Every Step of the Way…

comments 38
Creative

This post is part of the Time Machine Blogging Challenge hosted by Linda Litebeing…

When I reflect on my life, the realization that emerges is that I’ve been guided in ways both more subtle and far-reaching than I would have imagined were possible in the moments when I was grappling around within the question of it.  That’s not to say my past isn’t peppered with opportunities to have lived differently.  There’s a business or two that didn’t work out, a Gettysburg Cemetery of missed opportunities to have been more vulnerable and more open around others, and a fear of falling down that spikes like a natural frequency the closer I come to crossing one of those arbitrary, yet sacrosanct boundaries we set for ourselves who knows when, to keep ourselves safe.

I’ve no doubt a line of experts whispering in my ear could have managed the gifts I was given to alternate now’s, and most, if not all of them would be marked by greater statistical evidence of success than I possess currently, but then I’d be just as lost as I ever was, dependent on a coterie of advisers.  My insides would still be caving in.  This is where grace comes into play.

We used to go to the Birmingham Public Library when I was little, and somehow I’d discovered the sport of soccer despite living in an (American) football-crazed south.  That somehow was at least partly a father’s reticence to see eight-year-olds suit up for a morning of collisions before bodies were developed and motor skills acquired.  At the library I found a book called How To Play Professional Soccer.  That afternoon, in the squelching summer heat, I was doing stretches and calisthenics on the floor of my tiny bedroom with the furniture pushed up against the wall.  I ended up writing a hand-written letter to the American Youth Soccer Association, which had an address in one of the appendices, because I read they had travel teams in different places.  A few months later I was at a try-out for a U12 team in one of the suburbs– the only one there in sport-agnostic patterned shorts and plastic cleats.  But it worked.  Playing sports became a stabilizing force for me all the way through high school.  I look back on that story, and how much playing soccer meant to me for the next ten years, and chuckle at how fragile the path to it seems to have been.

Now the self who navigated those ten years has shed that skin.  To a certain extent my focus and commitment on training were a postponement of the inevitable.  Playing soccer was the identity I could fall back on when things were most uncomfortable.  I could retreat into that world.  Later I realized it wasn’t a retreat that was tenable indefinitely, and I simply shifted focus.  When I say that I was guided, it is the emergence of a particular ensemble of feelings and intuition that precipitated a decision to which I refer, and that I find most intriguing.  It always felt at the time like “I” was making a decision, but I cannot account for the changing internal spectra of knowing and uncertainty that propelled me to tack in a new direction.  Something was given to me in those moments.  The wind changed at sea, and I moved with it, but I cannot explain the changing wind.

So I swung from one rope to the next, and despite being plagued by doubts about my educational path finished college and graduated.  I relocated across the country to move in with my (now) wife, but found myself in a new world without any past connections.  My new family was a small group of people who participated in Native American ceremony together, and this transition both geographically and personally triggered almost-debilitating fears about finding how I fit into this world.  Looking for a job felt like clawing my way out of a dark hole.  I was hidden down there– and safe in a way maybe– but also coming apart.  Sending out a resume and not getting a response, or getting no for an answer merely affirmed the futility of my finding solid ground.  My introspective personality wasn’t exactly a boon during this time, but big picture, this wasn’t the time for me to be on solid ground.  It was the perfect set of conditions for my continued unfolding.

Coincident with these secular difficulties I was facing, I was also feeling pulled to develop a stronger spiritual foundation.  I decided to do vision quest as part of this community I had found, and that began as a complete standoff between the feelings in my heart and the voices in my head.  It was like watching two huge forces tear each other to bits on the playground through the classroom window, only they were both me.  Every little step felt heavy and difficult.  I went into the woods a lot and found big trees to lean against and cry.  I made all of the preparations as well as I could, uncertain about each one, feeling the power of the path and a certain crushing doubt vie for supremacy at every step.  Wasn’t this supposed to feel like a loving experience?

No…  Looking our difficulties in the eye is never easy.  Not for me anyway.  We pick up a lot of strange notions out on the periphery, and returning to the center strips them away, churns them up, and puts them on display all around us.  We move through a world of image, temptation and danger.  The first year I did vision quest nothing happened quite as I had hoped it would.  Or so I thought.  All the preparations I had made and hopes for that moment vanished– and I sat there alone, in the darkness, my confidence eroding until it was completely gone and I had no ground to stand on.  A few days later the gift I was given became clear: I walked away knowing I was simply not capable of dealing with the demons inside of me on my own.  This I could be certain about.

I’d found the bottom.

