The unfortunate belief that ‘you get what you attract’ or ‘put out into the universe’ that is so popular in a variety of new age circles is an ugly cousin of ‘divine retribution’ usually reserved for other religions.

So true, Maria. Yes, in the end, when I look back, I smile because I realize how “fitting” my journey was, for how the reversal in fortune that I experienced parallels so many legends. Since I’ve been writing a memoir about these past couple of years (China included), I sometimes even wonder: What makes for the better story? What’s the story I want to put out there? And even the question of coming out of poverty once I’ve “learned things” or “achieving lasting happiness” once I achieve a stable grip on my means then become loaded ones, because they perpetuate the narrative that escaping poverty is a personal achievement reserved for those who truly “grow,” or that we do need prosperity in order to be content and to thrive. I’m more “comfortable” than I was in my China years, but I still struggle. I’m not sure where the current situation will go. But I hope whatever the story is can help people.

As for the tribe in Shanghai that wasn’t right for me, I’m still thankful that I encountered them because they taught me a great deal, mainly through all those hits-and-misses. I think to them, I was just another drifter who “wasn’t ready” for their league — forgettable — which is amusing, because they were so large in my own story. As for their own spiritual journeys and destinations, I can only hope that, if life deigns to teach them something like it taught me, their roads will be easier than mine was. I don’t believe in the notion that we all “have to suffer” in order to grow. And that’s why I share my stories too; in the hopes that people can take some valuable lessons or healing from what I’ve lived, to spare them unnecessary hardships.

Thanks for your encouraging words and for offering such a thoughtful prompt for reflection!

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Love, sex, dreams, soul, adventure, healing, feeling. I kinda experience life as magical. Memoir is my jam.

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