My entry into public high school was difficult. It was a huge culture shock coming from an extremely conservative, sheltered, no-TV, limited-access-to-mainstream-culture background, to a rough (yes: gangs, drugs, weapons, violence…all the things), racially diverse (white, black, hispanic, asian, and significant immigrant populations especially from North Africa and Southeast Asia), economically disadvantaged public high school. To say I didn’t fit in would be an understatement.
My refuge was the public library near my home. There was a table in a quiet back corner of the library where I would often go to just rest, read and escape the crazy-making, depressing world outside. I looked for answers to my own problems. I was painfully aware that responding to my circumstances in an emotional knee-jerk way would only lead to bigger problems. I didn’t want the life or circumstances of anyone I knew or saw around me. I had no role models for who I wanted to be when I grew up, but it became clear to me that the only way out was in. I started reading books on human consciousness, meditation, metaphysics and the human potential movement of the 70’s and 80’s. I had only very limited options in terms of what I could influence in my outside environment. My only real options were understanding myself and making the very best choices I could.
Around this time I found and devoured the book Going Within, by Shirley MacLaine. I did all the exercises and poured over every page. It was a major gateway on my path. This book stands out in particular although I read many others as well. I developed a serious meditation practice which helped greatly with my mental health and general stability.
I had to keep most of these books and what I was learning secret from my family because of their extreme reactions when I shared any ideas potentially threatening to their conservative Christian world-view. I would read at the library, or sneak books into my bedroom by slipping them down the front of my jeans and under my baggy shirt or jacket. Many times I would check out innocuous books in addition to what I was really interested in so that if/when my backpack got searched these would act as a decoy. I hid books on meditation and metaphysics under my mattress and read them quietly, very late at night after everyone else was asleep.
Around this time I read Barbara Bowers book, What Color is Your Aura, and I took the handy quiz included with the book. It identified me as having an Indigo aura, which surprised me, but the description fit. This book was notable for being one of the first to put forward the idea of Indigo Children (and actually use that term). About 10 – 15 years after this book was published, the concept gained a lot more traction in public consciousness.
During this time period I discovered many books that either immediately shifted my path or that would prove influential later in my life. Many times I would get a certain sense to go to a particular part of the library or a particular bookstore and I had the sense that I was being literally guided to particular books. I remember finding a paperback edition of The Book of the Hopi in a thrift store. I had never heard of it before and would only later discover that it is classic, but I remember being drawn to the thrift store, wandering around knowing there was something I was supposed to find, going over to the book section and my eyes falling on that book, then the internal click of knowing that this is what I had been drawn there to find. I can think of similar stories where this or a similar process happened with many other books, items, people and experiences that have helped shape my life.
Have you ever experienced a “spidey sense”, intuition, or gut reaction that nudged you in the right direction?
Practice tuning in and paying attention to this intuition during your daily life. For example when driving, pay attention if you feel called to go a different way than normal. Try it out. See what happens. Maybe it will guide you toward something you otherwise may have missed? Or perhaps to avoid an accident or unusual traffic. Pay attention and be open to what the Universe may be trying to show you. Of course you can’t always know if a hunch is for a particular reason, and it can be hard sometimes to tell the difference between genuine intuitive guidance verses whim, but by paying attention and practicing over time it will help you hone this skill. Learning to quiet your own mind, as in meditation, helps enormously in this process!
I am committed to writing a book over the next several months. To help keep me on track and accountable, I am publicly committing to posting content chunks here on the blog each Friday. These chunks of writing won’t be perfect and they will go through further editing before the book is ready for publication. Your constructive comments and feedback are always welcome!