Island of Imagination - Excerpt

A lush and beautiful story about the quest for happiness. Mindfulness and new thought principles merge with the hero's journey in a vivid and magical tale that takes place in the dark night of the Amazon Rainforest. Pedro leaves his peaceful island to enter into the jungle of the self - to transmute his dark shadow and awaken great powers of creativity and inner peace. This book challenges the reader to push their own comfort level about how much happiness they believe they’re entitled to achieve, while deconstructing the misguided cultural messages that hold us back from assuming our higher power. Enter into a mystical jungle of unicorns, spirit guides, and bohemian pirates as you flow with the ancestral currents of waterfalls and celestial tides. Imagine effortless creation and unbounded happiness; imagine rich friendships and lovely romance - succulent passion flowers and beachside restaurants overflowing with joyful conversation and breezy drops of ocean spray. Imagine a place where your fondest dreams are possible - the Island of Imagination.

Chapter 1 

It was a magical time, an evening of blue moonlight on rippling ocean waters and foamy spray lapping the seashells on the packed sands where tiny birds scurried amongst the dunes. 

The southern cross was awakening in the firmament, as Scorpius was radiant with light - pulsating as a sparkling necklace strewn about the evening - while a jetliner on its way to a distant port of call blinked across the inky night skies awash with satellites, shooting stars and the spectral glowing embers of the Milky Way. Fireflies and seagulls skimmed the surface as dolphins meandered through the coves, chirping their conversations below the rolling tides. 

This was an island village set apart from the world, with no fear and no troubles and no earthly human drama - only dense rainforests and floral meadows bathed in luminous vibrations of wet sunshine and afternoon sea breezes. Mornings overflowed with the aromas of pineapple pancakes and bromeliad flowers, and evenings brought dancing, singing and feasting on luscious, roasted mackerel and papaya juice under the fires that steamed and popped and smoked up to the constellations above. Sultry afternoons were spent sleeping in open-air bedrooms with ceiling fans and linen fabrics where shale river-waters ran on cool bamboo to comfort the body and awaken the loveliest dreams of the deepest sleep. There were no quarrels and no unconsciousness - only peace and laughter and a million reasons to love and lust and savor each day of sunshine and sandy beach mango towels. 

Alabitha wore a red linen skirt and a relaxed off-white blouse made of silk; her luscious brown hair adorned her voluptuous body and her deep brown eyes sparkled with life, playfulness, and vivid intelligence. Medallions and amulets and charms hung gracefully about her neck, reflecting the moonlight. She was a magnet of love, warmth and vitality, brimming with confident sensuality.

“I’ll always love you, Pedro, but first you must love yourself - as the river poets told you last night in the carnival dream - only you can do that, and it’s time for you to give yourself that blessing so that we can grow together in love and peace. The happiness that you seek is not within me, but within you. It’s time for your quest into the Jungle of Self. Go deep into that dark jungle, on this moonlit night, and find yourself there. Bring back your heart made well in peace, and we will live together in love, on this island, blissfully happy for all eternity - dancing and laughing each night in each other’s arms.” She kissed him, softly, longingly, but playfully with no trace of fear - only irreverent sparkling love and tender affection. 

“I love you, Alabitha, always and forever. Wait for me on this island, with the dolphins singing their lovely songs, and I’ll return to you tomorrow, and we’ll dance all night, and laugh all day in a magical dream of never-ending love - and we’ll be as happy as it’s possible to be in this lifetime, I swear.” 

“You have my heart for always, Pedro - now go find it for yourself.” She smiled and turned from him, and bade him farewell for the night, sure of his return tomorrow. Her hips swayed in the evening moonlight, her sandals traced lightly across the packed sands and seashells that outlined the edge of the waters. Humid coolness and blue sunset-starlight abounded for miles in all directions, pervading the flat, wet sands that stretched out to the pineapple grove near the edge of the tropical forest. 

And so did Pedro leave his lovely and happy island on his little sailing skiff, on a clear, radiant night in the early evening of late July, under a luxuriously ambient black sky crackling with stars and life and fireflies, adjusting his sextant for the endless rainforest of Brazil, just miles from the little island he called home. Deep into the jungle of his heart he would venture, in search of an abiding peace and love of self that would lay the foundation for a lifetime of happiness with his lover on the Island of Imagination

The winds picked up as the Island of Imagination faded into the horizon. The waters remained calm, despite the breeze, and the little boat cut through the sea with a sleek, lapping cadence. Seagulls tracked his boat from above, with curiosity, and yellow-gilled fish leapt from the waters on the port side of the skiff. There were blue and black and silvery white foam colors all about him - the shades of the sea and the sky and the stars tracing together into a single painted texture of night-light. The ocean was very much alive on this evening, pulsing and swimming with tidal consciousness. The sextant guided him west, into the shimmering moonlit water that spilled into the horizon, the coast of Brazil just twenty miles past the edge of the bow. 

