#15 - The Maestro
There's a lot of neat stuff I'd like to highlight, but the most compelling piece of news I can share is that I visited don Howard two weeks ago. A group of three friends and I met with him in Phoenix for a couple of hours. Three of us had been to SpiritQuest previously. One of my friends had not, nor had he heard much about don Howard. My friend told us afterward that it felt like he paid a visit to the Oracle in The Matrix. The only difference was that this Oracle wasn't baking cookies or smoking cigarettes. But this Oracle - the tall giant with the welcoming smile - is way more real, way more human, and way more cool. 😁
In revisiting something that may seem painfully self-evident, the costs of don Howard's medical treatment and expenses are extremely high. He mentioned that the out of pocket costs for one medication that he is seeking to take - he would take only one of these pills a month - is going to cost him about $800. While I'm tempted to unleash some diatribe about the American health care system's many flaws, and how it is so outrageously/criminally expensive, there's no use in me ranting and raving about it. As don Howard has told me, that's the system and it is what it is.
To date, we've had sensational support for don Howard's GoFundMe, with 448 people donating over $85,000. That leaves us with less than $15,000 remaining in order to surpass the $100,000 goal. In the words of Saryon, one of the GoFundMe's creators, if we can reach the $100K goal we will be putting don Howard and his family in good shape for some time to come.
Seeing how it had been over six months since I last donated, I submitted another donation. I see that a number of you had already beaten me to the punch and made at least one donation, and I'm sincerely impressed and exceedingly grateful. For those that may want to do the same, here's the link to donate: https://www.gofundme.com/don-howard039s-medical-fund
It's not my duty to convince anyone to donate - nor would I want anyone to sheepishly follow my example who didn't feel a strong desire to contribute. It is, however, a really remarkable way to give back to someone who has given so much to humanity and Mother Earth.
I recently had a very profound vision/message about don Howard "returning home." Whether that "returning home" references Peru, SpiritQuest, or somewhere else - I'm not entirely sure, as I didn't receive such specificity. Regardless, I had and still have a strong feeling that any way one slices it or dices it, don Howard is returning home, and that was amazingly glorious to understand.
In sharing why I feel don Howard is so worthy of support, here are a few examples:
* The messages that people have left for don Howard in supporting him on his healing journey have been extremely moving. A sampling of recent messages include:
"don Howard has touched so many lives and his teachings have taught me what true love is for others and for me."
"I have never met don Howard but his Sanctuary has made all the difference in my life. Thank you!"
"don Howard's work changed my life!"
"That man cured my 23 years of depression in 8 days."
"I've never seen a person embody the things I seek to embody quite like don Howard."
"I have not met don Howard (yet), however, I have recently been to SpiritQuest and my heart has felt his spirit there. Therefore, I am another very fortunate recipient of his work and spirit which has moved me inside; deeply and profoundly."
* don Howard told me that "overwhelming" is the word that keeps coming to him and that our support has given him a tremendous piece of mind. don Howard mentioned to me that the love and support for people assisting him are both “priceless.”
* As he's started to realize the impact of his work and how far back it has gone, don Howard has been blown away. He told me that learning more about the scope of his work and how it has both aged well and exported well has made him "actually grateful that I'm sick."
* don Howard is truly admirable and his example is worth following. don Howard doesn't desire power, and in fact, actively resists any kind of temptations to gain power. The only power he believes is beneficial is the power of self-control. don Howard does not seek power, he simply asks: is a thing right?
* don Howard has been - in the understatement of the century - overwhelmingly generous his entire life. It's not in don Howard's DNA to ask for anything, particularly anything material. He didn't even ask or request for us to set up this GoFundMe. When I informed don Howard that we very much wanted to do this in his honor, it had a profound emotional impact on him. He told me, "How blessed can I be, brother?"
* When I mentioned how some of you noted that don Howard was too busy trying to save the world rather than get wrapped up in hoarding lots of money, he admitted that this was true. 😁😁 Even more than the money, though, is how don Howard feels the energy and the intention behind this massive movement that is supporting him. The Maestro told me that he is humbled beyond words.
* His pearls of wisdom are next level! My friend Kami once told me that I was don Howard's "cosmic scribe." If that's true, and that's my role to play, consider me honored! Some of my favorite quotes of his include:
"My mind is my office. My heart is my home. I only go to the office when I absolutely have to; otherwise, I work from and stay at home."
"Warriors' hearts beat as one."
"I'm just a regular guy who periodically does irregular things."
"There's always more."
"A white knuckle cosmic sleigh ride."
"You don't find Heaven; you realize it."
"Para el bien de todos!"
* As my dear friend Paul recounts in his blog, don Howard has given so many people the realization that everything is about love, both in cultivating it for yourself and in sharing it with others. Paul writes about how fortunate he feels to have met the Maestro, stating, "I owe that all to don Howard and the impeccable program he created at SpiritQuest. Without this guide, I'm pretty sure I would have reached the top of the mountain and lorded it all over others instead of coming back down and being of service. To say I have led a blessed and fortuitous life is an understatement."
