Jock Whitehouse is on a quest. Several, in fact. The first found him digging his way out of the dark hole of unhappiness into which he’d fallen. The second saw him return to the place of his birth, in Mexico, to discover a purpose for his life. The third comes in the form of The Ledge of Quetzal – Beyond 2012, a novel that pitches protagonist Daniel Bancroft into the mythological realm of southern Mexico to “discover the inspirational truths and transforming practices that open the way to his Oneness with the All,” as Jock describes the book.
“Against the backdrop of the Mayan 2012 world end prophecy, this magical allegory offers spiritual, inspirational and practical tools to help you find your way in an alarming and unstable world.”
A former creative director and new-business executive for several advertising agencies in the States (I worked with him in the mid-1990s at swb&r, a mid-sized agency in Bethlehem, Pa.), Jock stopped by recently to catch up with old friends and to make some new ones. Here’s the first of three posts on those conversations.
Why did you write this book?
The short answer is, “I had to.” When I was 55 I attended a time management seminar. We thought the facilitator was going to show us how to plan our day. What we didn’t know was that he wanted us to plan our lives. His first question to us—and this is described in the book—was “What’s important?” We responded with 24-karat corporate-ese: “Profits,” “Client relationships,” “Margins,” that sort of thing.
He practically laughed in our faces. “What’s important?” he repeated. Then we thought he was looking for the soft values: “Family,” “Relationships,” “Love.” Again he shook his head. “What’s important?” he asked again. I thought I’d be a smart ass and I called out, “Survival.” He turned and looked me squarely in the eye and said, “That’s your lowest calling. What’s your highest calling?” And in that instant, I knew I’d never pursued my highest calling in my life. I didn’t know what my highest calling was, but I knew that what I was doing wasn’t it.
It took me seven years to figure out what my highest calling was, and that was living a “spiritual” life. For me, than means living with the awareness of my oneness with all things, and I express that through writing.
I think “What’s important?” is the most powerful question we can ask ourselves … over and over again. It helps clear our vision and our heart.
There are parallels between your life and Daniel’s, I would guess. How much of the book is autobiographical?
Virtually all the emotional and spiritual material is autobiographical. The anguish of divorce, job loss, separation from Source. The spiritual transformation itself is fully autobiographical. The meditations and nearly all the visions occurred to me. I’ve never done a single drug in my life, but a few reviewers have said the material seems hallucinatory. I know it does. What is fictional, or allegorical, as I would say, are the meetings with the mythological figures, Quetzalcoatl, then Quetzal, the hooded figure, the shamans, and such. As a result of these two influences, the story ended up having the credibility of non-fiction combined with the inspiration of allegory.
Is the Ledge of Quetzal a real place, and did you climb up there and have this life-changing experience?
By the time I finished writing about the climb up to the ledge, it sure seemed real to me. But no, it’s a place in the imagination. What had happened to me with increasing frequency before writing about it was the experience of facing what seemed to be life-threatening situations—job loss and such—to suddenly have myself lifted from a place of fear to one of utter serenity and wholeness.
That’s what I tried to express through Daniel’s experience on the ledge. We die before our terror and are taken to a higher place. I’ve come to believe that this “plane of divinity,” as I call it in the book, is far more real than anything we face here in our daily lives. It’s a metaphysical reality that is there for us all.
Next: What co-creating a new reality means for most of us who are holding down jobs and raising families.
— Jeff Widmer