Here is a short story to lift your spirits – and who doesn’t need that from time to time. You can think of it as a current-day VISION QUEST.
Get comfortable and enjoy the mystical journey. Feel the wind caress your face. Listen to the bird song on the air. Find a restful spot on the earth and feel soothed.
The shaman stepped out of the shadows into the flickering light of the campfire. His garb was a long flowing robe, wrapped around his shoulders, of so many colors it’s hard to tell you exactly which color I saw. His face was the powerful mask of the Yei, towering above me even as I stood up to greet him.
Minutes before I had been staring into the flames of the pinion fire atop a high desert mesa, thinking about what was missing, what was broken in my life, despite years of searching for a cure. Shaken by the strength of his presence, I inanely asked him for his name.
“Shaman,” he uttered, and not one word more.
Even as silence filled the space between us, I realized I had called for aid and he had crossed the worlds to speak with me.
I shook my head ever so slightly. Forty years of wandering through a spiritual desert, much as Moses had, left me without much hope. But I asked anyway.
“Tell me how I can fix my life,” I challenged him.
Again a single word: “Dance.”
My shoulders slumped. Ah, I had dared to hope after all. His terse answer spawned no new insight in me.
I stared up into the expressionless mask of the Yei, trying to weave my bewilderment into something more useful.
I looked across the land, felt it breathe and the planets above my head spin in their orbits. Finally, words formed and found their way to my mouth.
“Can you tell me more?”
With a broad stroke of his arm, the shaman painted an image of snow geese flying across a winter sky in endless Vees, their calls filling the crisp air. My heart lifted in flight with the geese.
With another pass of his arm, we stood amid the heavens, with nameless stars and galaxies streaming around us. Free of the weight of this lifetime, my spirit soared among the splendors of that vast universe.
All too soon, we stood back at the campfire’s edge. This time his arms gathered me to him and we wheeled above the earth with only the ravens to hear my thoughts.
Mile after mile of sandstone bluffs and arid ridgelines entwined with oxbow creeks flowed below us. The earth and sky sang in my blood.
Finally I DANCED.
Bright sunshine roused me from my slumber. I had no recollection of the shaman’s departure or of the night’s ending. In vain I struggled to keep the magic of my guide’s visions as I watched the ravens chase the thermals across the canyon floor.
My eyes followed the dusty path down to the jeep parked under a juniper, and then to the ribbon of highway glinting in the distance and finally to the flat, smog-filled valley where my job waited for me. I forced my gaze down to my wristwatch.
“Well, that’s just the pits!”
I’d slept late into the morning, and now the day’s obligations were already spiraling out of control.
“Take five minutes,” the earth sighed.
“Take five minutes,” the wind rustled.
“Take five minutes,” the sun twinkled.
The flawless blue sky smoothed the wrinkles of worry from my face.
And so, with the world demanding my presence, I took five minutes to let my soul remember how to dance.
***YAHOKE, ikana! Thank you, friends. Much GRATITUDE for spending time on a Choctaw Journey with me.***
Photos from my personal collection:
Featured photo – A magnificent Ancient Puebloan ruin at Hovenweep National Monument in southern Utah, with Sleeping Ute Mountain in the distance.
Birds in flight – Bosque Del Apache Wildlife Refuge, San Antonio, New Mexico.
Milky Way – copyright-free image from http://www.pixabay.com.