June 7th, 2007



For book group tonight, we read Marlo Morgan's controversial novel Mutant Message Down Under. I have to say, that though parts of it were valid and interesting, overall I didn't really like the book. It seemed implausible and simplistic in too many ways. We had a good discussion about the book, though those of us who sat mostly silent were the ones who obviously didn't like it much, while those who talked a lot had apparently connected with it on a much different level.

Anyway, the gist of the book is that a white American healthcare professional in her 50s with grown children back home goes to Australia on business and while supposedly going to an award dinner at which she is the guest of honor is essentially kidnapped by a tribe of Aborigines and taken on walkabout in the Australian Outback for 3 months. The book is about the mental transformation that she experiences and the messages she believes the tribe and their way of life have for all the rest of us unenlightened types in the world.

Toward the end of the discussion, Geena asked us all, "So, if an aborigine was suddenly standing outside your door and said you were to go on walkabout right now for 3 months, leaving everything behind, would you go?" (She said "in Sweden" but substitute wherever you are for the purpose of the exercise)

The responses were pretty interesting. And the condition-setting started immediately:

"I'd have to call my husband and tell him."

"Maybe next year, but not right now."

"If I could take my family with me, I'd do it."

One lady said she would go. Two of us said we wouldn't (though for different reasons) but declared that our husbands would, without a second thought. Though one of us was proved wrong when he came in a few minutes later and said no he wouldn't when the question was actually put to him, much to his wife's surprise.

My answer was no. I wouldn't go. Not because the time isn't right. Not because I'm scared of leaving my comfortable existence. Not because I think I don't need to go. And not because I would mind going walkabout for several months and living off the land, though that's not really my thing, but because it seems that for the woman in the book, and for the ladies present who said yes, it was because they were or are searching for something. A purpose in life, a spiritual awakening, a reason for being...something.

I'm not searching. I don't know if I ever will, though my mother claims that most people realize they're missing something later in life, when the kids are grown, or they retire. I don't think I'm the searching kind, in that sense, though maybe time will prove me wrong.

I answered no right away, somehow instinctively responding to an answer in myself that said it wouldn't be necessary. I'm not searching for something. I have so much right here, and right now.

Would you go?