A Walk in the Woods

By: Donald Calhoun, CM

Monument Builders of North America

Walking through the heavy snow, my breathing was heavy and my mouth dry.  The trees were draped with a glistening thick layer of snow, hanging like tantalizing frosting on a Christmas cupcake. The woods were densely populated with tall white pines, maple and several mighty oak trees.  I was following a single set of footprints. I wondered who they belonged too? I had the intention of this being a peaceful, sacred walk. I wanted to find a greater sense of self. My best friend strongly encourages me to try this deeper meditation crap. To be honest, I sucked at it. My life often seemed like a kaleidoscope of chaotic forces of energy.  Daily, I faced a constant bombardment of drama, trauma and sheer volumes of information. I often felt like my life was akin to being in a blizzard, and I was always navigating in whiteout conditions. The crazy reality was that for the most part, I enjoyed a fast-paced, crazy lifestyle. I had rarely been a dude to sit on the beach, meditate or even pray.  My form of spirituality and serenity was akin to the halftime show at the Super Bowl.  Who knows, I wanted to surprise myself and find peace, tranquility and understanding on this walk.   About a mile into the woods, the path had split.  The footprints lead to the right where there were more rolling hills and thick brush. To the left there was an unexpected, hidden and yet inviting little path.  It was inviting because of a little cross on top of a chapel peaked through the window of the forest, and it was visible off in the distance.  I questioned if I should have taken the path less traveled or follow the footprints?

The writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson jumped into my conscious mind, and I decided I had to go with the path less traveled.  I had always loved the unexpected and the adventures of discovery.  My journey had led me through a few sloughs and even some relatively steep hills.  After about 2 miles, a little stone chapel revealed its historic stone beauty.  The chapel must have been easily over a century old.  I walked quietly up to the front of the chapel and slowly peaked inside.  I said: “Hello God?  Are you in here?”

A rush of warmth had hit my face.  The sun peaked through the clouds and danced its radiance upon my face. I felt that I was no longer alone.  I had walked into a sacred space of souls.  I felt the love of my mother in my heart.  I heard my father saying: “My My Mercy Mercy”.  I felt the emotion of love as a dear friend played the piano. I remember thinking it was odd that a Lutheran played the song: “Mary, have you heard”.  Then there was the horrible smell of my Grandmother’s raisin cookies, that I loathed.  I heard my brother say: “Why be good, when you can be great”.

Do you believe in Heaven?  Can you imagine the souls of centuries surrounding, hugging and embracing you? Our subconscious minds allow us to dream.  Faith tells us it is possible.  We have it with our imagination and belief system to experience the greatest reunion ever experienced.  We can have immense and intense feelings of love, joy and connection that fill our hearts.  Our soul can become radiant and bursting with connection to our spiritual friends and family.

Grief is a necessary and painful part of our earthly journey. Let’s face it, it really sucks to lose someone we love.  When someone we love dies we will never get to manifest their physical being again. We won’t be able hug, touch, smell, feel, laugh, cry, or hold them again.  But guess what, at least for me, they can fully remain alive in our hearts, spirit and soul.  For example, my mother died in 1979, however, I fully believe she is with me in an emotional, intellectual and spiritual way.  I can still honor and celebrate her memory when I incorporate her spirit into my life, act in harmony with her belief system, manifest her teachings and lessons into my life.  I consider it an act of honor, privilege, and conscious choice.

We may not fully understand Heaven.  Faith is the belief in something that is not immediately provable.  However, I can’t imagine a life without faith.  We have to have faith in each other and in God.  Without faith it would be like a meaningless walk in the woods.

Let’s all take a moment to remember those who have impacted our life’s journey.  Remember to Have the Talk of a Life Time with those you love and care about. Thank you for joining me on our walk.  It was so wonderful to share this time together.

By the way, who was the most influential person in your life? Mine was my mommy!

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