Calling all Publishers

Posted by on Apr 11, 2016 in Blog | Comments Off on Calling all Publishers

Calling all Publishers
Calling all Publishers

“Go Ahead, Rock the Boat” pitches a transitive action to be daring, different, and unreasonable, whatever it takes to assert constructive and positive change. Get up. Seize opportunities. Take creative risks. Learn from failure. Because life affords us with choices; we can either steer our boat into calm waters, paralyzed by fear and complacency, or we can purposely make waves so that we may raise the sails and soar in the breeze. This book is about how five teenage friends, through insightful conversations and life-changing events, discover their life purpose. Each surrender their common life for an exceptional one, but the transition means they have to step from the known to the unknown. The varied topic-specific conversations encourage the friends to go after what they believe to be important, by stretching themselves beyond their comfort zones and building their wings whilst in flight. They strike out new paths to find new fertile ground. The exchange of viewpoints and thoughtful problem-solving theories are intended to illuminate ideas aimed at solving universal problems about issues like erosion of national pride and identity, politics, religion, poverty, education, disparity, materialism, substance abuse, single parent households, exposure to cultural diversity, the consequence of rapid technological development, and the difficulty of cultivating dependable relationships, amongst others. Together the friends discover what it is like to work on a Kibbutz in Israel. In this unusual setting they forge new friendships, get caught in the middle of political conflict, identify with the hero’s journey, and learn Krav Maga. “Go Ahead, Rock the Boat” is a learning curve that humanizes the transitive action that by rocking the boat to make a few waves you too will find where your life’s course lies. [Synopsis by Theresa Lutge-Smith]

Extract from the book: Chapter IV: Heroes’ Journey

Wise men throughout history, other than theologians and academics, have advocated that in order to become a ‘man of  knowledge’ you must first conquer fear, recognizing that it is a treacherous enemy and often difficult to overcome. If you are terrified in its presence yet choose to remain passive, this enemy will have put an end to your quest. You will never learn. You will never become a ‘man of knowledge’. You will instead be timid, detached and defeated. Fear will succeed in manipulating your every thought and action. But if you absorb knowledge in the midst of fear, you will eventually conquer it. The defense is to be fully afraid and yet take the next step in learning, and the next, and the next. Finally, a moment will come when this enemy retreats, and you begin to feel sure of yourself. You become stronger. Learning is no longer a terrifying task. Clarity of mind is achieved. Your desires are known. Nothing is concealed.

Zach, Jon, Lea, Emma and Connor had taken the first amazing steps on the road to each becoming a ‘man of knowledge’. In their own unique way they had conquered fear. They had learned important skills in survival. They had learned to question everything. They had learned never to give up. However, their experiences had uncovered more questions than answers. The friends welcomed the supposed serenity of their two-storey house at the Kibbutz. Things were ostensibly back to normal. The familiar sounds of the compound were reassuring, yet strangely unnerving. The knowledge that anarchy prevailed in the county, that clandestine criminality reigned between opposing factions, that a terrorist attack, however minor, could disrupt the calm within seconds. The friends’ recollection of petty terrorism had broadened their perspective of what a massive onslaught might look like. They knew they were vulnerable, unprepared. The aroma from the wild flowers in the garden permeated the central courtyard, which delighted their senses. But the friends were alert to subtle nuances. They had noticed an increased military presence in the compound. And it was uncommon for the dining hall to be in darkness. Despite the imminent warning signs of an altered state of reality, they were comforted that their small circle was once again complete. Rachel had surprised them by dropping off a large bowl of Acquacotta soup for their supper. “It’s Italian peasant food,” she added with obvious pride.

Emma gave Zach and Jon an impulsive hug.

“We were so worried about you guys.”

“Likewise! Your ordeal in the desert and camel rides must have been great fun.”

“Not!”