 

A sleek, darting dolphin appeared ten feet from the starboard gunnel, moving closer to the sails of the skiff. His nature was friendly and curious. His dorsal fin created a noticeable wake as he splashed through the waves.

 

“You are Pedro, from the Island of Imagination, are you not?” The dolphin inquired, in a friendly, swaying manner.

 

“I am,” Pedro replied. “And who are you, Dolphin?” Pedro had spoken to many dolphin brothers on his expeditions about the neighboring islands.

 

“I am Mateus, of the Macomb Fleet of Cambria Dolphins - we sail out of Sterling Island, fifteen nautical miles to the leeward side of your own blue island. I am a friend - I was sent by the deep consciousness of the sea to guide you on your quest into the jungle. We know you are a pilgrim tonight, Pedro, and every pilgrim is conferred three helpers on their quest through the jungle of self. I am the first helper.”

 

“Are you real, Dolphin?” 

 

“I am as real as you are to me, and so we exist in each other’s imagination tonight, as real as anything could ever be, my friend.”

 

“Can you tell me what awaits me in the jungle?” 

 

“That is for you to decide - for the jungle is your own self - your deepest conflicts and afflictions and salvation projected into the dark branches and creatures and snakes that live amidst the wily turns of the emerald rivers and the amethyst shores. Only you know what you will encounter therein, and only you can persevere through the dark night to find the peace that awaits you in the morning, as you return to your lover on the island. But beware, my friend, for as you go within, you will be changed from without - your north will become your south - and your left shall become your right - and that is as it must be, for rebirth requires death.”   

 

“You spoke of three helpers. Who are the other two?” 

 

“You will know them when you meet them, friend. But be in peace and know: the jungle is a friendly place, and only your own fears can make it otherwise. So take no fear with you on this journey into yourself tonight, Pedro, for if you bring fear into the jungle, it will become a very fearful place.”  

“Dolphin - I feel afraid - why must I take this journey? Why is it necessary to go into the jungle alone on this night? Perhaps I should go back to my island…” The winds picked up and buffeted the small skiff as Pedro spoke these words. 

 

“Be strong, my friend. You are never alone, Pedro, even when it appears as such - for nobody is alone - we are surrounded by a thousand generous helpers and spirits of love and ancient ancestors that abide within us at every moment in time. We need only ask, and reach out, and believe, and they will help us through any dark forest through which we wander.” 

 

It was time for Mateus the dolphin to leave Pedro on his quest across the night waters to the dark, mysterious jungle. “Farewell, my friend - and fear not, for I am always with you in the waters and in the skies, as are the spirit guides of the ancestors. Never fear, Pedro - for you are not alone.”  

 

As the dolphin slipped under the black waters and disappeared from sight, Pedro looked about his tiny skiff, amidst the vast ocean, and the deep, uncaring waters, and the heavy, unblinking night sky, and for just that moment, all the birds and fishes and starlight and previously ambient life energy faded into a blackened-stilled silence, and what once seemed so welcoming and alive now seemed uncaring and cold. Despite the assurances of his dolphin guide, the spirits of love and the ancestral helpers appeared very much illusory and fleeting while the murky, rolling, deep waters seemed so dark and dauntingly real. But despite the doubting of night, Pedro sailed onward, towards the jungle, in his little boat, alone on the vast waters, in search of himself. 

His small boat continued through the moonlit waters, rocking and drifting and pulling through the shallows and depths in a westerly course towards the horizon, the solitary sail channeling the winds that blew miles across the foam and spray from his island home. Silence. Fear. Uncertainty. Was he crazy? Why had he left the island? Did it matter to grow? What’s the value in stretching yourself? Why not return home? Things were easier there, and this pilgrimage into the jungle that once seemed so romantic in the mystical mood of evening, surrounded by friends and his lover and smiles and comfort and safety - now it seemed foolish and dangerous, in the dark solitary night, alone on his little boat amidst the vast, rolling ocean. 

 

But the dolphin spoke of ancestral guides and spirit friends, just below the surface of the sea, and high above the heavens in the firmament - at home within the constellations that twinkled, ready to communicate and offer guidance to pilgrims journeying into the dangerous jungle of self-discovery. Were they really around him? Present? Alive? Conscious? Would they respond? Was it really true, or just a lie spoken by the dolphin to provide comfort on this night? What was up there in the stars? And what was down below, in the depths of the dark waters? 

