Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Landscape of Memory

Snake River

The spiritual terrain of memory* 
is filtered with golden light.

Its landscape is a vast brown desert
halved by a river, with voices singing
in a boat out of sight around a bend.
They are coming to meet us
as we walk this unfamiliar passage
on our way towards the welcoming sky.
Beings appear on either side,
to accompany us and light the way.
They are kind, very kind, some in brown robes,
some in light-filled wrappings, incandescent.

I am dreaming, now.
Can you tell me, am I dreaming?

As we walk, moments from our lives
flash before us, and we re-live each one,
but quickly, as swiftly as thought,
each moment full of the emotions 
felt, not only by us, all our lives,
but the others around us as well.
This is what pains us, to see from all sides
what, until now, we saw only one way.
An overwhelming sensation, like a tap pouring
enough memories through us to drown us,
as we accept yet fight against the drowning.

We realize how much of the time 
we were living unconscious.
This hurts.
We realize how much time
we wasted complaining,
instead of being grateful.
This stings.
But the guides are gentle. They say,
"Even then, you were beloved,
even then, you were learning."

We have never
felt so loved.

The paddlers slow their chant, to give us time
to recover from the seeing of our lives -
what our being here meant, to us, and to others.
Then they arrive around the bend,
the spirit guides.
They are all kind and smiling,
and they beckon us closer.
It seems we have a choice.
We can step into the boat,
or we can shake our heads and return,
follow our footsteps 
back across the desert
to our left-behind lives.

Only, if we return,
we will be much more aware than before
of how every single word, smile,
moment and thought,
impacts the entire world around us.
Each of our words, then,
each of our moments,
will be blessed.

* "the spiritual terrain of memory" is a phrase borrowed from Alan Dienstag. It seems this led me to describing a near-death experience. My grandma actually told me this story of her friend's return from a coma, when she hovered between life and death, several decades ago. She found herself  crossing a desert landscape, hearing people singing in a boat around a bend. When it arrived, the woman was told she still had work to do, and she came back to life.

In my readings on NDE's, they say our life review lets us know how each experience impacted not only us, but the people around us. This is what must bring pain, as we see the effect our unthinking words and actions had on others. But they say it is not to punish us, it is for our soul's  learning.

Anyone interested in Alzheimer's, or whose family is impacted by the disease, will find Alan Dienstag's article (click on the link) very interesting. 


  1. Very deep and true thoughts. Most of the time we are living in ignorance and saying words we might think are right but they might hurt others and this is what we have to learn, to be compassionate towards others and be careful as what to say.

  2. Oh, so much to think creates a huge ripple in the pond of life~ I love your ending..if only~ Another chance-perhaps tomorrow is one of those! Thank-you, Sherry!!

  3. this reminds me of Rumi, somehow ~


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