Just a few miles down the freeway from Trucker Man and Rose, another fun and unusual thing happened. My dad and I had been talking and we somehow got to reviewing the past and why I made the choices in life that I did. I have to say that my dad has come a long way in understanding his daughter, but there was a time that I caused him nothing but frustration and grief. I am definitely different. There’s no doubt about it. I’ve always told my dad that his blessing in life was that he could always comfortably and successfully fit into the box. Me? I’m a metaphysical, out-of-the-box gypsy type. I’m with Frank Sinatra, I did it… and continue to do it my way.
I told my dad that I felt that one of the defining moments in my life was about 13 years ago when I was informed by a doctor that I needed to have part of my cervix cut out due to the cancer cells that were creeping around and setting up camp there. During that time I hated my life. I hated that I hated my life. I knew that life could be so much more. It was as if the cancer cells were screaming at me to LIVE dammit! Don’t just settle for the status quo! Clearly this way of life that I had been living was threatening to kill me. It was in and around that time that I sat down and had my own ‘conversation with God’.
I can’t recall exactly what I said, but it was something like this: “God, I’d like to stick around here on Planet Earth. I realize that this is a wake up call for me. I’ve known for years now that I’m not living the life that my soul or heart of hearts intended. I’m ready to change. I’m ready to live fully. But I have to admit, I’m not seeing my way out of this from here, and all of the conventional ways don’t seem very helpful either. I don’t know what I’m doing. Please show me. I’m willing to listen to you and follow your guidance always.”
I remember it now as if it were yesterday. I then stuck out my right hand and imagined a handshake with God. The deal was sealed.
Father/Mother God has not let me down since I made that commitment. I suppose it’s because I’ve kept my part of the bargain – staying in the moment and listening, having no other gods before me, seeking the highest resonant truth always. I have to say that it’s a challenge to co-develop your own spiritual discipline with your Creator and then stick with it, but so far it’s worked very well for me. I still make mistakes; I still forget the guidance I’ve been given from time to time; fear happens along when I least expect it, but I can honestly say that I am living quite joyfully now.
So in my I-80 reflections into the past with my father, I came upon the now healed and integrated but still memorable feeling of a lifetime of pain around being so very different. In a powerfully present moment with my dad I said, “I know that my lifestyle is very different from yours, dad. I know that this has caused you grief and worry, but I can honestly say now that I am finally accepting of, and truly value myself for being… different.
In that exact moment, I glanced off to the field on my right and there stood two antelope to the left of the scene, just a few feet across from one solitary sheep to the right. They weren’t doing anything really, except just looking at each other. I chuckled at the synchronicity of it and the cosmic humor that I so often experience and enjoy in my life. There were no other sheep or antelope around as far as the eye could see. It wasn’t until miles later that I noticed a herd of sheep closed up in a fenced area off to the right side of the road. I knew that this was where that solitary sheep was ‘supposed’ to be.
Now let’s not try to bring in the usual ‘sheep’ cliches, metaphors or allegories. I don’t see myself as a ‘lost sheep’, nor a ‘black sheep’ as they say. I don’t feel like Jesus is out there looking for me to bring me back to the fold. I’d like to create a new sheep exemplum. (I’d like due credit please for the use of such a big word.) I am like a sheep that just couldn’t be contained. I’m the kind of sheep that likes to get out and commune with the more wild and out-of-the-box type beings because they inspire me and help me to feel good about who I am. More importantly, I learn that it’s OK to not fit into the fenced arena. Could it be that the unconventional sheep I saw was perhaps chatting or even interviewing the antelope? Perhaps this particular sheep has the equivalent of a blog in her community and she’s out acquiring new material to report back to the herd. It isn’t that she’s rejected or dislikes the herd, she just likes to get out and play with the antelope every now and again.
One of my greatest joys is that I have a venue like this in which to share my observations… in hopes of inspiring other sheep to explore the wide open fields and to know that it’s OK to be more, to expand your life outside the fence, and to have an occasional chat with someone who appears to be and live very differently from you. Sometimes we need a little open space to ‘hear’ God, or to see a new path. How can we hear or see something new when all that we we are exposed to is the corral and the corralled sheep?
I feel so blessed in my evolving exploration, communion and partnership with God. I’m so glad that I decided to stick around and make a stronger, more direct connection to my Creator. I have to say that exploring outside the box has proved to be quite rewarding for me. Now all I have to say to you is, find ways to explore outside the realm of what you have been told is true,
and LIVE dammit!
Side note: As I finished typing this today, I looked up at the exact moment of completion to see our car passing a giant trailer, very colorfully painted with sheep grazing on the beautiful countryside. It said, “Utah Wool Growers Association”. I’m chuckling again.