 

“Speak to me, ancestors.” Pedro called out, from within the heart of his being, with all the passionate conviction that he could bring forth on this empty night.  

 

Silence. The water lapped against the gunnels of his boat. His feet were wet from cold splashes of salty seawater that had collected on the floor of his vessel. 

 

“Ancestors - I ask your help again, on this night.” 

 

The wind blew against his face. But no reply from the ancient spirit guides. 

 

His stomach felt heavy with dread, embarrassment and fear. Yes, he was crazy. A foolish naïf. And he might die tonight, on this small boat, or in the dangerous jungle. So foolish and unwise - believing fairy tales and mythology. It was time to turn the skiff around, and return to the island while the leeward breeze was still alive. They would gladly take him back, and his lover would not care that he had not found himself and the inner peace of which the villagers had spoken - at least he would be alive. Isn’t that enough? Why dream too far? Appreciate the small things. There was no need for this kind of inner growth if it led to his death. 

 

In that moment of desperation, as he turned the wooden wheel to the port side, and glided his skiff back towards the island with a gentle change of course that churned up bubbles and waves in the sea - the summer constellation Scorpius became ever so brighter in his eyes. Brighter and brighter - phosphorescent and sparkling against the inky black velvet of night. Radiant and abundant, pulsating with life, the lights danced across the skies and into the shimmering waters with a rushing cascade of spectral fancy.

 

The winds now whipped off the bow of the skiff and blew into the very depths of his being like a rushing apparition. Escape. Detachment. Flight. Lifting. Breathing. It was difficult to qualify this experience with words. So many sensations coalesced into one energetic vibration of rushing air that filled his lungs and surrounded his arms and legs in a whirling eddy of energy and colors that danced throughout his body. As he felt so light and free from his small boat, the ocean spray rushed against his face as the foamy waters flowed with the winds in a spiraling motion that lifted up towards the ethereal, blinding light of the spinning constellations overhead. In that moment, the stars and the waters were one, and his body was born of the lightest spirit, and his consciousness was expansive, connected to the vastness of heaven and earth, and he heard the voice of the ancestors, speaking from within the depths of his being: “You are Spirit. Everything is Spirit. Have no fear.” 

 

There was peace in his heart. No fear. No discordant voices, and no inner dialogue - no inner questioning or criticizing - just a spacious wind blowing wildly through his consciousness and illuminating the night with a diamond-like presence of crystalline inner stillness. For this brief, fine moment - all was perfect. He could feel vibrations within the depths of his consciousness - fully formed thoughts that did not require the intermediate stage of words: the ancestors were blessing him tonight, on his journey - they were with him strongly on this night - and they would stand by him as he journeyed into the dark cavern of the self. And he could feel their eternal strength - their abiding comfort - their limitless power - all of these beautiful emotions permeated his very being like cascades of warm light, and this magnificent light chased away all fear and self-doubt from his body. Time stood still in this beautiful moment - Pedro was now in the sanctuary of the ancestors - fearless and protected for all time. And then the whirling dancing of angelic light and foamy ocean spray began to slow, and the sea and the skies left each other’s grasp, resuming their normal boundaries, and the night gradually returned to night. The waves lapped against the boat, and his consciousness returned to his body, a solitary man on a boat in the deep ocean, on a quest to the darkest corners of the awaiting jungle. The ancestral voices were gone now - but he could still feel them, vibrating within, speaking to him like the breath of a thousand angels.  He would finish his journey tonight, with a quiet faith that spoke louder than his darkest fears. 

 

Later that evening, as the winds blowing from the leeward isles began to soften, and his skiff’s sail began to luff, he heard the distant sound of rustling leaves and buzzing insects, gradually rising above the steady rolling of the ocean waves, and the salty air. There on the horizon, set against the purple blackness of night on the sea, amongst the dancing fireflies and swimming turtles, was the outline of the great jungle coast, just beyond the sandbars and reefs. The heavy scent of murky humidity and reptilian waters hung in the air, and the rising calls of jaguars and macaws interrupted the night soundscape, while the steady chirping of peepers and crickets maintained their pulsating ambience throughout. This was the jungle, at its most ferociously alive - rippling with life currents and nocturnal energies that crackled and sparkled through the dense canopy of the humid, twisting trees. The outlines of the branches and vines grew larger as the bow of his skiff maneuvered through the sandbars and shoals on its way to the river entrance of the great jungle. 

Carl McCoy, Copyright 2020

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