The shrill ear-piercing sound of an air-raid siren erupted the calm. Residents emerged from their homes and in an orderly fashion hastily made their way to a designated shelter. Numerous pre-cast concrete fortified square structures, with colorfully decorated exterior walls, were permanent fixtures throughout the compound. The shelters were above ground, fully-accessible structures. Daniel later explained that Operation Life-shield was an emergency campaign to save innocent lives. These steel-reinforced concrete shelters were in normal use as schools, kindergartens and senior citizen centers. The five friends had made their way to a shelter hidden among the trees near their house. The mural depicted a beautiful landscape of rolling hills, green fields and horses drinking at a stream. It was impressive how quietly the residents had occupied the shelters. They had over the years become accustomed to this kind of exercise. On previous emergency drills Israel had carried out more than 6 000 airstrikes, while Palestinian armed groups fired nearly 5 000 rockets and 1 800 mortars. But on this occasion the preemptive strike never materialized. Israeli jets had destroyed the enemy’s rocket launching capabilities just minutes before it would have attacked the Kibbutz. As fellow residents exited the shelters to return to their houses, the five friends remained.

“Each of us experienced some sort of revelation with the recent trials we faced, and now this. Surely, this changes the way we should approach the future, showing people the way to strive for lasting peace?”

“Think about it for a moment. Today’s world arises from a very different mindset. Some cultures even glorify hostilities and violent revenge as a solution.”

 “But kids our age want to make the world a better place.”

 “In order to achieve peace with justice, people’s belief and perception of dispute and war needs to be changed.”

 “No matter which direction one looks at war, it’s a crime against humanity. The mindset is to kill people and destroy everything on a massive scale.”

 The world accepts that killing in war is legitimate, acceptable, and even glorious. Killers are given medals. Statues are erected in their honor to inspire future generations to follow by example.”

 “What you’re saying is that if our generation rejects war as a solution to political conflict, then the world will be moving towards peace with justice?”

“Certainly, but changing peoples’ attitudes won’t happen overnight. That alone will be a long struggle.”

“It’s not about leaving a better world for our children; it’s about leaving better children for our world.”

“I suppose it’s natural to look at the world from the comfort of our personal pulpit. You see it. You feel it.  You know what must be done differently.”

“Someone has to take the lead, right? If not us, then who?

“I believe everything starts with asking questions. Everything is changing. We are changing. But are our values and objectives being adjusted to fit these new environments?

A tall well-built young man stood in the doorway of the concrete structure. He was dressed in track pants and a tee shirt. His head was partially shaven. He looked to be about eighteen.

“Hi. My name is Yossi. I’m the Krav Maga instructor.”

“I’ve always wanted to learn self-defense.”

“Can girls sign up?”

“Of course. Class starts tomorrow afternoon at five.”

The friends walked back to their house. While the expectation of an imminent airstrike had a reflective effect on them, they were thankful disaster had been averted. What they did find disturbing was the submissive response of the other residents. In Judaism, based on the Torah, death is not a tragedy. It is a natural process. It is believed that our death, like our life, has meaning and is part of God’s plan. However, life is valued above all else; taking a single life is like destroying the entire world. Sleep came as a welcome relief. The fresh smell of clean linen, characterized by distinctive spicy-floral aromas of jasmine and bergamot, inspired peaceful dreams. Recent events had affected change in the way Zach would from now on collect newly-laid eggs and clean the chicken coops; the way Lea would sort, dry and fold laundry; the way Emma would peel the humble potato or chop an onion; the way Connor would grade the oranges and extract the golden liquid for bottling; and the way Jon would inspect the dairy cows for signs of illness, injury or distress. Even though the volunteer work presented the same routine and expectations than before, each of the friends had undergone a perceptual shift in the way they identified with the tasks at hand. If ignorance before was bliss, awareness of becoming a ‘man of knowledge’ was now paramount. Zach, Lea, Jon, Connor and Emma accepted that from hereon they would have to journey through a challenging transition. They instinctively knew they would encounter considerable bewilderment as one way of life ended and an evolved mindset would take precedence to embrace new challenges. Start a new chapter as such. Or perish by the wayside. Escape was an illusion. Some kind of polarity was pulling their awareness in a different direction.

The friends had recognized qualities in Daniel they admired and agreed to approach him to help them cross the threshold to developing their new conviction. The unfamiliar rules and values of their quest warranted mentoring. Each of the friends had recently encountered major challenges and faced their greatest fear; death. Now that they were back at the Kibbutz, their individual pursuit was to nurture a new life at an elevated level. Their heroes’ journey had just begun. They were committed to finding the ‘treasure’ and bring it home. The Krav Maga training took place in the school gymnasium. A training session was in progress. Several men and women were involved in intensive fighting that looked anything but simulated. The new recruits later learned that these were trained soldiers. They were expert in carrying out disarms, striking and grappling tactics to escape from impossible situations.

