Thursday, September 25, 2008

Reach for the Stars...and Touch Them

With all there is
Why settle for just a piece of sky?
~ from the score of Yentl, Lyrics by Alan & Marilyn Bergman

Thursday, Sept. 25 ~ Albuquerque, New Mexico

I'm walking on a nature trail in Albuquerque's Sandia Mountain foothills, the late-day sun gilding the granite outcroppings and illuminating the sage, cactus and juniper.

This is one of my final farewell walks in a landscape that has so nurtured and inspired me.

You see, in five days I will be gone from here, launched yet again on an open-ended, Spirit-directed odyssey into the unknown and unimagined -- my third such journey of faith in the past 11 years.

My first, in 1997, opened me to marriage, parenthood and life in a new country. The second, which spanned 30 months and was sparked by the end of that marriage, led to my two books and CD and kindled for me a more empowered professionalism. Both journeys pushed and expanded me, challenging me to surrender more fully to the divine imperative that directs and prospers me -- when I let it.

In each case, I knew nothing of what lay head. I simply stepped off the cliff of my certainty and into the void from which all creation emerges.

Was I afraid? Sometimes.

Did I allow that fear to stand in my way? Rarely, and never for long.

As I think ahead to what's next, this lyric from Osibisa's song "Woyaya" plays in my head:

We are going
Heaven knows where we are going
We'll know we're there
We will get there
Heaven knows how we will get there
We know we will

I'm also reminded of the scene in The MoonQuest where Toshar and his three companions must step through an opening that will carry them "beyond the end of the known world."

Dense smoke chokes them where they stand as the jungle through which they have trekked burns up. There is no way back.

The only way is forward -- into the unknown, with its challenges and opportunities. With its secrets and mysteries. With gifts more wondrous and miracle-filled than any they could imagine.

When I left Toronto in 1997, the only direction I had from my GPS (God Positioning System) was to head west. Ultimately, it landed me in a new life in Sedona, Arizona.

When I left Sedona seven years and a Hawaii sojourn later, my GPS also sent me west -- at first. In the many months of cross-country travel that followed, I always managed to find my way back to the New Mexico that has been my full-time home for the past year.

Now, as I prepare to leave Albuquerque, my divine compass points eastward, directing me to the McDonald Observatory near Fort Davis, Texas.

I've felt pulled toward the home of National Public Radio's StarDate since August, when I knew I would be returning to the road.

It was a mystifying pull because, as stunning as is the observatory's setting and as fascinating as is its planetarium show, I've been there -- twice -- and never experienced any life-altering epiphanies.

At a conscious level, at least, it was a fun place to visit. Nothing more.

Yet if I've learned anything through my years of personal and spiritual growth, it's the importance of surrendering to the highest imperative I can access in any given moment. (There's a reason why the word "surrender" appears 67 times in The Voice of the Muse!) Like Toshar and his friends, I too must surrender to whatever lies beyond the end of my known world and be open to all the wonders that await me on the other side.

And so, if that highest imperative is sending me back to southwest Texas, I'll go -- whatever it means.

I've asked what it means countless times in recent weeks. Today, on my Sandia walk, I ask again.

For the first time, I hear an answer: "To remind you to reach for the stars."

Now, as I write these words, that same inner voice adds: "Reach for the stars...and touch them."

We all need reminders to reach for the stars, that potent metaphor for our highest, most divine potential. In these challenging, turbulent times, we also need to be reminded that those stars are not beyond our grasp. We can touch them. All it takes is a hand, outstretched to the infinite...the infinite we already are.

Photos by Mark David Gerson: #1 Sandia Foothills, Albuquerque, NM; #2 From the McDonald Observatory, near Fort Davis, TX


Anonymous said...

Always enjoy your musings, Mark. Will you write a memoir one day? Or have you already and I just don't know of it yet?

Mark David Gerson said...

Thanks, Marvin. Haven't written a memoir yet (not sure I have enough perspective!), but I have considered compiling/adapting many of these blog posts/essays into some sort of a book.

Lots of stuff to think about while I'm driving back and forth across the country...again!

Debra Oakland said...

Mark, it is so great to see you follow your heart. It will never steer you in the wrong direction. Every journey along the path of life is significant to our unfolding self. I wish you great miracles and manifestations on this new quest.

Debra Oakland

motherwort said...

I guess now I know the first stop. Safe journey and thanks as always for sharing your process. The particulars may be different but the essentials - trust, reaching for the stars, etc. - are something all of us need reminder of.

LizG said...

Very inspiring post, Mark David. I've been getting used to surrendering only in the past couple of years. It's led to some interesting (some would say crazy) directions (cooking school!?...) But I still remind myself everyday that's it's all happening for a reason. As Henry Miller said: “Confusion is simply a word we have invented for an order that is not yet understood.”

Cheers and happy trails!

Adria said...

Mark David, I got the feeling when I was reading your post today ( and by the way, I have no clue how I found your blog, but I assume I did indeed sign up for the email) that you are on the right path. When I think of "touching stars" for me, that would mean going to Hollywood...... I am sure that is the "last place" some people would want to end up (not everyone is into fame or hype) but what I like about the thought myself is that when I "touch" someone whose influence reaches far and wide, my work becomes a part of their work which goes out into the rest of the world. :)

Anonymous said...

I'm thinking of moving to New Mexico, most probably Albuquerque. As I read your comments about New Mexico it seems I'm in the right direction.
Could you (or any reader) offer me some orientation on how to find out more about thecity and what it offers? I don't trust Real State agents because they'll be bias in the information.
I just want to get a feel from a local (I've done enough internet research) on the good, the bad, and the ugly of what I may expect in Albuquerque and or Santa Fe.
God bless you in your journey.