
Author of I Ordered My Future Yesterday: The Julie Cox Story.

 

Photo credits: Jeffrey Dela Cruz / Randy Raytos / Deo Loredo / Hannah Theisen