“For the next two weeks you will learn moves that will become instinctive to your body.”

“We need to be good at self-defense. The idea is to take our skills back home to teach others.”

“We only teach Krav Mega to select individuals. The focus in on anti-terrorism. Classes include fitness training, sparring, grappling, gun and knife disarms and dealing with suicide attackers. Exercises are acted out in real time against aggressive determined opponents.”

“Sounds life-threatening. Hopefully we get to wear protective gear!”

“Krav Maga is the only martial art out there right now that was designed for survival purposes only. Anything that we teach is designed for self-defense and self-preservation. We follow no rules. We don’t prepare ourselves for competition or tournaments. Practitioners spend their entire training time preparing for war. All Krav Maga techniques are designed for self-defense in a realistic street environment situation.”

Introduction to Krav Maga started with the ‘muay’, a front kick drilling with both rear leg and front leg, the side kick and the knee kick. This was followed by some striking drills using the elbow, and basic punching and blocking. As the daily lessons progressed, the trainees learned to combine elements of blocking, punching, kicking and take-downs.

“The next stage of the training will cover hand grabs, shirt grabs, and chokes.”

The group responded instinctively to ground compliance techniques and rapid destruction techniques, as well as moves to defend against knife threats and attacks. They also trained with improvised weapons such as jackets, belts and key chains.

“The kickboxing fights are extreme.”

“It helps that we are fit.”

“Next we will move on to knife threats, then knife attacks.”

Yossi taught them how to deal with every sort of attack from every possible angle, close range and from a bit of a distance, as well as gun threats. The trainees were by now at the peak of their fitness, and were ready to be exposed to hand to hand combat.

“Today we will deal with situations when you are pushed against a wall, attacked with a knife, stick or gun – essential skills in anti-rape and hostage situations.”

Yossi had asked a group of trained Israeli soldiers to interact with the newly qualified Krav Maga practitioners. The fights that ensued were full force and as real as any impromptu assault. The lessons learned were put to good effect. It was evident that their moves were swift and instinctive. Even the trained soldiers were impressed.

“Yossi, can you explain the origin of Krav Maga?”

“Krav Maga training is all about the real world. When people train in boxing or martial arts such as Jujitsu or Karate they sometimes wonder, ‘But what about the real world? ‘Would this training really help me on the street?’ Krav Maga is a combination of boxing and several martial art disciplines.”

“Krav Maga also borrows techniques from Aikido, Judo and wrestling, along with realistic fight training.”

“But how did Krav Maga develop?”

“Initially it was derived from street-fighting skills as far back as mid-1930. The system was improved over time and became known in Israel as Krav Maga. Elite security guards of Jerusalem were trained in gun disarms and knife defenses. These guys fought for a living, in the meanest streets of Jerusalem. Their opponents were knife wielding assassins, drunken thugs, and suicide bombers. Just to be accepted as a guard one had to have served in a combat unit in the Israel Defense Forces. Many of them also had served in the Russian army. The qualities they needed to develop included technique, awareness, discipline and aggressiveness, and the ability to improvise, adapt and survive.”

“I bet they also had to learn to deal with pain!”

“It was created so that Jews without any weapons, or any other resources for that matter, could defend themselves.”

 “It’s always better to be prepared and to prevent something from happening than healing it afterwards.”

“Krav Maga is about real fighting in action, not simply a display of technique.”

“You are graded according to technique, discipline, and aggressiveness. Technique is obviously important. Discipline pertains to following rules and regulations so the job will be done effectively and by strict guidelines. Aggressiveness is vitally important.”

The two week intensive training came to an end. Yossi had expressed his approval of his new graduates. He cautioned them however not to flaunt their capabilities, but to apply their knowledge of self-defense and survival skills intelligently. Yossi stated that every person, young and old, should learn at least the basics of self-defense, and that it would be a good thing for the friends to share their knowledge as Krav Maga trainers in their own country. Daniel had become a constant spectator at the gymnasium over the friends’ two week training period. He had got to know Connor, Lea, Zach, Jon and Emma well in a relatively short time, since their arrival at the Kibbutz. They had on many occasions confided in him that they believed him to be the right person to mentor them about life and how to find solutions to perennial problems burdening humanity. But mostly, they wanted to know how they may discover their true purpose in life.

