Day 42: Follow Your Heart


And there are voices
that want to be heard.
So much to mention
but you can’t find the words.
The scent of magic,
the beauty that’s been
when love was wilder than the wind.

Listen to your heart
when he’s calling for you.
Listen to your heart
there’s nothing else you can do.
I don’t know where you’re going
and I don’t know why,
but listen to your heart
before you tell him goodbye.

Today is my first official day back in the US of A.  My body may be here, but my heart and soul are in the deserts of Morocco. 

On Friday, Driss said to me “Follow your heart.”  He was talking about Hamid.  I wasn’t for sure if maybe the Sahara was playing tricks on me.  I didn’t know if this was real or not, but the way I described what I felt each time Hamid touched my hand, I could see Driss’ face change into a calming smile.  I asked him, “Is this love?” 

He looked right at me, while driving down the highway from Marrakech to Casablanca and said, “Yes, this is love.” 

I thought about those things after I handed my boarding pass to the ticket agent.  I kept looking back at the ticket agent’s desk as I stood in the hallway awaiting the doors to open to the plane.  I was thinking of turning around and heading straight back up the ramp and telling them to take my suitcases off the plane because I’m staying in Morocco.  I could call Driss, tell him to pick me up at the airport and take me to the desert to be with Hamid.

That’s what my heart was telling me to do.  With each step I took towards the plane’s door, I could feel the weight of Morocco tugging me at my feet, begging me to not leave.  “STAY.  DON’T LEAVE,” it kept saying to me.  I kept looking back at the doorway and thinking…I could stay forever. 

But then what about Surita?  She’s been without me for three weeks.  I need to at least go home and get her ready to come to Morocco too.  It was thinking of her that I put my head down and stopped looking back at the doorway leading back into the airport.  I boarded the plane.

I sat down and felt the pleas from Hamid to not leave.  Driss’ words of ‘follow your heart’ kept ringing in my head as “Listen To Your Heart” started playing in my head.  “Listen to your heart before you tell him goodbye.” 

I almost stood up and got off that plane.  But as I reached for the belt buckle to get up and get off that plane, I settled back in and said…no.  Wait six months and come back…just like you and Driss planned.  Wait six months.  What will happen with the heart during those six months will determine everything.  Spend those six months getting the book out to the publishers and then follow your heart back to Morocco.

You see…I fell in love with more than just a nomad.  I fell in love with Morocco and its people…and I think Morocco and its people fell in love with me too.

I look at Morocco and think about the things I could do to help the people there.  I think about how close I am to God when I am there.  I think about LOVE and how it’s everywhere.  There are only 2 things that matter in Morocco: GOD and LOVE. 

Money is unimportant.  Success is unimportant.  Fame is unimportant.

Coming back to the first world countries, I can’t help but feel like my priorities have shifted.  LOVE IS EVERYTHING. 

They say that only the poor marry for love.  But I say that a rich man is poor if he doesn’t have love.  How can you have everything but love and still be happy?  Happiness comes from love not material things.

I look at all of this technology and think…I’m okay without having the latest phone or computer.  Who cares about the latest trends in fashion?  I don’t need those things anymore.  I just need God and love.

These past few years, I have been waiting on a dream to become a reality.  I’ve been waiting a long time for that dream to become real.  But in the desert, I learned that there can be something better than the dream.  It’s called fate and destiny.  The Muslims believe wholeheartedly in fate and destiny.  When one man told me about fate and destiny, he actually cried when he talked about it. 

For some people, fate and destiny can deal a nasty hand, but it can also deal a wonderful hand.  It’s because of fate and destiny, you work hard to be in Allah’s (God’s) eye.  It’s not too different in doing good works to have good karma coming back to you. 

Coming back to the States, I can’t help but feel I’m still in the desert.  I miss it.  I’m sad to be away from it…to be away from Driss and Hamid…

Driss said to me on our last day together that it hasn’t been six months, a month, a week, a day or even a minute since I’ve been away, but he missed me already.  I couldn’t help but feel the same way.  I’m glad we got to spend our last day together having lunch and sitting out near the Hassan II Mosque by the ocean, having a cup of coffee/tea at a coffee house preparing for my next visit in six months.

Yes, you read that right…I’m going back to Morocco in six months.  I’m booking my next trip for right after the season ends.  It may happen right at the start of the playoffs, but it’s the final games that mean everything, right?  This is also my time to explore my new world post-hockey writing career.  It seems to be taking over the present world at a much faster rate than expected, but in my experience, that happens when I’m making the right decision.  In other words, my heart is leading me back to Morocco.

I feel sad today, because I feel like I belong there.  My hopes of redecorating my home and buying a new place after my return from vacation kind of became unimportant.  My mind is now thinking about that weird feeling I’ve had for the last 10 years…that I’ll end up moving to Morocco.

