“Sometimes when we pray for guidance, we are guided in unexpected directions. We may want a lofty answer and we get the intuition to clean our bedroom. It can seem so humble and picky that you don’t necessarily think of it as spiritual guidance.”
I just came across this picture (above) a few minutes ago and it immediately resonated with me because it feels like this is my life right now. I am on a path and I don’t know where it is going. I cannot see too far ahead. All I know is that the path right in front of me is lit up and I know that it is Laureen who is lighting up my path for me. And so this is the perfect image of that. I am that young boy again, feeling lost, feeling scared, sensing the uncertainty and the continual change and not knowing where my future may bring me.
But there is also something different this time. While I am that young boy in spirit, and in fact, I am also the man that this young boy has become and I have now accumulated some fifty years plus of experience with at least half of that time devoted singularly to the spiritual evolution and salvation of my soul. So while there is still some fear and trepidation, and heaps of sorrow, wrapped up into that little red bag that I carry over my shoulder, there is also the wisp of a dawning of wisdom and the burgeoning understanding that it is necessary to Trust in the journey and to have Faith that there is a purpose in all of this.
And thus, as to this moment, I am freshly arrived back to my journal from my Saturday morning meditation. The theme of this morning’s meditation was “Faith” which seemed quite fitting to me. The other night, when I drew my next set of three Lakota Sweat Lodge cards, on the night of the full moon, the first card I pulled was Tunkasila Oniwan (Grandfather’s Breath) and the underlying theme of this card was Faith! This was my first three-card draw since last October.
Now when I did my three-card draw last October I also did a little background work with these cards. I had started doing three-card draws many months earlier, for no real reason other than my intention was that these draws (draw being the selection of the cards from the deck) would have a longer duration message – like something that I needed to work on for a while in order to promote my emotional healing and spiritual growth. So then, when I was preparing to do my last three-card draw I discovered that the three-card draw was actually one of the types of draws recommended by the accompanying book and was in fact called the Inipi spread.
Here is what the book had to say about this particular spread:
The Inipi spread offers a path of purification and healing (much like the sweat lodge itself). It is a quick and effective way to identify what must be addressed and resolved to bring you back to wholeness, and it offers guidance to do so.
So then, each card that you draw in the Inipi spread has a particular meaning or focus. In this case :
CARD #1 – This card represents that which requires healing. The card you selected will speak to you of imbalance: There is either too much or too little expression of this quality in your life.
And the Tunkasila Oniwan card, which was the first card I drew the other night, is described thusly:
Grandfather’s Breath is the very breath of life. Water and heat combine in Grandfather’s Breath, and your prayers are invisibly carried with the steam. Faith is the ability to trust, proof unseen. It is the forerunner of brighter days and releases the soul from anxiety, stress, and turmoil. Faith that your prayers will be heard lightens your burdens, establishes a serene outlook, and allows for optimism.
Believe that you are enveloped in safety. Since we do not always have the steam of the Sweat Lodge, you may wish to burn sage or tobacco as you pray, trusting that the smoke produced will carry your prayers to Wakan Tanka.
I can only say that this was a very powerful card for me on many levels. Upon reading the meaning of this card, and immediately discerning some of its relevance in my own life, I did take the time to sit with my medicine wheel and meditate and pray. I have not been doing either with any regularity as of late and it was a good thing to do. It felt cleansing and I realized that it is something that I really need to be doing on a regular basis. It is a kind of cleansing and a letting go of the stuff that builds up inside of you and I guess I had more stuff built up then I realized.
Over the past few weeks I have been focused on the many anniversaries that this time of the year holds for me. I can remember so many of them so clearly, like they were only yesterday. It was January 23rd that Laureen was placed with hospice. January 31st that she had the MRI that detected the cancer. January 21st – her last run into the hospital for a three-day stay, February 1st – the day we learned that Laureen had cancer, and today of course – February 7th – our second wedding anniversary!
We were married six days after being told that Laureen had a large tumor in her liver. What a bittersweet day that day was. But it was also the culmination of my dream of marrying the woman who meant the world to me, and more, and knowing how uncertain our future was. I can appreciate now that sometimes it is better not to know what the future holds. Had we known the path we were to trod, we might not have summoned the courage to do so. Instead, in our blind faith, we simply took it one day at a time, one moment at a time, and somehow we created moments that are worth remembering, moments that were filled with smiles and laughter, family and friends, because we did not know where our path would take us. All we had was each moment, and each other.
And now, I am on a different path, although it is the same path. My path did not deviate when I met Laureen. Our paths simply grew together because we were already heading in the same direction. And even though the earthly aspect of her path is no more, I do know that she walks it with me still, lighting my way as I trudge through the forest of my sorrow, adhering to the only mantra I know – keep walking and keep breathing. Keep moving forward and have Faith that the way before you will be lit and that it will all unfold for the highest good of our spirits. Trust that there will, once again, be joy and happiness and laughter in your life for that is the path that I am lighting for you.
~ AHO ~