Most people today are unhappy with the world they live in. Young people are especially angry because they will be left with the responsibility of having to restore the planet, somehow.”

“Past generations exploited the Earth for profit. The effects of climate change are accelerating the extinction of animal species. The earth’s land mass is receding. Coasts are sensitive to sea level rise and warmer ocean temperatures.”

“Rising atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide are causing the oceans to absorb more of the gas and become more acidic.”

“Even cultural values worldwide are rapidly being eroded. Wars resulting from differences in ideologies threaten to bring humanity to the point of extinction.”

“World famine is a looming threat. Most of us have by now heard the forecast that there will be 9.2 billion people in the world by 2050, but current projections suggest human numbers will not stop there. It will keep on climbing to at least 11.4 billion by the mid-2060s.”

“What will the world of tomorrow be like?”

Millions of discarded mobile phones and other electronic devices are being dumped illegally in developing countries. The global volume of electronic waste increases annually.”

“The extent of electronic waste is about 7kg for every person on the planet. That’s massive!”

“Because electronic goods contain toxic substances such as lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic and flame retardants, once in landfill these toxic materials seep into the environment, contaminating land, water and the air.”

“And it’s causing serious health problems to people who live in these landfill countries.”

“Another huge problem today is that many young people have no direction. They are struggling to make the leap into adulthood, as educators, leaders and as parents.”

“And what about religion? Today’s kids are moving away from religion.”

“Religion has become a dirty word. Even talking about religion makes most people uncomfortable.”

“Perhaps people should look at the meaning of the word. The word religion comes from the Latin ‘religio’, which means ‘to bind together’. According to scripture, that’s essentially its purpose, to unite the human race and to foster the spirit of love and fellowship amongst men.”

“Then why is religion central to conflict—war and terror attacks?”

“Religious fanaticism is on the rise.”

“Young people particularly are being swept up by these ideologies. They are keen participants because they believe it will give them a personal identity. Young people have a powerful need to belong.”

“A lot of people today live well below the poverty line. Many don’t have much of an education. They can’t find jobs. On top of that, many kids come from broken families. They live in rough neighborhoods, which are the breeding ground for street gangs, drug abuse and violence.”

“Young people are right to be angry. They want a better life. And when their circumstances don’t show any likelihood of improvement they usually release their anger in some form of violent behavior.”

“Even pre-teens suffer from depression and feelings of hopelessness. So, when a gang or a fanatical ideology promises them a so-called life of purpose, they are easily influenced.”

“Also, rapid changes in third world countries are a motivating factor. Young people especially are attracted to religious ideologies that offer them freedom, new skills and the opportunity to connect with like-minded groups.”

“They hate that their disadvantaged governments accept economic and political support from wealthy nations in the West, especially since they perceive their sponsors’ culture as decadent and irreligious.”

“This strengthens the hand of fanatical religious leaders.”

“Many oppressed people worldwide, particularly religious fanatics, believe that socialist revolution offers the way out of their misery. Terror attacks against secular forces and governments are rife.

“Ironically, humanity today is spiritually rudderless.”

“The world is constantly at war. You would think history would have taught nations that in war everyone loses. Even the side that triumphs would have suffered great losses!”

“Sixty million people have been displaced by the current wars; the highest number of uprooted since World War II.”

“Nobody really does anything to change these atrocities from recurring. The world responds with disturbing paralysis.”

“Things are worse than they’ve been in a long time!”

“Instability is spreading. Suffering is growing. No country remains untouched.”

“There are deeper forces at work in today’s world. There is an agenda to reduce the world population that we are not privy to.”

“The world trembles at what may be the dawn of World War III.”

“People have become lazy. They sit back and wait for someone else to put out the fires.”

“Or, they are brainwashed! What will it take to wake them from their stupor?”

“Riots and protests have become the order of the day. Violence is believed to be a great persuader!”

“A tight rein on peoples’ personal finances is a sure way of keeping the masses under control. People fear poverty above all else!”