It’s hard to explain to someone who’s never been to Morocco why I would make the decision to move there.  The only thing is…I have to marry someone in order to move there.  It’s not a visa issue, because ex-pats are always welcome in countries around the world.  This is more of a cultural issue.

If I were to marry Hamid, the chances of being in public with my face covered is very high.  The chances that I have to be escorted by a male when I visit the markets are also very high.  I’m okay with that.

Why would I be okay with something that most women would call oppressive?  Because in the markets and medinas of Morocco, I have to have someone with me at all times.  With my face revealed, men come by and say things to me.  In Fes, the tour guide had to shew men away from me.  When you have 15 guys following asking the guide if I’m his sister, because they’d like to date me…you know that if I was alone, there would be a problem. 

I was left alone for five minutes with a businessman, he ended up kissing me twice and fondling my breast twice.  This was not acceptable by any means.  Yes, he did get in trouble for it. 

I think Driss and my tour guide were madder than I was that this guy tried to take advantage of me.  After that, I noticed that Driss didn’t want to leave me alone without a tour guide nearby that he knew.  I could see him watching every single time he had to step away from me…even if he told me to just stand next to the car.  The second he left me, someone would approach.  It happened every single time.

It’s one thing to tell a woman she’s beautiful in the marketplace, quite another when they ask me if I’m married the second Driss walks away from me. 

Driss explained to me later that the reason for all of the attention is because the men can sense something special about me.  I could be standing next to another beautiful woman, but the woman next to me wouldn’t be attracting all of the attention.  The reason why…all lies in that ‘something special about me.’

When I walk into the room, the men can all feel it.  Everyone looks up when I walk into the room.  Even Driss sensed it each time.  I couldn’t figure out why he was always shuttling me off into a room to eat my meals alone where no one could see me until that last day.  It was that ‘something special’ factor.  

Technically, if I were to marry a Muslim Arab…I would have to cover my face and be escorted in public by a man for my own safety, just based on what’s happened so far.  It’s not oppression if I’m okay with it.  In Morocco, men don’t just look at the beauty of a woman from the outside, they look at the soul.  The soul is more important than what’s on the outside.  When they meet a special soul, that one soul is like finding riches beyond comparison.  It’s finding a rare diamond amongst a bunch of pearls.

Do you know how long I’ve been looking for someone that sees me for who I really am and not just the shell of me?  I’ve had guys interested in me because of my money and what kind of life they could have with our incomes combined (usually, I make more money than he does).  Other guys like the life I have as “Michelle Kenneth” from the party invites to the success of my work.  They like that persona and what it can do for their life and career. 

They see the shell and not the soul hidden underneath.  In Morocco, the soul is all they see.  They don’t care about the shell.  The shell is not important at all.  The soul is the most important thing.

I needed someone and someplace that would see that in me.  That’s all they see in me in Morocco.  I’ve waited a very long time for that. 

Brahma Kumaris is a lot like the Muslim faith.  It’s about God and Love.  I have been concerned over the last few years that I would only find men that cared about that shell…and not what was in my soul.  I was starting to believe that marrying for love was not real.  Marrying for money was more important.  I didn’t like it one bit.  I wanted love.  I was really looking for a soulmate, and I didn’t find him in the US.  I found him (and many others) in Morocco.  It’s a place where souls intertwine with each other.

I can say that I have a very strong connection to both Hamid and Driss.  Driss is now like a brother to me.  Hamid…I just connected with in a way that leads to the kind of love that keeps you married for the rest of your life.  We were both on the same page about that.  You marry for life. 

I told Driss that I knew if I slept with Hamid, I’d never be able to see him again.  So I didn’t sleep with him because I wanted to see him again.  That means that what happened that night…it wasn’t bad, because it became a story about love.

I’m back in New York now thinking about how so much of what America believes in means nothing when you take out love and God.  I just want to be near love and near God.  I’ll take my money and plant it elsewhere…plant it within the people of Morocco.  I want to write their stories and give them opportunities for a better life.  I want to invest in them. 

I want to invest in them like I knew it was wise to invest in gold back in 2005.  I invested in it just in case the dollar became crap.  The dollar became crap and I profited by 300x in the investment.  That’s what I see in Morocco.  I see huge potential in the country…potential not even discovered yet.  I can hear the mountains whispering of its potential, mines yet to be discovered, energy sources waiting to be tapped into.  I see job creation for many.  I see water flowing in even the poorest of homes.  I see children getting an education and having a school bus pick them up and take them home every single day so they don’t have to walk an hour to and from school every day. 

I see potential in Morocco. 

Don’t be surprised if I tell you in 6 months that I’m becoming Muslim and marrying a Muslim Arab nomad.  Really…don’t be surprised at all.  It’s just where the universe has ultimately led me…and I won’t regret one single moment of that decision, because I would be listening to my heart for once in this lifetime.

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