I was at the outdoor gym with my buddy Brett Robbo the other morning. He’s the happiest person I know on-the-planet. He’s also one of the fittest, both mind-fit and rig-fit. I jokingly call him the number one DILF on the Gold Coast.
If that’s lost on you, go and watch Amercian Pie, an American classic with one-liners for days.
Robbo and I were cranking through an outdoor gym workout with our little training buddy Oliver, Robbo’s two year old.
He’s a frother from way back.
Way back in the womb even due to Robbo and his wife Mari listening to my Spotify playlist through their pregnancy, aptly titled ‘Finding the Frothers.’
Thus, he had no choice to be a Frother.
Amongst sit ups, lunges, pull ups and Oli’s favourite leg-swings, all of which would keep me sore for the rest of the week, we got onto the topic of how I’ve been since returning from the farm…
I’m eternally grateful for my partner Jacqui, my small group of legendary humans on the Goldie who keep me honest and support me in so many ways, but a piece of me was missing.
Robbo asked me “How are you readjusting?”
I said, “It’s like, once you live somewhere and connect into the natural cycle of things it’s hard if the next place doesn’t have that.”
Most of us live disconnected from the natural flow of things and there’s something completely different when you plant, grow and harvest the food you eat and drink the water collected on the land. Your piss and shit is then returned back to the land as part of the cycle that grows the food and on and on. Not to mention the dialogue with the plants and animals.
That’s the feeling of connection that’s gone.
Even with going to farmers markets and avoiding the use of plastics etc. it doesn’t compare. Something feels broken.
It also goes for my connection with the humans in my apartment building, which I’m reflecting on. I’m nice enough to them, say G’day in the surf, but I don’t feel like I want to strike up a friendship. I don’t see it as energy well spent.
How much of your energy do you spend talking shit to people you don’t see a future with?
Now having seen what communal living and growing can be, it’s a little bit of a drug, or a portal to deeper connection.
Is it a Vice? Can you max out on nature?
I’m sure you can, if you suddenly decided to completely neglect your family in favour of cutting away and going nature rogue.
That would be awesome, but also shitty at the same time.
There’s a series on ‘Vice’ (the publication) about a dude who’s lived by himself for 40 years. Shot his nephew for trespassing once. That’s a bit anti-froth, or fizz as it were. Perhaps for some, it’s the jam.
Robbo, then asked me “what I’d recommend for more people to experience this?”
Is said, “Do what I did.”
If you have the luxury to do so. Alternatively shorter versions of nature immersion to varying degrees are powerful. Everything from an arvo spent out in a rainforest or bush through to a Vision Quest.
I was listening to one of my new favourite authors Arkan Lushwala on a podcast and he was talking about a fella who returned from a four day Vision Quest atop a mountain.
From what I know about it, A vision quest is usually taking yourself out into nature and disconnecting from everything to connect with yourself and nature. Usually with a guide who looks out for you.
You won’t eat, have your phone or even pens and paper to write on. Sometimes you won’t drink water either.
These are essentially ‘death practices’, your body starts to die.
Physiologically it’s actually a good thing because there’s regeneration that occurs at a cellular level. You can read about my fast here if you want to go deeper into this.
Beyond that, spiritually it is a way to experience that Near Death Experience.
Seeing the light, flashbacks to the past.
If you make it back, you usually then decide to be less of a c*nt.
These are hard things… And if you’re a second Australian brought up with an Anglo perspective on death, you wouldn’t think of starving yourself and depraving yourself of your ‘god save the queen given right to nourishment’ as a great idea.
Something I’ve been pondering is that people go all-round the world to experience these things, when the culture exists here with first Australians and their rites of passage.
FYI — This isn’t something we can just go out and do and from what I know, if you find someone willing to take you straight out, you’ve probably found a charlatan. Do ya research and speak with many people before hitting the bush.
God vs Coca-Cola!
Is that called burying the lead? Or is that just what a dog does when he’s sick of his owner?
So the young fella does a four day vision quest atop a mountain and returns brimming with poeticism and insight. Arkan as the holder of the space is impressed.
But on the trip back down, said young fella asks him to pull into the service station.
Arkan does so and the guy hops off, and before he knows it is back with an ice cold Coke. He takes his first sip, turns to Arkan and says “ahh, now I feel like myself again.”
This wasn’t what was supposed to happen, right?
That’s not in the fecken’ script. The guy had a glimpse into his true self atop a mountain and this Coca-Cola dragged him straight back down… or maybe not.
So my question was ‘can we have such a profound god-like experience with oneness and then still enjoy a coke?’
Can we have happiness in both the material and meta-physical?
My enquiry into Vice Optimisation has burrowed its way into a new depthness. So deep it needed a new word.
And I thought my obsession with Vice Optimisation was Wayning*. But if we’re going to become custodians of the planet, these ‘vision quest’ type experiences are right bloody up there. And I thought they were the goods!
But then how do we continue on the path, while still having a Coke every now and then.
And when I say Coke, I mean other things like coke, beers, chocolate, Netflix. Insert your vice and fire away.
It’s worth saying that all the people I’ve spoken with personally who’ve done these quests have had powerful experiences and Arkan seems to have the majority same result.
Some just want some sugary goodness.
What does this mean for us on the path?
Well, actually hold your horses slugs, I’m not saying you’re necessarily gearing up for enlightenment by going out into nature, communal living or doing a vision quest.
Many of us are on some winding path forward (there’s no such thing a straight path), but a lot of us are a little stationary, and others are doing backstroke through pig shit.
So maybe if you’re one of the last two, it might be worth looking into these options.
I’m cycling home from our gym sesh and thinking about my experiences with mind and body-altering events, they do recalibrate, but at the end of the day if you froth on Cokes, you may forever froth on Cokes.
And within the grand scheming of things, I’d say no, just so long as the Coke keeps a good head of froth on it and you don’t over-froth it AKA start drinking them everyday and lose the intention for it.
I’d love to yarn with Arkan at some point.
I’m going to throw that out into the Universe.
He’s a frother for sure.
I wonder, What would he think of Vice Optimisation?
My guess is that maybe you give it a little longer than cruising back down the mountain before you tip in some battery acid.
But anywho, no time for speculation — that’s for dickheads.
Should probably just figure out how to contact him.
Watch this space.
- ‘Your mate’ Wayne who turns up late to everything. Fucken’ Wayne.