“There is already so much poverty in this world; it’s hard to imagine a surefire way to empower families to escape its grip.”

“Poverty, as many believe, is not a natural phenomenon. It is entirely manmade and can easily be overcome by the actions of human beings.”

“I disagree. Rather it’s wealth that is manmade. Poverty is caused by war and political instability, social inequality, poor education, overpopulation, vulnerability to natural disasters, and epidemic diseases.”

“All of which are manmade!”

Daniel, despite only being in his mid-twenties, had more life experience that most people in their sixties. Prior to making Israel his home he had lived in Poland with his parents. But when elections in post-war Poland sparked off a succession of anti-communist revolutions across Eastern Europe, his parents left the 3-year old boy to live in the country with his grandmother. Here the child would be safe, they surmised. He thrived for about two years until the sudden death of the old woman. Milosz, as he was called then, had to learn to survive on his own. He begged for food on the streets. He would sleep in abandoned buildings. Children threw stones at him. Dogs attacked him.

On entering a village he met an old peasant woman who gave him food and lodging. But it soon became clear to young Milosz that his new ward had ulterior motives. He was forced to work long hours in the fields, clean the pig pens and chop wood. She would beat him with a stick if he fell asleep before finishing his chores. As punishment he often went without food for days. Once he tried to run away, but she tied a long rope around his ankle to prevent any future attempts. Even at night, he was chained to his bed. This torturous existence continued until the child turned ten. He was emaciated and filthy. His hair was matted. He never spoke. His unkempt appearance invited cruel name-calling from the other villagers. The only way he knew to lighten his hard existence was to sing a prayer his grandmother had taught him.

A travelling merchant visiting the village heard the boy sing as he shoveled muck from the pig pens. The merchant paid the old peasant woman in pots and pans to take the boy off her hands. Milosz was elated. His new ‘foster parent’ saw that he got cleaned up. He gave him clean clothes and regular meals. But Milosz was soon to discover the reason behind this generous charity. He was made to beg on the streets of Warsaw, attracting attention by singing folk songs the merchant had taught him. The young boy was in awe of the Gothic churches and neoclassical palaces. In all his life he had never seen modern skyscrapers, and so many people. Warsaw had a thriving nightlife and music scene. Milosz would spend hours listening to operatic recitals. He had become a familiar figure at these venues and eventually came and went as he pleased. The performers were very kind to the frail boy with the voice of an angel.

The musicians welcomed him into their fold, coaching him in the classic genre. At last the teenager had found a home where he could live a decent life. Soon thereafter, the travelling merchant was arrested and put in jail for stealing a horse. Milosz was free at last. He spent hours at the public library, and was an avid reader. His knowledge of religion, cultures and countries even impressed learned scholars. Milosz learned about Jesus and that Jesus was a Jew. Milosz also learned that Jesus was not just any ordinary Jew; He was a rabbi and a teacher. This revelation put Milosz on a path toward his true purpose in life. He wanted to follow the same vocation as Jesus. Although his upbringing had nominally been Christian he became a student under the tutelage of a Polish Rabbi in Warsaw. He had saved enough money from the many odd jobs he held in the neighborhood to buy a one-way passage from Warsaw to Tel Aviv. On his arrival he befriended an Israeli couple who saw in him the qualities of an exceptional human being. At first he worked in their general store stocking shelves but after a few years the husband and wife decided to adopt Milosz as their son. His name was changed to Daniel. His time with them he counted as a blessing. Daniel had listened patiently as the five teenagers voiced their opinions of what was wrong with the world.

“Are you ready to lead the journey of a lifetime?” Daniel asked.

“Someone once said, ‘A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step’.

“The big question is ‘What is necessary that we may ultimately achieve our goal to endorse our purpose in life?”

“We know that we are only sixteen. But ignorance and inexperience is not an excuse, nor should it be an obstacle. We must start our journey now or we might miss out on some really amazing things that life has to offer.”

“We can take the lessons that we have learned in life so far and the experiences that we have gained from it and move on.”

“It is because of the heartaches, as well as the hardships, that in the end help to make us a stronger person.”

“People come and go throughout our life, but sometimes we are lucky to meet exceptional people that will stay in our hearts forever, no matter what. The lessons that we learn from them will stay with us forever.”

