There is an exercise that I did while working on a book called The Spirit of the Rising Hawk. It requires that you select a rock from somewhere. Simple enough, but then there is so much more to it. I collect rocks and have as a child. Now, I find a rock because I am directed to it and sometimes I bring them home to the garden. So when I selected my stone for this exercise, the small round stone with no sharp edges called to me. He is nothing sparkling, very dull actually but there is iron running through him and so I named him Rusty.
Ok, certifiable, right? The exercise is not about finding a pet rock. It is about impermanence. Rusty was here before me and he will be here long after I am gone. That connection is what the lesson is about. It is about deciding what to do with the short time I will share with Rusty on this earth. Take that a step farther; what will I share with others while I am here? What mark or impact will the blink I am here have in the way the world will evolve?
There are many who come and go too quickly. But from the moment we take our first breath to the last, we are impacting someone, somewhere and forever changing the course of the world. It is a dizzying effect if you latch onto it. With every breath the atmosphere is altered. And every breath we take includes particles in the air that someone else breathed at some point. We are connected no matter what.
The world will spin on long after I am gone. Everyone will experience this coming and going as this is what life is. I want this time that I have to mean something. Somehow, some way, I want my foot print I leave to have had some value to others, to have helped them make their next steps. It does not have to be grand in scheme, and it won’t be I am sure. I am not going to save anyone from anything. That is arrogant and comes from the viewpoint that someone needs to be saved from something wrong. I do not want to pontificate on the some principal or methodology as if there is only one way, one truth and only one way to obtain that. That does not work for me and never has a teacher. I am a follower of Gardner who developed principals that people learn and express their learning in multiple manners. It was why I loved teaching in a more alternative school program. That was until they tried to put the children back into boxes.
I want to do one thing, to teach if you will, this basic concept: Believe in yourself. Simple and we hear it all the time. But for those who did not hear this message growing up because they had their hands over their ears protecting their head from taking a head shot from a fist, or those adults who covered their ears to stop hearing the abusive messages coming at them; these are the ones I want to…. and the verb eludes me. Guide, maybe that is the word? It is self-discovery. But if you cannot find the path or you are so scared to take the first step it can be overwhelming to the point of not doing it. I think many people want to take this walk but are afraid. The only thing they need is a hand to steady them. And as they work through the woods, the mud and the briars, someone needs to be there to brush them off and get them back on the walk.
And as I was typing this, my own weakness surged up and loudly screamed at me; “Who do you think you are that you should do this?” My ego still takes over easily and there is a constant battle raging on inside me that says “you are no one… you are worthless..” The voices are from my past and very loud still. But they are not my voice. I am learning to talk louder than them.
I have had some very strong hands guide me and support me through some very thick woods. They offered so much and all will deny doing anything if you asked them. They will say they were a catalyst, guidance at best, and that I did the work. It is not that simple and the process would not have worked in isolation. If it was so easy and can be done alone, why are people not doing it? Why do we have church and specific denominations and all the accoutrements that go along with the discovery of faith and practice of religion? Because we need community and support to be successful. We need guides.
And there is a beginning to this journey, but no true end other than to pass it forward. Unlike Rusty, my rock, I will not be here much longer is relation. I have but a moment left. But that moment needs to have value.
There is a very strong voice that whispers to me every day and every night. It is the quiet voice that a teacher uses when they really want to make a point. I could not hear it because of all the screaming going on from my past. The ugly utterings that were so easy to listen to because it was all I chose to hear. The soft voice has always been there. I could hear it in the wind when I focused. I could sense it patiently waiting for me to pay attention. The Voice speaks to all who will quietly tilt their head and listen. I needed to quell the mob, push past their poisonous messages and release myself from their grip. I am a work in progress as there are, and will be, days when I am tired of the fight and they see the opportunity to advance. But I am a warrior, and will persevere and hold my line. Because the calm voice calls me back every time and whispers……