I was always a quirky kid. Unlike most, I asked off-the-wall, out-of-the-box questions. I was never bored, always fascinated with what made people tick and what made the world spin on its axis. Sci-fi was my favorite television genre, with a steady flow of Twilight Zone, Outer Limits, Lost in Space, Land of the Giants, Time Tunnel and Star Trek beaming into our suburban New Jersey home. No wonder I told my parents that I was “an alien baby left on their doorstep.” I seriously think they believed me.
I recall an experience of lying on the sweet summer grass in a friend’s backyard before the age of 12. I had my hands tucked behind my head and was gazing up at the cloud-scattered cerulean sky. I noticed movement and wondered whether it was the clouds, the earth or the dome of the sky that was twirling about in the heavens.
Not sure if I mentioned that observation to anyone, since on some level, I sensed that I would be looked at like a bug under a microscope. There were times when I wasn’t as circumspect and the reaction was less that accepting. The adults would laugh and smile and would use the word “precocious” to describe me. My peers would just roll their eyes in a bit of a deprecating way and tell me I was weird.
In the interceding decades, I have attracted those I consider part of my “tribe” who may also hail from somewhere else in the cosmos. We speak a common language: that of nature and mysticism, music and art, touch and deep spirituality.
I was having a conversation with my friend Ondreah recently and I was riffing off memories from my childhood and then asked if she believed that everything that transpired in our lives was a link in a chain or what I refer to as “the Hansel and Gretel Breadcrumb Trail” that wound inexorably to that moment and that every relationship was a thread woven through our lives. She thought so too. What if every event, those which we would view as painful or pleasurable, was part of the journey? If we could perceive them in that way, what would we fight symbolically or actually, kicking or screaming?
A few years ago, I did a ritual in which I used mala beads and brought to mind people who I treasure — 108 beads comprise the prayer tool, and I was blessed to have gone twice around, when considering each of these sweet souls. I could have gone around at least twice more, recalling their names and faces before me. I consider that one was introduced to me by the one before him or her. I held them in the place in my heart that is sacred and safe.
I then asked her this $64,000 question: If you could know the exact moment and method of your death, would you want to be told? There are times when my answer is yes and others when if it was to be said out loud, I would plug my ears with my fingers and say “la, la, la, la… I can’t hear you.” In the first case, I wonder if it would change the way I live my day to day. Would I be more open and loving? I know I would worry less and take greater stretches and leaps. I would do the things I fear to do. I would tell people how I truly feel and not hold back a syllable and in some cases, would sit in silence with those for whom words are not sufficient to express how I feel about them.
These are some of my most pressing questions that fill my mind in those wee hours in the morning moments when I am alone with my thoughts:
What if I knew that all was well?
What if I was always giving the best of myself to everyone I encountered?
What if I could take leaps of faith and know I could safely land?
What if I made good choices?
What if love really IS the answer to any question?
What if I am enough?
What if I life is out to shower me with blessings?
What if I wasn’t afraid of failure?
What if I wasn’t afraid of success?
What if I could ask for and receive support?
What if I didn’t need to heal, fix, save or cure anyone?
What if I could turn my lessons into “blessons”?
What are your “what if?” questions?
This post was previously published on Huffpost.com.
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