“Life is a journey filled with lessons, hardships, celebrations and special moments that shape our purpose in life. The road will not always be smooth, but the many challenges you encounter along the way will test your courage, strengths, weaknesses and faith,” Daniel remarked.

“In other words, obstacles are really blessings in disguise, even if we don’t realize it at the time!”

“The Bible says those that are saved, or born again, should count their trials and tribulations as joy… testing of one’s faith produces perseverance, which in turn makes one mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

“I guess how we react to problems determines what the rest of our journey through life will be like.”

“Things won’t always turn out the way we want. I suppose it’s a matter of accepting temporary setbacks and finding out where we went wrong, and what it is we still need to learn.”

“Positive experiences are priceless. They motivate us to continue our journey to discover what life has in store for us.”

“It is also our aim to help kids our age to look inside themselves, in order to find a whole different person that they never knew existed.”

“Even so, people can give you advice on how you should live your life, but essentially each person must do what they believe is right.”

“It’s important to be yourself. Not be afraid to have an opinion. Say what you want to say. Do what you want to do.”

“It’s often said that what doesn’t kill you will make you stronger. It’s reassuring to compare the person you were before to the person you’ve become because you chose a different route.”

“Everything that happens in our life happens for a reason. Think of it as a life lesson. Learn from it.”

“On this journey, it doesn’t matter what specific actions you take or skills you learn to make the world a better place. What matters is the bigger purpose, becoming bigger than yourself. Once you do, you will recognize your purpose in life,” Daniel interrupted.

“Sounds great, but taking that leap to deepen your knowledge isn’t as easy as just saying, “Let it be so.” It will take a lot of work.”

“I suppose, we must first recognize our strengths and weaknesses. Whenever we’re confronted with a challenge that fits our capabilities, we need to comply with due diligence. But when we’re frustrated, fearful, wishing people would be different … we need to take a giant leap to expand our heart and mind?”

“Exactly! It’s important to see the bigger picture. Feel what others must be feeling. Put yourself in their position. Understand. Don’t condemn. Don’t judge. Try to grasp what lies behind the things people say and do. It helps if you have some idea of their background, what adversity they’ve endured, and in what way their past impacts their current and future circumstances. Encourage them to reveal their problems, and their aspirations. Guide them to look beyond the immediate crises. Outline proposed outcomes to test the feasibility of realistic solutions … this will help make informed choices whether to accept, change or walk away from certain options. If others react badly to your well-intended intervention, realize that it’s not about you, but about their anguish,” Daniel said.

“So, it’s important to wish others well even if they are unreceptive to advice?”

“Consider how you can help lessen their suffering. Often it’s wise not to get involved. Sometimes it’s just by paying attention, listening to their complaints. Other times you need to lend a hand. Bear in mind, you don’t need to take over and solve everyone’s problems. They probably don’t want that. Often just being there for moral support, a sympathetic ear, can improve peoples’ lives. Do something to make them smile. Compliment them on something they are doing for themselves to improve their plight. Help someone tidy their home, or show them how to start a vegetable garden. Make them a meal. Give them an article of clothing they need,” Daniel explained.

“In other words, we must appreciate that the life we’ve been given is a gift. We must make the most of it, and not waste a second.”

“It is fulfilling to make the lives of others a little better.”

“Yes, helping others is a very noble gesture. Mother Teresa devoted her life to caring for the sick and the poor, working in the slums of Calcutta until her death at the age of 87.”

“Many celebrities today are ambassadors of welfare organizations that provide financial aid to help sustain impoverished communities.”

“Christ came to serve and help others; not Himself. In fact, so much so that He laid down His life for others; not just for decent and moral people, but even for the worst of the worst such as murderers, adulterers, thieves and suchlike. He paid the ultimate price.”

“Finding one’s purpose is a very individual path. Only you can actually know it or figure it out.You are responsible for your own walk on this Earth.”

“The Bible is also known in certain quarters as Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth, or life’s instruction manual, where your walk is clearly governed by a higher Power, who has each person’s very essence, or soul, at heart, preparing one for an eternal life after the short one here on Earth.”

“Living one’s purpose typically unfolds in mysterious and surprising ways. It’s not something that can be forced. I like to think of it as a journey of self-discovery, whether it’s through meditation, self-talk or listening to the council of others.”