I call it grace because it was exactly what I’d asked for day-in and day-out for months, just not in the mind’s conjured form.  I’d prayed for some evidence of the truth of myself, some ending to the difficulty of floundering in painful uncertainty.  It came, just not the way I had asked or anticipated.  It came without any sparkle or glitter, without visions to talk about.  It came as a one-way ticket to the bottom, while I was trapped by my commitment in the safest place on earth, right at the center.  A month later another book found me, and I began to study A Course in Miracles.  Step by step the foundations were laid for seeing clearly, and eventually peace emerged and stabilized.  Life has become enjoyable and sweet.

The world would have had me doing so many other things those past couple of decades, but the wind never blew me in those directions, and that is how I know I was steered, or carried along.  Because the pressures are there.  That, and I had my best friend in the world beside me along the way– my wife– cracking jokes and bursting my balloons of self-importance and heaviness.  Looking back in the Time Machine, I’m absolutely certain we are given just what is needed when we are ready to receive it.  We could never heal on our own, of our own power or prescriptions.  There is a wisdom to what is given that leaves me dumbfounded, and looking for a tree to water with my tears…

Next up is Mary on the 16th!

38 Comments

  1. Pingback: Time Machine Blogging Challenge: It is Off the Chain. Whadya Waiting for? Join Us! | litebeing chronicles

    • Well…
      you are me,
      and so it has all been perfect–
      not one gram
      here or there
      out of place
      for either of us… 🙂

      Peace!
      Michael

      Like

  2. Thanks for the personal insight into your path Michael. I’m still plagued by big doubts and the seeming inability to discern my intuition for making choices. Oh well, I move forward or backward! as best I can.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. Michael, this is a beautiful and very haunting reflection – I hope that you know that in having glimpses of insight into your journey, I better understand myself, my journey and that I am not alone.
    With you along the way, your friend, Harlon

    Liked by 5 people

    • Thank you, Harlon. I really do appreciate your sharing that, my friend. Knowing we speak the same meaning, which goes beyond the sameness language, is helpful to me also. You are certainly not alone, and neither am I in these discoveries of what is shared.

      Glad to be traveling beside you,
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for sharing your odyssey, Michael. So many, these days, are completely dependent on advisors. It takes great courage to be willing to confront the perils one encounters, alone. May you find many trees to water. –Julie

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thank you for that, Julie. One thing I found was that not having the willingness to trust my own instincts always left me on the outside of what I needed most. Not that we go it alone either, though… Trusting your voice seems to increase our ability to learn from others, too. It all opens up… There are plenty of trees here, and plenty of water, too…! 🙂

      Blessings
      Michael

      Liked by 3 people

  5. Thanks for sharing your amazing journey, Michael.
    “It came without any sparkle or glitter, without visions to talk about. It came as a one-way ticket to the bottom, while I was trapped by my commitment in the safest place on earth, right at the center.”
    I find it amazing that the way out of the barrel is often right through the bottom of it. I remember that Raj/Jesus said this many times in the channelings through Paul N. Tuttle.

    And, yes, trapped on the safest place on earth, right at the center, that is beautifully stated and so true.

    So, ACIM has played a major part in your journey. I can relate to that. It shows us that forgiveness ( and for me that means returning to inner peace over and over again) is important because that is where our true home is , and that is where intuition speaks clearly and where life starts to flow smoothly.

    Now , for this spiritual journey, your introspective personality certainly is an advantage.

    Peace,
    Karin

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hello Karin,

      I love the way you wrote this, about the way out of the barrel being through the bottom of it. I hadn’t heard that one before, but it makes sense to me in the context we’re sharing here. I think the thing about our journeys is that they all look so different don’t they–? And yet they feel to me to be precisely identical. This is I think what the Course means about the forms being unique, but the content being the same. However our difficulties dress up for us to see them, is how they dress up. But when we contact the heart and open to the forgiveness you describe, we discover the depth and commonality of our meaning. It is not just our own meaning, but our meaning in one another… It’s an interesting thing, but I believe we do carry one another in the silences we come to know within. I love at the same time the way we’re all unique in our explorations and responses to what this life brings…

      Much Love
      Michael

      Liked by 3 people

  6. Hi MIchael,

    Thank you for another bird’s eye view into your heart. BTW, birds have a fabulous view. I particularly liked the following paragraph:

    When I say that I was guided, it is the emergence of a particular ensemble of feelings and intuition that precipitated a decision to which I refer, and that I find most intriguing. It always felt at the time like “I” was making a decision, but I cannot account for the changing internal spectra of knowing and uncertainty that propelled me to tack in a new direction. Something was given to me in those moments. The wind changed at sea, and I moved with it, but I cannot explain the changing wind.

    There is a quiet humble confidence that informs your words and softly narrates your story. i appreciate that aspect of you. While I do not know how to separate out the you and I and we of the universe anymore, I am grateful for the spirit playing the role of Michael in this holy instant.

    I truly relish the Course and it came to me in an indirect, sideways, quasi diagonal route, preparing me for the lessons and treasures they were yet to bring.

