You know, it occurred to me the other day that I've never really explained what the Bardolands are, or is, or however you say it.
So, let me try to explain with a true story. No alternative facts, I promise.
One night this past summer, I went to bed later than usual. I was both physically and emotionally exhausted from a long, full day of trying to figure out how I was ever going to know the sort of success I wanted as an artist. It's the kind of work as you might imagine, that requires one to sort through and question the fears and beliefs that don't do much in the way of helping.
In any case, I think I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.
In what felt like hours later, I heard the call of a screech owl just outside my bedroom window. I rose out of bed. No. I mean, I really rose out of bed. Like, there I was, in the air, looking down at myself sleeping and the strangest part about it was, it felt like the most ordinary thing in the world.
The owl called again, so naturally, I flew out the window after it toward the huge oak tree at the end of the driveway and perched myself right next to him. We sat there together for a while, under the electric moon lit sky. I remained silent while he whinnied his sad, eerie song. The next thing I recall was climbing back into my body and resuming sleep.
I awoke to a blinding morning light streaming through the window. A different set of birds had taken up their shift and sang songs of gratitude to the rising sun. I had one of those long morning stretches that accompany a good night's sleep. Then it hit me, "Holy shit! Did that really happen?!"
Now, before you conclude I was dreaming or even lucid dreaming, let me assure you, I am well versed at both. This was no dream. There was an owl outside my window that night. In fact, I continued to hear the same owl call for several nights after, in the same tree, before going to bed.
I am certain I left my body that night and for a short period of time, existed in what I can only describe as a place in-between worlds. I really don't know how to explain it any better, except to say that I have the sense I had become more sound then flesh. As though the molecules of my body defused into everything else around me. It was both weird and amazing and to this day, I can still recall, in a very sensory way, every second of the experience.
Now, if you're rolling your eyes at this claim, I get it and I don't blame you. Not one bit. I'd have a hard time understanding it too if it hadn't happened to me personally. But really, it doesn't matter if you understand or even believe me. What's important, and something I know you already get or else you would be reading this, is the significance of that "in-between" space I now call The Bardolands.
This is a place of liminality.
It's a place of becoming.
And it's pure magic.
Just a week after this experience, while thumbing through the Tibetan Book of the Dead, as one does after such an event, I came across the concept of the Bardos; a multi-staged and layered field that exists between life and death. And while that's about the only connection my use of the word has to the Book of the Dead's, I finally had a name for where I went that night. The place I go to become, create, and support others to do the same. A place in many ways, I have been visiting most of my life unconsciously, until now.
Cool, right? I think so.