Sign From The Spirit
Most people go to coffee shops to either drink coffee or work or both. That was my intention last Monday when I walked into Little Bear on Central Avenue in Albuquerque, NM.
I however, was seeking green tea, since I’m not much of a coffee drinker, and I wanted to open the laptop to write.
All the seats were taken by workers and small groups chatting over coffee. No place felt comfortable, until I turned a corner where two couches formed an “L” against a quiet corner. One couch was occupied by an older man drinking a bottle of cream soda.
We made eye contact—an inquiry of origin—and when I asked if I might sit opposite him in the quiet space, he simply nodded. When I set my mug of matcha on the coffee table, he said, “What’s that?”
“Green tea,” I said.
He nodded again, then what transpired over the next two hours was something magical: two strangers from two different walks of life diving into the philosophical, cultural, political, and spiritual.
My friend shared that he was a Dene Navajo man in between homes. His wife had passed several months before and he was staying at his son’s house while looking for work.
I shared with him who I am: New Mexico-born of mixed Mexican, Spanish, and English descent now living on the West Coast, visiting my home state to take a class on curanderismo.
He shared that he remembered the medicine men coming to his hogan when he was young to either heal the sick or cast away a bad spirit.
He shared his thoughts about the constant struggle Native Americans still endure living in the United States, where their people have been set up to fail at every turn.
He shared honestly how his people referred to my people, both the “dusty” Mexicans always marching somewhere, and the Europeans who—with a hooking inward sweep of his arm—took everything in their path.
I acknowledged and honored his words. I apologized for thousands of years of subjugation by sharing my intentions to return to my roots and heal myself and my community spiritually, and how I use my art of writing as my voice.
As we wandered back into the spiritual, he said every morning, I should face the east and ask for guidance from the spirit because I had never experienced that day before. He said every day I’ll receive a sign from the spirit.
I said I had to leave and catch the bus back to my aunt’s house, to which he offered me a ride. I accepted and we listened to tribal radio on the way. I gave him gas money and a bag of cashews I had in my bag. He gave me a dried cactus skeleton and suggested I clean it up and paint it.
I don’t know if I’ll see my friend again. Maybe if the universe sets us in the same place at the same time. I hope so, because his candid words and honest smile were exactly what the universe was trying to send me. My new friend was my guide that day, sent by the spirit.