It is the unseen possibility that turns a journey into an adventure.
Whether we believe in a world of fate or a world of free will, we are living in a world of possibilities. It makes no different whether our future is preordained or happens by chance we still have no idea what life has waiting just around the corner. We can’t plan corners only straight paths. Yet sometimes, what we did today lies in wait while something new, something completely unexpected jumps out at us from a hidden space.
Life in the Bronx had settled into consistency. My neighborhood was safe thanks to my mother’s personality. I had friends I had known all of my life. I knew what to expect, the good and the bad. My grandmother came over every Friday and stayed until Sunday. I made it through the week from weekend to weekend. All of my friends were born around the same time and for seven years we grew together. Friendship was not chosen we were born into it. Even though I was not white it did not matter from what I saw in my very small world. My father was not around much so his presence was a cause for celebration, not fighting. For me, life had settled into being as good as it gets.
Along comes the Throgs Neck Bridge!! The State decided to build a bridge and the toll booth would be directly across the street from my house. Everyone I knew had to move – my neighborhood was to be destroyed. For the first of many times, life came out of my blind spot. When I was told that we were moving I felt my insides turn to ice, I could not breathe. I would lose everything I knew. My father wanted to move to Connecticut, but my mother wanted to move to New Jersey and buy a house with my grandmother. She won.
I moved to Orange, NJ. It was a beautiful large house with thirteen rooms. When we arrived the house smelled so wonderful and new. There were shiny new wood floors and a big back yard. My room was so light and airy with a big beautiful canopy bed. Best of all, my grandmother was right upstairs on the third floor. My little sister and I went outside and walked around the block. The children did not come up to us, they just looked at us, as if we were aliens. My mother and grandmother were the only ones seen when the house was purchased, no one was prepared for the little black entourage that would come in after them. We were not welcome.
This bridge erased my life. My father only came home on weekends because the commute was too much. I think that the idea of sharing a house with my grandmother was made the commute even more unbearable. We now lived in a neighborhood where we were not welcome. There were forty children in my neighborhood, none of whom could play with us. There were a few Black families in the neighborhood, but they were tolerated. I was different I was a mixed breed. I was called Zebra, oreo cookie and nigger; parents threw rocks at me. I retreated within myself. Everything pointed to my being defective.
I found ways to cope; I drew an imaginary world of happy people and happy families. Slowly a few children began to come over and play. Before the first summer, my parents felt so sorry for my sister and I that they put in a swimming pool, the only one in the neighborhood except for Dionne Warwick who lived quite a distance from us. