Tomorrow is Dakota a.k.a. Rainbow Cloudjumper’s birthday!
If you’re familiar with Dakota and his world-class blog, Traipsing About, you know that there’s a 98.7% chance he’s out scaling big rocks or van life-ing somewhere spectacular to celebrate the occasion.
Which is why I thought I’d give him a present that won’t spoil:
A BIRTHDAY BLOG POST!
While I would have loved to have filled this post with a series of Photoshopped images, placing Rainbow Cloudjumper in a number of compromising positions, I thought I’d try something different.
I have a story involving Dakota, a story so bizarre and cool that you just have to read it to believe it – and even HE hasn’t heard it yet. I kept meaning to share it with him and [his spectacular wife] Chelsea, but it just never came up.
So, what better time than now?!
Two years ago, I was living in a 350-square foot apartment in suburban New Jersey, ferociously squirreling away my corporate job salary, finishing a Masters degree in Humane Education, and dreaming of a different sort of life. One with financial freedom, passion projects, and outdoor adventures galore.
I was willing to do anything and everything to see this dream through. Since I had the practical side locked down (I am a project manager, after all) -the saving, the lists, the planning- I decided to delve into the metaphysical side. Could creative visualization, meditation, and energy work help? I mean, it couldn’t hurt, right?
I started listening to metaphysical podcasts, which eventually led to daily meditation. I immediately began having all kinds of…interesting…experiences. Things like the perfect name for my thesis project would hit me in the middle of a meditation. I’d set an intention to find a friend on a similar journey and POOF, she’d appear.
You see, something happens when you start believing in the scientific fact that we’re all just wiggly bits of energy – and that that means we have far more influence over our surroundings than what seems possible.
Fast forward a few months to August 2018, and I was so giddy about the remarkable results of this energy work that I decided to do something REALLY crazy. Something called Quantum Healing Hypnosis Technique (QHHT) – basically a two hour-long hypnosis that can unleash insights from your higher consciousness.
I know. F&@&% weird. Stay with me. (And delight in the fact that, by now, Dakota is probably wondering what the hell is going on. Is this a birthday post or the confessions of a clinically insane -but very cute- blogger?)
You can read more about the experience here, but in a nutshell: that shiz was craaaaay. Crazy cool! What most people don’t realize about hypnosis is that you’re fully conscious and aware the whole time, just deeply, deeply relaxed – almost like the twilight feeling between waking life and dreaming. (You also typically get an audio recording of the session, as I did in this case.)
There are several things I didn’t mention about this experience in my earlier blog posts – because they didn’t make any sense at the time. Towards the end of my session, lying down on a comfy bed with a slight breeze wafting through the window, I suddenly giggled and blurted,
“Oh! That’s the rainbow!”
What rainbow? Who cares about rainbows? part of my mind wondered.
“It’s a rainbow. It’s from New Jersey to Oregon. The wholllllle country,” I smiled, my mind’s eye picturing a map of the United States, with a giant, colorful rainbow starting in New Jersey, my home state, and landing in Oregon – a place I’d visited only once, nine years earlier.
“One giant rainbow,” I said again, a goofy grin plastered on my otherwise serene face.
My session ended a couple of minutes later, and I spent weeks wondering what the hell that could have meant. While I’m big on signs and symbols, rainbows had never played a significant role in my life.
The following month, I was invited by a friend to a small, five-day gathering in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, organized by Dakota’s wife (who I didn’t know at the time). “A Vegan Creatives Retreat,” they called it, and asked me to present my Masters thesis to a group of seven fellow vegans. My thesis was about conscious consumerism on the path to financial independence. It had first been inspired by discovering the blogging genius, Mr. Money Mustache – someone who, despite his cult following, not many people had heard of.
Nervously, I walked into the beautiful, gray-shingled home where I’d be spending the next four nights, knowing only one person. In the kitchen, an attractive couple with mega-watt smiles greeted me.
“Hi! I’m Dakota and this is Chelsea.”
After a minute of niceties, Dakota said,
“We’re from Bend.”
My jaw dropped. Bend…Oregon?
That night, using a silly letter code system on the back of a cereal box, we were each given “unicorn names.” Dakota’s name? Rainbow Cloudjumper.
It didn’t hit me until later that night, as I went to bed. Holy forking shirtballs. He’s the rainbow.
Over the next few days, diligently sticking to our unicorn names, Rainbow and I discovered all kinds of uncanny overlaps in our interests, including the fact that he not only knew of Mr. Money Mustache, but was friends with him!
When the retreat was over, I shed a few tears as I bid goodbye to my seven new best friends. Something about that handful of days made my dreams feel more poignant; I realized just how deeply I craved a heart-centered, creative, nature-filled life, yet it still felt worlds away. Moreover, I was afraid I’d never hear from any of them again. (Ah, the never-ending after effects of childhood bullying.)
Dakota, being the Friend Ninja and Inadvertent Life Coach that he is, reached out to me just a couple of days later. He texted a stunning picture of Bend, Oregon. “Move west already!” he wrote.
These kinds of encouraging messages, from a guy who barely knew me let alone my deepest desires, filled the coming months, as did the undeniable signs from the universe. Thanks to them, by June 2019, I had the courage to quit my job, sell all of my stuff, and drive across the country to a town I’d never so much as visited.
Just a mile down the road from Dakota and Chelsea, Bend was instantly the home I didn’t realize I’d been dreaming of my entire life.
Today marks exactly one year here, and I still pinch myself every day.
So thanks, Rainbow – now you know why I can’t help but continue to call you that. I hope your birthday is filled with the kind of awe-inspiring magic that you bring to the world!