In this lifetime, I was born in Europe (France) and have to this day spent a little over half my life on the west side of the ‘pond’ (Atlantic Ocean). An early seeking—or unhappiness with what I was doing, if you will—, led me to cross the bridge after a brief career in financial auditing and settle (for a few years) in Wisconsin as a graduate student in psychology. Then New Jersey for another 20 years, where I had my own intercultural training and consulting practice; followed an escape into the Pacific Northwest for a spiritual cleansing, or redirecting, and now northern Virginia.
An escape that coincided with hosting a weekly radio show on the VoiceAmerica network, entitled Nurturing the Spiritual Spelunker in All of Us. The show is no longer in existence but a small group of us still gathers every Thursday afternoon to talk about the path, our lives and anything spiritual.
More than what I’ve been doing for sustaining a living, or the various places where I lived, I relate to several landmarks or pebbles in my journey. Particularly one that took place in the years 2006-2007 when I decided to leave the Buddhist organization I was affiliated with for more than 17 years. It was a difficult decision; yet, truly, a liberating one.
Still perplexed about the ‘why’ behind my decision, I one day came across the following passage in a book by Anne Hillman (Awakening the Energies of Love). I suddenly understood what had happened and peace dawned on me.
It wasn’t until my mid-forties that I mentioned my dilemma with the church to a colleague who’d once been a Dominican priest. He told me the story of a beautiful tree in the center of a garden, surrounded by a high stone wall. He likened the tree to a person searching for the sacred, and the wall to the boundaries defined by her religion.
He concluded by saying:
The tree needs to grow out of the garden. Its branches need room to expand and spread wide. They need to reach far outside the garden’s walls, for they cannot be contained by the wall’s limits. But the tree always remains rooted in the garden.
Another intriguing ‘landmark’ occurred toward the beginning of 2015, in the form of two related dreams, a couple months apart. I was at O’Hare airport in Chicago waiting for a charter flight to India. The plane was delayed and I remember going to a café to have a drink, on the other side of the tracks. I was apparently with a man whom I never identified. The flight finally departed and we had a layover in northern England; in what looked like the town of Lancaster.
A few weeks later, I had another dream where I could see myself going through immigration at an Indian airport. I was passing by an Indian customs officer. He was wearing a turban and glasses. I was following a little girl and I felt she was guiding me. She was very enthusiastic.
I had arrived.
A friend of mine, Altair, told me that this dream had something to do with the initial spreading of Buddhism by the disciples of the Buddha. Right after he awoke at Bodh Gaya, the Buddha went to Sarnath where he preached his first sermon in the deer park to set in motion the ‘Wheel of Dharma.’
The little girl, my friend said, is “your true inner feminine self. She is guiding you to that inner joy; the real home. The continuation of the dream and the travel indicate that you are truly connected in to this adventure we call life.”
I have connected with this “inner feminine self” in some unusual places and she keeps guiding me along the meanders that life offers me. I am very grateful for her presence in my life.