    Thank you again for joining the Time Machine party and bringing your Michaelness into a clearer view.

    peace and light, Linda

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thank you, Linda.

      I like that we’re losing the ability to separate the you and the I from the we and the whole of it. We can recognize the distinctions and the uniqueness, even as we breath deeply of the unity that lives within and through all. I really appreciated your description of the narrator’s presence, and feel as though you read this piece deeply. Thank you for giving so of your time and presence.

      I’ve really enjoyed this series, and as Mary wrote in her piece, it has seemed to propel many of us to take an inward or deep look at things. Truly a joy to behold in each!

      Blessings
      Michael

      Liked by 3 people

  7. Genie says

    Lucky you, that you can write about your private life, me, can’t do that, the reason being is that I write about Palestine.

    Can’t disclose the whys or reasons, nor what happened to me and my family because of writing about a Just Peace for Palestine, I’ll just say, it was and is shocking.

    Former President Jimmy Carter, tried to write about Palestine too in his book (Peace, Not Aparteid) in the end, he apologized in order to have his family be safe and have work.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Genie,

      I’m grateful for many things, and thank you for reminding me how easy it yet remains for me to take so many simple things for granted. I hope that what freedom I enjoy, I am able to use wisely. It is difficult for me to comprehend the violence affected by people against people for reasons of ideology and nation-building, and the vision I carry is one where people are people first, to and for one another, and their shared needs and humanity trump the differences by which we so often brand ourselves as “different”. Such differences obviously lead to suffering, and I certainly do not possess a deep enough reservoir of tears for all those who suffer yet. If it helps, I carry your heart in mine. If it doesn’t, I do so anyway, until such time as it may.

      Peace
      Michael

      Like

      • Genie says

        It’s manufactured violence by the elites who wield power and money, they brain wash and mind control people into states of violence, our true nature is peaceful and loving, it’s the bankers and politicians who create wars, violent video games, pornography, etc., all these things kill the soul, and then, they have the nerve to silence people when they protest against this assault on the soul.

        Like

        • There are a great many of us who still know not what we do… The attempt to use attack as defense shows we still haven’t recognized that which needs no defense. Failing to recognize this, we stand divided. We attack, and we suffer. I agree with you about our true nature. It is peaceful and loving, it is true. It cannot be harmed by the actions of bodies and dreams…

          Peace
          Michael

          Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Michael, I am reading through the time machine blogging challenge posts and really enjoyed reading yours. I love what you said about the experts whispering in your ear, I think your journey shows that ‘statistical measurements of success’ don’t necessarily equal personal fulfillment. Your ‘tree to water’ comment made me smile. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Dear Micheal.
    What an enlightening share as you have given us a glimpse into your past.. A sensitive story from boy to manhood. And yet still the boy is within searching to find himself.

    No path is ever a wrong path, and your own was divinely guided to merge with the teaching of our ancient indigenous ancestors.. I have also done a vision quest of sorts, maybe not as our indigenous brothers and sisters would advice..
    But walking out alone, facing the four elements, seeking answers, not knowing who we are, yet at the same time feeling every wound like it’s ours to bare.. I can see you within your forest head bent within the bark, merging tears, emptying one’s self, yet filling one’s self up. As the Woodland spoke back.. Healing, soothing…
    When all is stripped away, when we are naked, We understand we are not alone.. and its ok to ask for help in clearing away our demons..

    Nothing is ever by chance.. and the Course In Miracles is just that.. it landed in your hands to connect to your heart..

    You said “The wind changed at sea, and I moved with it, but I cannot explain the changing wind.”..

    We do not need to explain it.. The knowing of it lays within us.. all we need do is trust in which direction it takes us… As we flex our winds opening them wide to embrace the views as we fly.

    Michael.. thank you for sharing this wonderful journey with us.. Each journey sets out with but one step… All we have to do is take it one step at a time… for we are all of us guided by the wind.

    Love and Blessings
    Sue ❤

    Liked by 4 people

    • Hello Sue,

      Thank you for taking the time to read and to share your own experiences here. What I realized after a time is that life itself is a bit like those journeys into the woods, for we are here, in this strange land, beset with what arises that we cannot avoid… It can be so challenging at times, but we pry from our experience the sweetness of it all if we manage to find our way to a bit of wisdom here and there. Hopefully, some can be passed along, and there is a joy in nurturing it with others as we do here. So much that cannot be explained is so very good, and I’m thankful all the time for the emergence of the inexplicable in my life! Ha!

