Today I met two friends at the Cahokia Mounds, it is a very sacred and spiritual place if you are ever near St. Louis, MO I strongly encourage you to visit Cahokia Mounds it is a prehistoric civilization that built over 200 mounds and existed from 700 to 1200 A.D. I have found myself drawn to the mounds at certain key points in my life, I believe it is my native ancestors reaching out to me and calling me to a sacred place for guidance. I found out later in life that I am a descendant of the Seneca tribe. I was not told of my heritage due to fear and prejudice, but my spirit guides and the voices of my ancestors do not recognize such things and somehow I knew. I humbly embrace the wisdom of those before me and my creator.
So as we walked the steps largest mound, Monks Mound, we watched sunrise and I meditated at the top respectfully asking for guidance and giving thanks for all the blessings I have received. As I walked the trail at the top of the mound I noticed the trail is not a circle, instead you take detours off the main trail to reach the edges of the mound, and then you must go back the way you came to get on the main trail. I found this way to be very interesting because at this point in my life I find myself backtracking to where I was before.
Not in the sense of reliving the past but seeing people from my past, and engaging in major undertakings I have done before, but with the knowledge and understanding that I have now. And while I am walking back on the same trail, I am seeing it with new eyes and a new heart. As an example I was back in my home town for my 30th high school reunion, I have a slight confession here, I did not actually graduated from the school whose reunion I attended, I know that sounds odd and it is, so I will explain. I went to the catholic grade school, middle school and one year of the catholic high school and then transferred to the public high school where I actually graduated. So the people who graduated from catholic school, many of them, I have known since I was 7 years old.
crashed attended their 20th reunion through happenstance I was in town that weekend and one of my dear friends invited me to come to their party and I had a great time. Since I attended the 20 year reunion I was automatically included in the 30 year invitation list. One of my friends actually thought I graduated with them, he was the class troublemaker, who I did then and still now adore, and he was too busy to notice such pesky details. The only difference between then and now is this new fangled invention we call Facebook, and the reunion was organized and planned on Facebook. Well, because I have FB friends from both my catholic school days and my public school days there was a bit of controversy that I was attending my “pseudo” reunion and not my actual reunion. It was actually pretty funny seeing the dialog between two particular people one from my catholic HS and one from my public HS having a spirited debate about this controversial move on my part. It was all done in fun and provided entertainment for me and all my FB friends.
I thought about why I was more motivated to go to the catholic HS reunion, and not my public school reunion. I think it is the sense of community I have with my catholic school mates, our families knew each other, and many of them stay in contact. I have very good friends from my public HS days but most of the crew I hung out with were not planning on coming back for the reunion and we all have not maintained our community.
So going back to my reunion was really interesting. I have friends that I love and have very fond memories of our antics growing up. In the same vein, and I am sure I am not alone out there in this perception, but, I really did not feel like our family fit in, particularly at catholic school, my parents were catholic but did not attend church regularly, we only had two kids in our brood, which was subpar to say the least in catholic family standards. We had no money so it was always a struggle for us to afford anything let alone attend private school. I remember being in awe of some of the families and the homes they lived in and the things they got to do. My parents were always fighting about money there was never enough and it caused a great deal of stress in our household. I remember pledging to myself that when I grew up I would make sure I did not have to worry about money. Which is so funny; “ok, that’s it, you just make a pledge and poof a money tree sprouts up in your front yard.” Not really but work with me here that is what my adolescent brain concocted. So there was this perception, and it was my perception not anyone else’s reality, that we did not stack up to many of the other families. I could compartmentalize those feelings though and I cannot remember it ever affecting my friendships but it was there, nonetheless.
I remember though that feeling of being a little less than everyone else really influencing how I set the goals in my life. I did not want to worry about money and I did not want to feel inferior. I decided I had to work harder than anyone else and educate myself so I could reach that goal. And I really went after it with a laser-like focus and in many respects put blinders on to the world around me.
The work harder than anyone else was my mantra, who I was, I would tell myself, I may not be the smartest person in the room but I can work circles around anyone here. Anyone who knew me during that time in my life has heard that statement come from my lips many times. I was often referred to as the “Type A” personality. I tend to be very hard on myself so I don’t want to beat myself up too much about this, because it was a necessary part of my journey. But I do laugh at myself when I look back, and I do not believe anyone who has met me in the last two years would use “Type A” to describe me now. I was this rat on a wheel and I could spin that wheel faster than anyone else. I know that I needed to go through that to get where I am now, as in the famous poem by Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken, so poignantly points out, “Yet knowing how way leads on to way I doubted if I should ever come back,.” That way led to this way and I doubt I shall ever come back to that way of thinking.
So that brings me back to today and noticing that way does lead on to way from the perspective of a lifetime, but segments of that journey require us to go back over paths previously traveled before we continue on the main trail. Maybe it’s to teach me how perceptions are like mirages in the desert they fade and change, maybe it’s for closure to a way of thinking that no longer serves me, perhaps both.
As I visited and played and had fun with all my pals from my childhood, I was able to be with these marvelous people and personalities as me. I have peeled back the layers and baggage I collected after my carefree childhood days and I am closer now to who they knew, and even better, without a feeling inferiority, and without pride, I was humbly and fully present.
So it seems so fitting that as I feel I am as me as I have ever been since my spirit took this residence in this human form, that I got to go back and play with my old buddies from school.
“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” – Dr. Suess