Another #HopeHelpsHeal tour complete. A month flashed by like a blink of an eye with many good memories but most importantly got to deliver my story of resilience and survival & spread messages of hope to many people experiencing similar circumstance.
This trip I was lucky enough to tick off many adventures of my life 'to do' list. I proudly flew our 1st Nations Aboriginal flag in front of the White House; arguably one of the most influential and recognised buildings through out the world. I got to hold a baby alligator from the swamps of New Orleans and listen to the sweet sounds of Jazz & Blues in various clubs & bars in the Deep South.
It was in San Francisco I had the honour or sharing stories with my Native American brothers & sisters. Our cultures are so similar in our care for Mother Earth and our cultural belief systems.
The city of San Francisco is the reason I am writing this blog. It is some 15 years ago, my close friend and suicide mental health advocate Kevin Hines (@kevinhinesstory) attempted to take his own life by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge. Against all odds Kevin survived that jump and it is through his upcoming documentary, Suicide The Ripple Effect we met and I have since had the wonderful opportunity of touring with Kevin around the USA - so in walking onto the Golden Gate Bridge, I had a great sense of emotion. It has been over 2000 people that have died off that bridge, but I also sense of gratitude that my good friend and now call a brother Kevin Hines survived.
Again this trip, it wasn't only the people Kevin & I delivered our wellness sessions in front of, but the people we ran into and sparked conversation by circumstance that had most impact and showed the the ripple effect of suicide. Lauren & I got talking to a lady who was our Uber driver, who lost a close family member to suicide. That suicide in turn directed that lady into care for others and she worked for many years as a pastor, helping people through the word of the gospel.
Growing up a proud First Nations man, I have heard many times the story of the great Martin Luther King (MLK). It is in the city of Atlanta, we call our home base in the USA - the MLK museum, the house & street where MLK grew up, & the Ebenezer baptist church where MLK took up his role as a pastor.
I got to sit on the same steps MLK sat as a kid, see his bedroom, feel the gospel spirit inside the Ebenezer baptist church, and finally sit close by to the great mans final resting place, the tomb in which he was buried.
It is in MLK I thank, for standing up for the equal rights for people of colour he taught people like me there is such things as non violent protests through means such as intelligence.
My love for music as a young man made it all the more special to visit cities of New Orleans & Nashville. Both varying genres of music but the music of Blues, Jazz, Soul & Country is the types of music I grew up listening to as a kid and even more so now as an adult - music with meaning & songs with a story. Being in Nashville & New Orleans took me back to my childhood or growing up wanting to be a blues singer and entertainer & was also lucky enough to catch a gig at the renowned Reservation Hall - bands suck as foo fighters have shot music film clips at RH.
In NashvilleI got to visit the Johnny Cash Museum. Cash' music made even more famous to the younger generation through the film 'Walk The Line' sharing history of J.R Cash & his beloved wife June Carter Cash.
The Country Music hall of fame was simply spectacular, seeing memorabilia from artists made famous by their brilliant music, to many to name.
Back home safely on Australian soil although there no rest for the wicked - straight off the plane to deliver at a your leadership conference.
I got to spend the a much needed night with my beautiful 2 eldest children Brodi & Phoenix with dinner, chills and laughs in Sydney.
I am currently on route to Melbourne to hang out at a local NAIDOC community day chatting and sharing with local Aboriginal & Torres Straight Island mob. Then tomorrow - finally home to Wiradjuri country to the rest of my family; Fiancé Courtney, and 2 boys Rome & Ari - can't wait to take my shoes off & feel the soil of Mother Earth and Wiradjuri between my toes.