A Hopi Elder Speaks
“You have been telling the people that this is the Eleventh Hour, now you must go back and tell the people that this is the Hour. And there are things to be considered . . .
Where are you living?
What are you doing?
What are your relationships?
Are you in right relation?
Where is your water?
Know your garden.
It is time to speak your Truth.
Create your community.
Be good to each other.
And do not look outside yourself for the leader.”
Then he clasped his hands together, smiled, and said, “This could be a good time!”
“There is a river flowing now very fast. It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid. They will try to hold on to the shore. They will feel they are torn apart and will suffer greatly.
“Know the river has its destination. The elders say we must let go of the shore, push off into the middle of the river, keep our eyes open, and our heads above water. And I say, see who is in there with you and celebrate. At this time in history, we are to take nothing personally, Least of all ourselves. For the moment that we do, our spiritual growth and journey comes to a halt.
“The time for the lone wolf is over. Gather yourselves! Banish the word struggle from you attitude and your vocabulary. All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration.
“We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.”
-attributed to an unnamed Hopi elder, Hopi Nation
Driving into Monticello, Utah after having been at Hovenweep for two days was like an assault on my senses. Hovenweep was a mystical place, devoid of obnoxious noise and city lights. The Milky Way and shooting stars painted the night sky, displaying the vastness of the universe. The only audible noise was the gentle breath of the wind against the canyon walls and the swoosh of wings from birds above. It was the closest I have come to peacefulness this entire trip.
The clouds rose every afternoon as if fluffy cotton balls shooting forth from the mesa. Monsoon rains could be seen approaching miles away and in one instance were escorted by a rainbow giving spectacular color to the tumultuous weather. An unexpected electrical storm the first night lite up the entire mesa revealing secrets in the blackness of night. With the ruins close by, any separateness I had felt from others disappeared and was replaced with an embodied lightness felt deeply within.
As my time in Hovenweep began to near completion, the outside world began to knock at my door. It began as a gentle knock with a few emails and phone calls and progressed to a young child’s temper tantrum with escalating business issues disturbing my peace. The only safe space remaining was outside. I could walk the campground next to the ruins, look at the dynamic sky and regain peacefulness if only for a few moments.
“We will be known forever by the tracks we leave.” – Dakota
Upon arriving in Monticello to attend to some much-needed RV housekeeping, I felt the jolt of the unwanted all too quickly. Not only was I back in Utah, the home of some unfortunate memories, but the RV park was right next to the only road through town with constant traffic. The icing on the cake was a dog barking all night. Yes, Monticello felt like the Van Nuys of Utah.
Staring at the map and considering possibilities, I was struck with a feeling of anxious awareness. I have been wandering for the past two months and feel more lost than ever. I certainly have experienced a good number of enlightened moments, but these in no way have given breathe and depth to a greater awareness. What is left is a lingering feeling of being completely lost.
I am not naive enough to believe one trip will produce revelations powerful enough to change my life in drastice ways, but I guess I was expecting something more tangible. I can’t help but think of what my life will be like when I return to Southern California. I had planned to stay in an RV park for six months or so while figuring out the where and what of my next chapter. Now the thought of living shoulder to shoulder with other travelers is not appealing. I need space to breathe, space to ponder and space to just be. National Parks have been ideal for this type of contemplation but are not a long-term solution when considering my current work life.
The question becomes, how does one extend the glow of open space and fresh air and insert this feeling into a constrictive office space with four walls. I am lost as to how I will proceed. Juxtapose this against other personal challenges, and all I see is confusion, gray where I had hoped there would be vivid colors.
Maybe it is within my wandering ideals that I have missed the mark. No matter what natural beauty is approached, I still must find the beauty and calm within myself. No amount of external prodding will assist me in this task. As the Hopi elder states, I must let go of the shore and keep my head above the water. I thought I had already let go simply by releasing my material hold on the world but have now realized letting go involves so many layers of self. I am in the middle of the river with eyes open, yet still struggling to swim.
My work now is to face this transition with an open mind and heart without giving in to a persistent inclination to withdraw further into solitude. As the Hopi elder says so well, “we are to take nothing personally, Least of all ourselves. For the moment that we do, our spiritual growth and journey comes to a halt.” While I still require a fair amount of quiet, I cannot remain isolated forever. My walk in the woods has always been a temporary proposition. This too shall end. It is so important that I see this end as a beginning and find joy in all that a beginning allows.
I offer the possibility that we are all wandering home in our own way. It is a slow and tedious stroll that requires patience, resilience and compassion. I miss home so very much, this place I cannot define but know exists. This world is so harsh on the senses and so ugly at times, a difficult place for a sensitive spirit such as myself.
I suppose accepting the wandering and confusion is just a part of the package when living out a life contract. When my journey reaches an end as it will, I hope to finally understand. Then and only then will I be able to say with confidence, I was always right where I needed to be.