      Love to you, too–
      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

  10. Walking My Path: Mindful Wanderings in Nature says

    Thank you for sharing your unfolding, and your journey into Grace. Your words are ever so desciptive in a way that passes the mind and goes right to the heart. Just makes me love you more, sitting beside you by the tree.
    Namaste
    Mary

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Mary. I’m enjoying sharing a moment beside the tree with you… It feels authentic and good. True connection dissolves the doubts, and turns the tears around from suffering to joy. I’m glad we have made this connection here in WP land… 🙂

      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Your heart so beautifully true dear Michael … Sharing your journey moves me to walk straight into the shining sun …and may I please humbly join you in being ” dumbfounded ” by it all ? …I see the dew on the grass appearing as diamonds this autumn morning , your life a meditation on embracing Love … thank you so much for this and for your dear friendship ….love , megxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Meg,

      Please… let’s be dumbfounded together, and join the parade of humble beings walking straight into the shining sun… I’m glad this spoke to you, and that you linked up with the dew on this autumn morning. Life is beautiful in its simplicity, and in its depth. Thank you for your friendship, too…

      Much Love
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Well this post was my tree that I watered with my tears. Thank you. I’ve been saving it for a while and finally it felt time to read it. I knew I needed space in which to read it so I could let it work its magic on me. See how we are guided! In every detail. Thank you for this gift.
    I remembered that all the movement of life is an easy sacrosanct flow and that I don’t need to know anything, or achieve anything, or be anything. I just need to show up. Or better still, let Life show up as it lives itself through/as me.
    I don’t have to try, or push for things to happen. What’s needed in terms of forward movement, and of things and events, will arise naturally unfolding the path moment by moment. It’s not my life, it’s Life living itself and despite ‘me’ trying to control it, or make it happen, Life does it’s thing. The level of suffering is directly related to how well this ‘me’ let’s go and gets out of the way.
    Thanks dear friend for you and your quiet clear wisdom. I seem to have drifted away from the truth and you brought me back with your words.
    Much love, Alison

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Alison,

      Thank you for this reply full of connection and friendship. I can relate to the feeling of drifting away from the truth, but can’t picture you actually more than a foot or two from the shore. It can feel as though we’re so remote from it, and then we realize it’s right here…

      There’s an interesting discussion in A Course of Love that I think relates to this drifting, and that is the idea that beyond the egoic self, to let life live through us, we have to be confident in who we are. It’s not a confidence in that self we’ve shed, but a confidence in our ability to draw upon and express the timeless, limitless wisdom that is our true nature. I think sometimes we wobble because we touch peace, but then we have these patterns of “not being there”. They’re like ruts we get our wheels caught in or something. The world looks the same, so we’re tricked into the ruts, but really that’s just a memory, or a pattern we’re following. The world is not what we thought it was, but it can seem to be that way still, and we fall into the rut…

      I mean, we know that sweet, holy, delicious feeling of just being okay with exactly what is. And we keep seeing something else! It’s crazy!

      It’s good to have friends to help one another recognize the rutless way…!

      Much Love
      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

      • Yes I know exactly what you mean, getting caught in the ruts, and then seeing – oh, here I am here again, but I know better, and I know how to get out of it, or someone like you reminds me, and I step back onto the rutless way 🙂 I don’t doubt my ability to tap into the wisdom of my true nature, and it’s okay that sometimes I need a reminder. The universe always sends what’s needed eh?!
        A.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Thank you for filming in a way, your time machine journey, taking us all along for the ride to find, hitchhiking across the universe of time, we encounter mirrors of self seen in others, and we are not alone, we are often aliens in our skins reaching out to find that space for us only to realize, all of space is ours and each step taken brings us back to the path where the blinding light guides us home. We are blinded in joy to realize we’ve been there, but perhaps got side tracked along the way by distractions and shiny things. The shiny things can teach, yet they are merely shells of the true light we were searching for all along, and with that knowledge we are set free. Loved this and thank you, K

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Kim. I’m glad you’ve recognized the essence of our shared path. So many shiny things to distract us… not least of which are our ideas of who we should be being… I relate to your description of feeling at times like aliens in our skins, reaching out, and discovering the embrace of this experience in which we’re immersed… Such a joy to make these connections!

      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

      • I am flying these days…living in the I Am….wow, I didn’t know the breadth of endless joy …living in the bliss and amazement of this life😊 thank you for you😊💜K

        Liked by 1 person

  14. All I can say is that I am so happy, so grateful, that I did not miss this one, Michael. And just as you said that everything has divine timing…I read this this morning at EXACTLY the perfect time! Thank you for bearing your soul and laying it out in the open for all of us to see…to feel…to connect with! Blessed day, my friend ♡♡

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Lorrie,

      I’m glad this spoke to you and that the timing was so well-orchestrated. It’s amazing how words affect us in a certain way, at certain times, when in other times and places they may hardly have made an impact. I’ve had that happen even with books I read once before, and then later, in the right moment, it’s altogether different. I hope it was helpful, and that all is well…

      Much Love
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s