Ebb and Flow
By Doug Mannen (CCSS member)
Grandfather Sun was glowing a dull, reddish orange through the morning mist as I found myself floating gently on the calm waters of a small lake, high in the mountains. The mist danced hauntingly around me, beckoning me towards a distant shore; I paddled forward. Approaching the shore I could see three distinct rivers leaving the lake. One was too shallow to paddle through, the second tumbled over a waterfall, creating a difficult and lengthy portage and the third meandered into marsh.
A voice from the mist spoke within my heart,”You must make a choice. It is time for you to go.”
Pondering which path to take, I eventually went back to the first outlet, got out of the canoe and gently walked it downstream. Within minutes the river became deep enough to paddle, wide enough to be safe and calm enough to just paddle and enjoy! The river, which seemed to offer the least at first, became the one to offer the most.
As I continued downstream a new, yet vaguely familiar, voice spoke through my heart,”The journey you are now on is a safe one, not without its difficulties and teachings or its pains and tragedies, but I repeat, a safe one; always remember that. As you travel, your path will be joined by other rivers, other paths, other travellers. You will not see the travellers, nor will they see you, and some have been on their river for much longer, some for much shorter, but know that each of you has the same destination. All paths have been different but all paths become one.” There was silence for a while then,” Each time you come to a convergence, a joining of rivers, of paths, you will find something there which you will find appealing and important to you. Take it and put it into the basket gifted to you by the Misty Ones of The Lake. They have also gifted you your first item to guide you on your way.” I had not noticed that there was indeed a tough and durable alder basket lying in the canoe. In it was a firefly; what a wonderful gift.
I paddled,encountering many rivers, some so small, some much larger. Some were stained brownish, some were clear; some were muddy, some were sparkling; some were torrents, some were calm; some tumbled over rocks violently while others moved gracefully. At each joining I found either a shell, a stone, a fish skeleton, a feather or any number of natural items; I took something at each place, realizing that I was collecting a basket of very sacred items– to whom? ” The Creator! “, replied my heart voice.
Further downstream, after many, many joinings, the rivers, which entered ours, were becoming as large and as powerful; it became increasingly more difficult to shore the canoe, find the sacred item and get back into the current. At one point the canoe flipped; I thought all was lost, but to my amazement, I found I could stand, right the canoe and retrieve my basket, floating beside me. Again the voice,” You are always safe.” I continued.
After what seemed such many days, although there was never sunrise or sunset, I joined an immense river, one far more powerful than all others combined! Ahead rose a tree, so tall, so rooted, so full, so awesome and the river flowed through its roots!! No paddling was necessary; I sat in Sacred Silence and watched and waited.
My canoe calmly shored itself on a sandy shore. A new voice greeted me,” Welcome Blue Star Eagle. You have been gone for a long time.” The voice was powerfully feminine, comforting, nourishing and knowing. I realized I was not alone and turned to find Grandfather Elder beside me.
“Who spoke with me? ”
“Your Mother, ” he replied. “Let me see your basket. Ahh, it is very full. Much learned.”
“Please explain,” I stated. “I do not understand.”
Grandfather told me that each item I had chosen to put into the basket represented an important teaching I had practised for my self and with others, such as compassion, truth or gratitude. He told me to put the basket into the river. As it floated slowly away, it sank into the depths. An overwhelming floe passed through my heart space and I too joined The One River. Grandfather spoke again, although his voice was distant.
“All that you brought in your basket is now added back to all there ever was, all that was created. As you pass beneath Mother Tree, you will find you are now paddling upriver, against the current. You will encounter many, many other rivers branching off. You must chose which ones to take, always fighting the current. Leave something of importance to you at each meeting place, something meaningful that you will remember upon your return journey. As long as it ever takes you will return to Our Mother. Eventually you will reach the end of your journey, only to find you are again at the beginning.”
Meeting any obstacle, where a choice is to made, whether it be a change of direction, a moral decision or a spiritual choice, usually presents a moment of confusion or uncertainty.
Imagine entering the ebb and flow of your heart. What would it be like to follow the rivers within to remember a time when a choice needed to be made in order to move forward?
▪ What choices were You confronted with?
▪ Who or what guided You to look deeply enough to make a choice?
▪ How did You feel about your choice?
▪ What was the outcome of your choice, and what are the lasting effects?
TO KNOW ONE’s PATH DIFFERS FROM FOLLOWING IT!