Imagine a moment of wonder. I’ll now introduce my friend, Reverend Patrick McCollum, a Wiccan Priest, an internationally recognized spiritual leader, and the 2010 recipient of the Mahatma Gandhi Award for the Advancement of Religious Pluralism.
Below, Rev. Patrick shares with us his current experiences. Imagine a moment when you know your life is on the line and you know that you’re really feeling alive . . .
Reverend Patrick wrote:
“Life is full of amazing experiences. But it is what we make of those moments rather than just the experiences themselves that really count.
I am having one of those special moments myself. I thought I would share it with you—and how it is playing out for me.
The water for my home comes from a tiny mountain spring in a small canyon on my property. I live in the woods in Northern California, and the canyon is heavily wooded with a small trail that leads to the spring. In order to keep my water tank full, I have to periodically walk up there to start my pump.
There is also a tiny rivulet of water that trickles out of the spring.
Starting several weeks ago as I was working my way up to start the pump, I felt a presence sometimes when I would walk to the spring. It was as though something was watching me. I didn’t know what it was, but my senses told me it was important to be aware.
I have long tried to live a life that is in harmony with nature, and in doing so I have come to recognize the beauty of it—and I tried my best not to fear it.
In any case, it turns out that a mountain lion is currently gracing this lovely trail near my spring. The lion has been present several times in the last two weeks.
At first, I moved with great concern every time I had to go to the pump. Many thoughts ran through my mind as to what to do about the lion. It is clear to me that this big cat could easily kill me if it chose to do so. It is incredibly fast and tremendously strong. But then as I went to start my pump a couple of days ago, I realized that the cat and I were there for the same purpose … To get the water, which we both need to live.
Now that California is in a long drought, it is likely that the lion’s regular water sources have dried up. And it has no choice but to come to my spring.
And so, I made the decision to set aside my fears and to choose instead to see the lion as a kindred spirit, from a different tribe sharing a joint experience with me.
In my work, I teach across the world that all of creation is sacred and that we must first see the sacred in the other before we judge our neighbors. It is my fundamental touchstone toward achieving peace in the world. If I cannot learn to see the sacredness of the lion before I move to the place of fearing it, I would be all talk and all of my work would be disingenuous. And so I made the conscious choice to walk my talk.
Now when I go to the spring, I approach by softly calling out to the lion and letting him know that we are both in this venture together. I share with him that I am not there to harm him and that I see the sacredness in him—and that I am hopeful that my small spring is meeting his needs.
One can never know another’s thoughts. But we can observe another’s actions to determine where they stand.
So far, the lion gives me space to get the water I need, and I give him the same. There is a sense of wonder in all of this. If nothing else, the perception of danger between us has been tangibly reduced.
It is not that the lion isn’t dangerous. He can be very dangerous if he chooses to be so. But then so can I, and I often forget that!
It is clear to me that the lion is likely accessing his relationship to me in exactly the same way that I am accessing my relationship to him. And in recognizing our similarities, our differences are becoming more distant for each of us.
It is my hope that the lion and I demonstrate the possibilities for peace and understanding between different peoples and cultures.
It isn’t that everything is perfect, and I am not expecting the lion to eventually come down and sing Kumbaya with me. But it is possible that, through seeing the sacred in the other and recognizing our commonalities, we can generate respect for one another and share common ground—no matter how truly different we are from one another!
Let us see beauty in one another as we come together. And let us find ways to set fear aside to make room for hope and understanding.
Blessings to all,
Rev. Patrick McCollum of http://www.patrickmccollum.org/
It’s easy for many of us to say, “Well, that may work for him, but I’m not having peak moments in my life.”
Still, doing ritual or a meditation can bring us in connection with the Goddess.
Take a step forward.
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