Setbacks arise in road to Life’s answers

Enroute to Shangra-La, I lost my Passport.

My ticket to Israel and India disappeared along with all paperwork which would allow me to leave the United States to begin a 12-day pilgrimage. The trip of a Lifetime.

Did I mention the three check books I also lost? All gone in a flash. All left in a plastic zip-lock bag carrying my e-ticket, my itinerary, along with a book by Rav Michael Laitman, the spiritual leader of the Bnei Baruch Kabbalah teaching method handed down by ancient sages.

My travel papers were last seen in Jamaica.  No, not the Island Paradise, but that section of Queens, New York, the “hub” of railroad traffic passing through New York City. I had travelled there from Philadelphia and was on the last leg of a 5-train trek  to JFK Airport. Five different trains and not one mishap! Until I started to readjust two travel bags and dropped my train ticket. I retrieved the ticket from the concrete platform floor and rushed with the bags as I saw my train pulling up. Got on the “Air Train” headed to JFK and my ascension toward the heavens.

I was chatting with a fellow returning to his home in Switzerland, when I jumped from my seat and hollered “holy s–t,” realizing I no longer was carrying my packet, and feeling the onset of panic. I searched the chair and the floor of the train, and opened my bags, hoping I had put them inside. No such luck. They were gone.

Oh, my God,”  I said to no one in particular. All those plans for India and Israel gone down the drain, not to mention the savings I began just a year ago when I vowed to go to India sometime in the Year 2010. Was the Creator — the Force some call God or the Fates — nudging me into a direction I needed to go other than the most holiest places on the Earth? Could I be man enough to accept this detour and not sink into a PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) episode and go ballistics?

There is none else besides Him,” I prayed, uttering what has become a “mantra” of sorts in the past several months. God is good. Things happen for the good, but we don’t always see it that way. We’re suffering too much to see a “guiding hand” through what we perceive as a tragedy or disaster.

“If I am not for me, who else will be for me?” I said, completing the 3-part Kabbalah “method.” This last part provides one with the “fiction” of taking action on their own part and not to let another force act for them. I asked myself, what would the Creator do in my situation? How would a Buddha deal with this latest “Cause and condition?”

And so, I returned to the “scene of the crime,” the platform where I last seen my passport and ticket. But the metal chair I had rested on was empty. I felt as blue as the color of the metal bench where I spent just a  fraction of my life with such far-reaching consequences.

I reported the loss and could do nothing more at that point. And I sat. Meditated. Accepted whatever the outcome was going to be, already visualizing how I’d avoid showering in a strange place,standing and waiting in customs lines, and the downside of other experiences on most trips.

Two or three trains passed as I started to plan my return home. An African-American — a Muslim — encouraged me to be positive when I shared my story with him. He praised the authorities and said they would do all to help me.

A security guard making his rounds caught my attention as  I heard him asking a series of questions over the phone. He looked at me, asked me my full name and address, and what was in the contents of he bag. I told him and he repeated it, then looked at me again providing the good news. Someone, a good Christian woman, had found the bag and turned it in to a woman named Dolly at the Delta check-in. She was a Hindu, I learned when we spoke of our affinity for Ganesha, my favorite elephant boy deity.

I bowed with hands clasped together and would have prostrated the marble floor of the JFK Terminal, but Dolly was behind a counter and would not have seen the honor I wanted to give to her. Got my bag. Passport and ticket all secure and made it to Israel, the “land of milk and honey,” a refreshing Oasis in my latest journey.

Somehow, I felt this was to be just the start of a new and wonderful relationship.

24 comments on “Setbacks arise in road to Life’s answers

  1. student says:

    You know that this was meant to be, don’t you?

    It was written in the stars a long, long time ago in a place far, far away.

    Greek gods have been watching over you and getting a helluva kick out of your strange, yet entertaining, Odyssey.

    Keep up the journey and Ithaca will be in your sites very soon!