“Or going on a journey of moral or spiritual significance. We came to Israel for a simple working holiday, which has given us so much more!”

“It’s a matter of taking whatever steps or inspiration call to you. If you do that, you can’t go wrong. It’s helps to be curious.”

“I smile now when I think of myself when I struggled with depression, though really it was just a year ago. I used to lie on the couch and read my favorite books by inspirational authors. These authors talked all the time about purpose, about everybody having one.”

“I was used to life disappointing me and somehow thought that I would, in some way or another, be left out of the loop, kept out of life’s inner circle, because I had no real direction.”

“Seek and you shall find, as the proverb goes.”

“So how can one identify one’s purpose?”

“Ask yourself, what do you enjoy doing that you would do even if you don’t get paid for it? What do other people say you’re really good at? What is the one thing you want to experience, or do, or accomplish, before you die, so that on your last day on earth you feel satisfied and have no regrets in that area?” Daniel said.

“We want to coach kids our age in self-defense.”

“My greatest hope is to help train women in poor areas to run early childhood development centers.

“I would like to teach impoverished communities to rear goats for milk, bees for honey, or keep chickens for eggs.

“I want to show people how they can be the leader of their own future.”

“I want to write a book on how people can find their direction in life. But I haven’t yet figured out how to do that. In the meantime, I’m willing to devote my time to learning about spirituality and psychology in the hope that I could find myself… to influence nations to win wars before they emerge!”

“Don’t worry if you don’t have all the answers you seek right now. Keep asking questions. Keep your eyes open for clues. The answers will show up, in perfect time. I promise you.” Daniel said.

“How will we recognize our life purpose? What exactly is it?”

“I believe it is simply the driving force during your existence on Earth. Call it a life direction, if you will. Your age is immaterial. You can be 15, 40, 60, or older. It also doesn’t matter who you are, where you’re from, or what you do. As long as you wish to live a more meaningful and conscious life, knowing your life purpose is important for you.”

“Some people just want live life as it happens and ignore everything else. They just want to chill out and relax until they die.

The one-month working holiday at the Beit Nir Kibbutz in Israel had come to an end. The five friends had packed their belongings and stood outside the dining hall. Daniel and Rachel insisted on driving them to the airport. The teenagers had mixed feelings about leaving the place. So much had happened over the past four weeks. Memories were made. Friendships were formed. But there was one glaring difference. Their appearance had undergone a complete transformation. The black skinny jeans ripped at the knees; tee shirts imprinted with outrageous graphics of skulls or Hollywood icons, and cropped leather biker jackets had been relegated to the recycle bin. The boys’ partially shaved heads showed a certain amount of growth, while the girls’ former Harajuku hairstyles in crimson and various other colors were now natural. Conversation during the trip to the airport was animated and lively. Daniel pointed to the ruins of the ancient city of Mareshah where Zach and Jon were separated from Emma, Lea and Connor. The friends laughed. “We never did get to see the caves,” Zach remarked. Rachel proceeded to tell them that they had missed seeing something truly spectacular.

“Knowing you has given me great hope for the future – for in you are the seeds of change, the potential for a quantum metamorphic and ground-breaking leap for the human species. Your young lives are like a caterpillar becoming a butterfly,” Daniel said.

The friends hugged and said their farewells. The airport was unusually quiet. Passengers were called over an intercom to collect their respective boarding passes.

“What we will become we do not now know at our present conscious level, but we can dare to imagine.”

“Did the acorn know it would become a mighty oak?”

“In the words of Plato, courage is about knowing what not to fear!”

“But you’ve got to know when it’s time to turn the page.”

“Remember, when confronted by the old way of being in the world or when survival is threatened, to rise above the limitations to become a ‘man of knowledge’,” Daniel advised.

——————————————————————————-

The author, Michael HH Warren, wrote this 6-chapter 120-page book aimed at young adults aged 16 to 18 years of age. Michael is looking for a publisher to consider the manuscript for publication. “I have prepared a detailed Book Business Plan to accompany the complete manuscript, to assist the publisher in generating publicity for “Go Ahead. Rock the Boat”. Publishers interested in reading the manuscript [non-obligatory] may contact Michael by email michaelhhwarren@gmail.com