After returning to Seattle and spending two months, somewhat isolated in Ron’s garage, Adam and Ron both agreed that it was time for Adam to move out and start interacting with a larger social sphere. Adam left and went to the one community in the Northwest that he knew would offer him understanding and support. It was amazing to see the love and support Adam received from the artists, musicians, poets and healers that make up the community at SoulFood Books. The friends and mentors Adam has found at SoulFood create for him a place where he can comfortably and safely navigate his spiritual journey.
I see similarities between Adam’s SoulFood community and a remote village I visited in West Papua (formerly Irian Jaya). I had spent a few days camped outside of a little hut in which a great grandmother was dying. During the time I was there, a steady stream of neighbors from miles around came to hold, spend time with and say goodbye to this woman who appeared to be in her 90’s. The people in the village did not make her feel isolated or alone on her journey. Erpi, her great granddaughter is mourning in this photo.
When I returned to the U.S. I went to NYC to document the work of a non-profit that ran an elder care facility. Even though the facility was very clean and well run, seeing all these seniors somewhat warehoused and taken care of by paid attendants in their last days was such a contrast to what I had experienced in West Papua.
Have our priorities in Western culture created a system that eschews spiritual transformation – making it more difficult for those having the experience, and their loved ones? Why are effective support channels so few and far between? It was just by chance that Adam found the two communities—SoulFood Books and the homeless community in Maui—that have become islands of understanding and support for him.
All I can hope is that the healthy environment there will be exactly what he needs to take his next steps to healing.