Life in Six Brief Moments
by Neva J. Howell
What it all comes down to is Spirit
My entire life could be defined by six brief moments.
The first was when I was four years old and involved abuse and incest that left me with severe emotional wounds and mental splintering. The second moment, 28 years later, occurred on a healing table. I remembered the abuse and began the arduous journey of reclaiming myself and my Spirit.
After these two moments, there followed three crystaline, transformative moments of spiritual baptism so profound that I have never found words to describe them. The first at the base of the Sun Dance Tree, the second at the base of the Sun Moon Dance Tree and the third when a specific Ceremonial Pipe touched my hands.
And finally, the sixth defining moment of my life so far was when the spiritual marriage to my soulmate ended in 2001.
I am astounded at how long the pain of that first moment and that last moment permeated and lasted through time and also how alike the two moments were, in terms of how utterly decimated I was by them both.
As surprised as I am at the full circle similarity of two events divided by decades, I am equally astounded by how quickly the other moments — the moments of potent undeniable spirit connection, faded.
It is as if my entire life has been spent standing in front of a large, gray, metal door, spanning so far on either side that the door is all I can see, even in peripheral vision. I could not back up from the door although I repeatedly went off to one side or the other with destructive habits over the years. Each time I again looked up, there the door stood as if I never moved, or as if it moved with me.
Life has meant asking repeatedly “is that all there is?” while knowing there was more, there, behind that door, at which I did not ever knock uponbecause I intuitively knew it would not open to knocks but to an infusion of Grace. That Grace came at the Sun Dance Tree, and the Sun Moon Dance Tree. It came once more when I held the Pipe.
50 years of waiting in front of the door and then, four brief moments of grace. Why? How? I don’t know. All I know is the massive cold door slid open wide and then seemed to dissolve for a precious time.
Four times in this lifetime so far, I’ve found myself on the precipice of another world, felt it in my bone marrow and in my breath. I’ve found myself, again, at my spiritual home.
Then the door, as inexplicably as it had opened, closed again … only … there was a deep difference in me.
Before, I had only suspected and hoped there was something worth waiting for on the other side. After these moments, I knew.
Every moment of every day, I know what is behind the door of this reality and it is so splendid that I long fir it with every breath, even while know it is already here.
There have been many other touches of grace since then and I’ve seldom felt completely disconnected from the reality glimpsed thru grace.
It’s been enough to keep me carrying that water and chopping that wood. Yet, the tasks of life on earth are getting more and more challenging for me each day.
I want the door between worlds to fling open and stay open. I want to live in that space between the things that confuse me into believing that what can be seen, felt, tasted, touched and heard is reality.
I know I came to bring home here, not go back wherever “there” is.
I thought for a time that the way back to that grace for me was thru Native-American teachings and ceremony. After all, that was the avenue thru which 3 of the most profound moments of my life found me.
Yet, my Spirit was conflicted by the knowing that so much of that path, the Native-American path, involved such hard mastery, physically and mentally. Something in me, from the beginning, felt that the physical challenges of Sun Dance, Sweat Lodge, Vision Quest and even Moon Lodge were sustaining a vibration of spiritual mastery having to be this arduous physical test.
Of course, that vibration wasn’t new to me. Fundamental Christianity holds that frequency in place on the planet as well. I grew up with my Grandmother reminding me, by her words as well as her life, that this world is a place of suffering, trials and tribulations but that, if you hold fast to your faith, treasures are laid up in heaven.
In a way, these powerful spiritual influences (one coming early in life and other later in adulthood) both conditioned me to expect only to see a glimpse of the other side.
Yet, something in my soul knows that I came to bring heaven here, not just to glimpse it a few times and long for it the rest of this human incarnation. How? I don’t know.
What I know is that self-sacrifice, being tested, suffering for my faith and arduous physical beating down of the go is not the way for me now, though it may have been a necessary step.
Somehow, I recognize that as long as I old onto one shread of structured, polarized “this is how it’s done” thinking, I freeze myself and my access to Grace.
Somehow, there is a way to be in the world but not of it. To walk in 2 worlds where heaven is just as real as this third dimensional hologram and having this human experience no longer means losing the other world, the true reality.