* “You cannot teach a man anything,” Galileo once observed, “you can only help him to find it within himself.” don Howard knows this all too well. He empowers people to realize their mission, potential, and sense of self-love and self-worth in life.
* don Howard always preaches that we're all Maestros and all apprentices. We all have something to teach and to learn from one another.
* What my great friend Zerin finds most admirable about don Howard is "his ability to breathe and become so well-attuned to the present moment."
* What some people find most impressive about don Howard isn't anything that he's said or anything that he's accomplished. They say that it's his pauses, or his silences, that have had a profound impact on them. The way he looks you in the eyes and knows everything about you, reading you like a book. Or the way he comes down to breakfast in the morning at the Sanctuary and gazes out upon the Momon River and surrounding Amazonian landscape with the exuberance and wonder of a child laying eyes on something for the first time.
* His sense of humor is phenomenal! One participant defecated all over himself and all over the Sanctuary, and this participant profusely apologized to don Howard the next day. When saying how everything was fine, don Howard also added, in a kindhearted way, "That's just because you were full of shit for so long." His ability to provide wisdom and express truth in a positive way, and in a loving manner with that jaguar smile of his, is sublime. On another occasion, a participant was getting very angry with don Howard and reciting a laundry list of complaints. don Howard listened to him attentively - never one interrupting him. When the rant was over, don Howard beamed a spectacular smile and encouraged him to, "Lighten up!" 😁That's now a mantra for this person's life, and I frequently give myself that "Lighten up!" reminder when I'm taking something or myself too seriously.
* One of don Howard's favorite phrases is, "In order to be of service, one must become fit for service." A place like SpiritQuest has directly empowered so many thousands of people that have put in the work at the Sanctuary to become fit for service. And yet, ironically, when it has come to his own health, don Howard has frequently kicked the proverbial can down the road to keep serving, until the point came recently when he wasn't physically fit to keep going. When I asked don Howard why he made such a humungous sacrifice, he looked at me and said five words that I'll never forget. "A pressing need for service." That shouldn't be at all surprising. Boiled down to one word, the Maestro views "service" as the meaning of life. And what a life and a life of service well lived!
* Lest we forget, don Howard is human. Not even he can spiritually bypass the human. My friend Dave once saw him get angry, although I'm told that feeling was a very fleeting one. His physical vessel is struggling. He enjoys delicious food, dancing, a nice walk, being out in nature, or having a deep conversation with friends for hours upon end. He has an ego, although he polishes it and puts a leash on that dog. In short, he's not immune from being human. More than anything, he's a fully integrated human, which we can all strive to become. The humanity that he exhibits and the common humanity he sees in each and every person is inspiring.
* I’m reciting a quote from don Howard as best as I can remember it. The message is impeccable. According to don Howard, “Think of SpiritQuest as a kind of social experiment. When we can see the love, sisterhood/brotherhood, and sacredness in ourselves and with the other SpiritQuest travelers that visit the Sanctuary with us, we can form as close to a utopian culture as humanly possible. That kind of culture revolves around loving, sharing, tolerating, and being compassionate and supportive of one another, and we'd like to see the world do so on a larger scale. When we consistently achieve that at the Sanctuary in only a week’s time, and how people from all kinds of backgrounds and walks of life from all over the world so quickly become one family, we are empowered and optimistic to do our part to ensure that the world replicates that model.”
The Maestro has been so utterly devoted to service and given so much to humanity and Mother Earth. His life’s work and vision is like a bolt of lighting that has electrified the entire world. ⚡️⚡️⚡️don Howard's feats of audacious aspirations have been passed along to all of the members of the SpiritQuest family and have been sewn into the tapestry of humanity and Mother Earth.
Whether you have met him personally, attended SpiritQuest, or know someone that attended SpiritQuest and you've been a beneficiary of that person's work, don Howard's contributions have added to the elevation of consciousness and the global spread of love in countless and indelible ways. The ripples of his life's work - the downstream effects of everything that he's done and everything that he's been and everything that he continues to be - will be felt forever. It's like that analogy in the musical Hamilton about what defines a person's legacy: "Legacy. What is a legacy? It’s planting seeds in a garden you never get to see."
Contributions are, of course, highly appreciated. But regardless of whether you are in the financial position to donate, please consider sharing this with other SpiritQuest alums, your friends, your family (spiritual, blood, brothers from another mother, sisters from another mister, all of the above), or anyone else that would like to give back to a real legend. Remember that no amount is too small...or too big. It's all massively helpful.
If you feel called to contribute, contribute again, and/or share the link, here it is: https://www.gofundme.com/don-howard039s-medical-fund
Let's show the Maestro how we've learned our lessons in reciprocity and Ayni well.
Much love and gratitude, -Parker