During a recent session with my spiritual mentor, I was guided through a meditation. The meditation focused on breathing with the rhythms of the earth and allowing those rhythms to guide me to new places. I found myself relaxed rather quickly, as I listened to my mentor’s voice and focused my breath. My mind cleared after several minutes and much of the meditation evolved into a genuine journey for me.
At the moment I was most released into the earth’s cradling breath, I saw my Grandaddy. He died almost twenty years ago, but he has continued to be a guiding presence in my life. He was a farmer—a quiet, funny and graceful man—always known for his kindness and easy acceptance of others.
I found myself on a dam by the lake in my Grandaddy’s pasture. We used to sit on it and fish when I was a child. On the side of the dam opposite the lake, there is nothing but grass. No trees or cows. Just a little area of seemingly unused land. I realized I had journeyed to the same spot in a meditation several years earlier. In the original meditation, I saw Grandaddy on the grassy side of the dam and he was surrounded by beautiful golden lights. I couldn’t quite make out the place I was seeing. I could almost see it. The blurry image was beautiful, full of hope, celebration and possibility.
During the meditation a few days ago, Grandaddy was there, in the same grassy area. He smiled at me and fervently shook his head up and down as if he had won the lottery. He was saying, emphatically, “Yes!”. I ran to him. We embraced. It was a wonderful homecoming, and I could see his face, perfectly and clearly, just as it was twenty years ago.
In my recently written book, God Is Not a Bully: A Not-So-Churchy Memoir, I describe my Grandaddy as an anti-bully during my teenage years. At the end of the chapter that focuses on my relationship with him, I include a poem that is based on the original meditation described above. The poem is a description of how I commune with him today.
Last night, at a local art event, I read excerpts from my memoir, including stories and my poem about Grandaddy. I only knew seven people in the room of friendly strangers, but as I read the words, I felt Grandaddy’s easy presence. In that moment, the group of listeners present communed with him, too. We journeyed together and added to the communal dance that binds us in grace and unlimited transcendence.
What is your binding cloth? Who connects you to the earth yet lifts you to the sky so that you may journey deep into your heart’s greatest desires? Where will you travel in this season of darkness and hibernation? I wish you openness and richness in quiet moments where the miracle of breathing provides the ultimate stamp on the soul’s passport.
in the lower trunk of a brown and gray tree
vertical corrugated bark
taller than the water tower
I used to pass
on dark trips home from summer stock
light outlines the frame
an upside down U no taller
than a hobbit’s hut
but without straw and melodious morning glories
forest holds me at the bumpy base
where roots are frozen in earth
like the snakes of Pompeii
I raise a chalice glazed with a potter’s scraps
the sky before
like yeast suds on beer wort ventilates
reveals pure liquid blueness
brighter than astringent mouthwash
every bird and flying thing emerges
grander than any firework display
rivals even the most elaborate drag show
the noisy little door leaks
a thread of its tune throbbing in the trunk
homecoming for the class of ever-presents
victorious win for all the mascots
summoning to raise the rafters
whether we sit at the root in earthly body
or raise a glass in the inner wall
where the jig is danced