There All Along

There All Along

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I have been a traveler all of my life. I have traveled thousands of miles to have wildlife encounters. I have been to the Amazon where I have seen and heard the rare oropendola, a bird of beautiful color with an unusual song that sounds like it is underwater. It was an unexpected delight to discover that this beautiful bird existed! I have traveled to Africa where I have seen some of the biggest to the smallest animals in the world, including the tiny bush baby, with its large eyes peering at me in the dark from a small tree and the enormous rhino, stomping through the dirt, creating a cloud of dust around itself.

It is the same for me with spiritual experiences. I have traveled thousands of miles to participate in ceremonies with different cultures around the world. I have been blessed by Voodoo Orishis in a Candomblé ceremony in Brazil, sat with medicine people for vision quests in Colombia and been given a bone reading session by a Sangoma mystic in South Africa.

Each time I come home, I am already thinking of where to go for my next adventure. I cannot wait to leave again because I am so charged from the last experience that I am excited to experience something else new. So many times, I have traveled away from home to have these deep experiences. It has been the story of my life for many years now.

Over the years, I have sometimes wondered, why do I have to travel to find this? What if the experience I was seeking could be found right in front of me all along? If I paid closer attention, could I find this nearby more easily?

I recently had a eureka moment. I was in my backyard, listening to a sound that I have heard for many years. It was very close and I had always assumed it was a bird call. When I listened and looked more closely, I was delighted to discover that the sound that I have been hearing all of these years was not a bird at all but was a squirrel! Why had’nt I noticed that before? I began to wonder, what else have I been missing?

It was not until I met a medicine man here in Georgia that it even occurred to me that I could be a part of special ceremonies in the US. He had been living right here in the same city that I grew up in, for as long as I have been here. His community welcomed me in, having been right here in my own town all along!

This led me to thinking about all of the things that I may have missed right in front of me throughout my life journey. I always thought that I had to travel far away to have a unique wildlife encounter or to be in ceremony. How often are we seeking something that can be found in plain sight? If I took the time to notice more of what is happening around me, maybe I would have many more wildlife encounters, more spiritual experiences.

This realization has awakened me to a whole new outlook on how to experience the world. After all of these years, I am realizing that I don’t have to go far at all to discover new things or to have profound spiritual experiences. The medicine person I may have traveled so far to meet, was in my neighborhood all along! A special wildlife encounter can happen in my own back yard! I can explore right around me and have just as enlightening of a spiritual experience, or an exciting wildlife encounter, as if I traveled across the globe to find it.

Today, I am excited to explore more of what is already happening here in my own town, just waiting for me to see it.

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