  2. Michael, I’m going to join the chorus and say that I’ve been thinking of you and wondering if you are okay. I’m glad to see the more recent comment that you made, that you are well. That was my main concern, I was worried about you. I admire you devoting time to your spirituality. Many hours can be wiled away on the internet. We miss you. You will always be fondly remembered by me as the first person who ever acknowledged me on my Blog, such a beginner that I was, and still am. I am forever grateful and wish you a boatload of blessings my friend!
    Hugs from Maggie, “The Spirited Soul” 🙂


  3. saradode says:

    Are you back, Michael! I just saw that you did a “Like” on my last post….Oh boy oh boy oh boy! I have seriously missed you, and I have prayed that your travels were wonderful and that you got home safe. Please let me know what’s up with you, yo!!



    • contoveros says:

      I’m into Kaballah and am searching inward on my journey. Saw your wonderful article on Bin Laden and just had to respond to your loving kindness, compassion and understanding.
      michael j



      • saradode says:

        Thank you, Michael! I actually just read that the Church has decided not to do the prayer; they’re going to pray for peace instead. Well, peace is a good thing, too… 🙂 (actually, the two things–peace and forgiveness without conditions–are intertwined).

        No pressure whatsoever–I can certainly understand the desire for some solitude and silence for the search inward–but if you’d ever like to send me a message and talk about what you’ve been up to, I’d love to hear it. My address is nancysdp at g mail dot com. If not, I wish you all the best!



  4. saradode says:

    I’ve been thinking about you, and wondering where you are, for months? Did you ever come back from your trip? Did you find the door you were looking for? I really miss you, and I hope you’re well, and I hope that you check in at some point.

    Nancy (from the “Open Your Eyes” blog, which, I believe, you were the only person other than myself to ever read all the way through!)


  5. blissbait says:

    AHHHH! MIchael, I’ve missed You and Your wonderful weaving of words. This story made me laugh and cry. You’ve touched me deeply here and reminded me of brilliant possibilities and love. So cool. THANKS for sharing this. I hope Your trip held all You desired. Much Love and Cheers and Namaste. 🙂


  6. Katharine says:

    Michael J,
    Very strange being disconnected from your regular postings. I hope this trip turns out to be everything you hoped it would be – and more!!
    Peace and blessings,


  7. soulstrand says:

    Happy 2011 Michael… wherever you are!


  8. David says:

    A message from the family:

    On November 8, 2010 at approximately 1 AM a frequent contributor to this site, Walter G. unexpectedly and permanently ceased posting in this domain. Sadly, his new posting domain is not generally accessible. He wishes you the best.


  9. soulstrand says:

    Hello Michael… What have you been up to? I miss your stories! Diane


  10. Panic, Surrender,Trust and Gratitude in action. What a Grand Gift.


  11. Josie says:

    Wow. What a story – the invitation for a deep acceptance, and then the discovery that your bag was safe. I hope you had a wonderful enriching time … and funnily enough, I want to visit Israel too. Thanks for sharing. Blessings, Josie


  12. mittaipink says:

    Wonderfully told. And your reactions are incredible and teach us a lesson. Hope you enjoy your trip to the utmost


  13. Viv says:

    Have a good trip and gaffertape all important docs to your person. NOW>


  14. alywaibel says:

    you tell a great story, Michael! Glad you got on your way! Have a wonderful trip ❤


  15. Dee says:

    Wow! I could feel your pain. God does work in mysterious ways, I definitely see that as a God moment.Enjoy your time now.


  16. Love this kind of story MC. (I enjoy all of your blogs.) Have a gorgeous week. ~ Alex


  17. Nathea says:

    What a fantastic adventure, Michael. So many life-lessons. Can’t wait to hear more when you’re back at the sangha. Peace & continued blessings.


  18. Your posts teach me so much Michael… I’ve been LOST lately in this physical world getting everything all set with my new credentials… it’s not a good feeling place for me to be for very long… brochures, open houses, marketing, supplies, office dynamics, etc…. YUCK! You reminded me this morning that there is so much more to “life”… the magic happens all around us… Looking forward to hearing about your trip! Diane


  19. Lisa Horwitz says:

    I LOVE this!! What a great way to start my day!


  20. oleg berezovski says:

    Hey Mike, you lucky b”’ch !!!!ha-ha-ha
    Enjoy your trip!!!
    Bring for me some good gift….don’t forget practice kamasutra!!!
    ok. have a safe trip &


  21. souldipper says:

    Remarkable, Michael j. Simply transforming. Imagine your incredible response to such a horrific experience. Did you ever believe you would get there? Bravo, dear man. Many blessings in every step of this trip.


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