I am one of those spiritual seekers who never seem to find what I am looking for. Enlightenment eludes me, or is that the point? I’ve meditated in the Catskill Mountains, practiced yoga in the Yucatan, taken spiritual treks in the Andes and embarked on a vision quest in a crowded state park over Labor Day weekend (not recommended). I’ve fasted for ten days, abstained from alcohol for a year and sex for five. I’ve been impaled with thousands of acupuncture needles and drank foul tasting Chinese herbal concoctions that made me retch.
I’ve been re-birthed in Mendoza, Argentina, had my palm read in Sardinia, Italy, my soul retrieved in Fairfax, California, and the devil stamped out of me in a rather unorthodox Eastern Orthodox church in San Francisco. I’ve sought advice from therapists, Tarot readers, astrologers, psychics and strangers in line at Starbucks.
I even participated in a pagan ritual to release the burdens of my past where I threw my wishes into a bonfire after dancing all night to the beat of African drums and plunged myself, naked, into an ice cold river.
Sometimes I wonder what I’m searching for.
Maybe I’m trying to recapture a clear, cold December night in Upstate New York when I was six years old. Bundled up in my chubby red winter snowsuit, a hand-me-down from my mother’s cousin Kathleen, I lay on a pile of fresh powdery snow in the front yard of our house inhaling the cold winter air, the kind that hurts your lungs when you breathe in too deep. With only my eyes and nose peeking out from my damp, scratchy wool scarf, I felt blissfully alone and at the same time snug and safe knowing my family was on the other side of the frosted windows.
The millions of stars shining out of the black sky awed me. The piles of snow covering the neighborhood muffled all sound, creating an internal stillness. There were no chores, no homework, no parents asking me what I’d learned at school that day. Just me, the sky, the stars.
A warmth glowed inside me. It was as if I knew everything was going to be OK. God was looking out for me. Not a gray-bearded God the nuns had threatened would punish the entire St. Therese kindergarten class for squirming in our chairs. But a friendly, encouraging God, the kind who might wink at you and say, “Hey kid, I know you’re doing your best.”
Eventually my mother called me into dinner, and life went on... until twenty years later when I went through a very painful divorce. My heart broke open and I was launched on my 20-year spiritual search.
“In order to find the treasure, you will have to follow the omens. God has prepared a path for everyone to follow. You just have to read the omens that he left you.”
Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
My new blog, Surrendering to the Signs, is my shift from seeking to applying, from questioning to expressing. A place to share thoughts, insights, and intuitions: yours and mine. I invite a conversation where we can together indentify, interpret and not only follow, but surrender, to the small still voice inside, the subtle urgings of our soul to propel us forward into unknown territory.
I enter this conversation with a sense of urgency for change. The planet desperately needs us to remove all barriers and resistance to fully being who and what we are here for. If not us, who? If not now, when?