"It's All An Adventure"
At the height of the Cold War, writer and photographer Mikkel Aaland finds himself drawn into a mysterious Shinto priest’s plan to save the world. Traveling from Norway to the Philippines, Iceland to South Africa, he places pieces of a sacred Shinto sword in key power spots around the world. Along the way he comes face to face with his fears of war and destruction. This is the second title in the Travelers’ Tales Footsteps series.
Any attempt at peace must be attended by a knowledge of self,” discovers writer and photographer Mikkel Aaland, who grew up with a bomb shelter for a bedroom, in terror of nuclear war. At the height of the Cold War, Aaland finds himself drawn into a mysterious Shinto priest’s plan to save the world. Traveling from Norway to the Philippines, Iceland to South Africa, he places pieces of a sacred Shinto sword in key power spots around the world. Along the way, he comes face to face with his deepest childhood fears of war and destruction, encounters the compelling and mysterious Shinto religion, struggles with the uncertainties of love, and learns to face life with an open heart.
The Sword of Heaven tells the extraordinary true story of a journey in which all boundaries are pushed—geographical, cultural, and personal—and in which the healing of the world and the healing of one man appear to be inextricably linked.
Having just finished 'Sword of Heaven' earlier today, I am left with what I'd imagine to be one of Mikkel Aaland's intentions in documenting such a monumental nearly two-decade long endeavor; i am left inspired and ever the more forward looking. What struck me most about his account of placing the broken shards of such an auspicious and revered piece of Shinto tools/iconography is how diligent he is in keeping us intimately close to the stream of emotions and consciousness throughout; as if we were in his back pocket the whole time, learning his lessons, eaves-dropping on the conversations, and getting lost and confused and frustrated with him every step on the way to inner and outer peace. I am grateful for the photographs that inaugurate each chapter, it only furthers a sense of inextricable union with Mr. Aaland's journey and our outside-in perspective. Furthermore, those photos really drive home the fact that such an incredible "five continent odyssey to save the world" actually happened. Having my incredulity at such a feat (in the greatest sense of the word) continuously trumped by the constant reminder that the Shinto Peace Project actually took place on this plane, this corporeal reality, was a gift; it's a pleasure amongst pleasures to balance the cynicism that is induced via bombardment of media coverage of wars/crime/murder/rape with the inspiration that is induced with a book that proves that happiness, though may be arduously hard-earned, is indeed possible for each of us as we define it and in our own terms.
With this book in my life, I feel as though the space occupied within the walls of my apartment and the space occupied within the cells of my body is perceptibly warmer as is evidenced by my increased attention to not so much 'being' anything per se, but on the process of 'becoming'. --By Elijah Kuan Wong
Reading "The Sword Of Heaven" gave me an opportunity to celebrate with the author an event that comes to very few beings on the planet. He could have given up so many times and not resumed taking up what intuitively urged him to go on and perhaps helped all of us who sincerely wish we could participate in such an undertaking. Thank you for having the courage to respond to your inner longings and for writing this book which lets us know that there is daily uplifting of consciousness on the planet happening on a global scale. We are deeply moved and grateful that you celebrated this opportunity.--A Grateful Reader
One cannot read this exciting book without considering in a new light some old and fundamental questions: 'Does my life REALLY make a difference in the grand scheme?' 'Is it possible that what I do in each moment of each day DIRECTLY DETERMINES whether or not human civilization advances or fails?' Mr. Aaland subtly raises these questions by sharing the remarkable story of his life over the last two decades, and leaves one wondering: Did he and his allies IN FACT bring down the Berlin Wall, end apartheid, and reverse the spiral of nuclear proliferation? These are all worthy questions, and Mr. Aaland's way of framing them-the way of the exceptional raconteur-is delightful.--By Brad Newsham
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