on a literal odyssey
This is a selection from the book “The Seven Paths of the Anasazi Way” published by The ANASAZI Foundation. This is one of the most beautiful stories that I have ever read.
When the heavens stopped beating down on me and the sky finally cleared, I collapsed to the earth in exhaustion. How long I slept I do not know. It might have been hours or it might have been days. But I did not rest in my sleep. I walked far.
And I awoke desiring to step anew.
For in my sleep I met a legend among my people–a man long revered, with a name so sacred it is spoken only in praise or song. In my dream, I climbed the slope of a mountain. My father climbed with me. I did not know the purpose of our journey, but it seemed as if he did. I say “seemed” because we didn’t speak. We walked in silence, although not the warring kind I had known in my youth. It was rather the silence of reverence. After what seemed like both a long time and barely a moment, we reached the summit. My father stopped, and with an outstretched arm invited me to proceed beyond the next bend.
I did as I was bidden.
As I turned the corner, I was overcome by the presence of an incredible being–a being that I instinctively knew to be the holy one from our legends. I recall that he was in some sort of conversation with another person. But as I turned the corner he turned towards me, and I was given to know that ht was waiting specifically for me. He radiated an incredible light, yet the light was neither blinding nor harsh. It was inviting, soft and loving. Nevertheless, it was bright beyond description.
I felt in that moment love as I had never known it. It drew me to him. I rushed to him and we embraced. I think that I fell at his feet, but I can no longer remember for sure. I shall never forget that embrace, however, nor his eyes, for they were pure love. But amid the glory of the experience, there was an element that left me trouble. For while I knew by instinct that I was in the arms of the holy one, I remember wondering while we were embracing whether it really was him. In that moment of uncertainty, I knew that something in the way I had been living my life held me back from experiencing his fullness, and my heart shuddered in anguish.
Then I awoke.
My young friend, I wish you were hear me so that you could see the conviction in my eyes and hear the feeling in my voice. I truly saw what I have described to you. It was a dream yes, but so much more of a dream than any other dream I have known. I had never before experienced such joy, and have never before felt such pain. When I had collected my thoughts, I lifted my voice to the sky, thanking the Creator that I had been given another day to leave behind what had held me back. For you see, I was carrying in the pockets of my heart mementos of a life lived in backward walking.
If I was to move forward, I needed to leave all that was backward behind.
I did that that very day, and have had to repeat the offering many times since. Perhaps in this regard, as well, you and I are alike. Perhaps there are aspects of your life that need to be started anew. Make an offering of all that is old within you. Whatever you carry that invites a backward walking, leave behind.
The embrace that awaits is too sweet to miss.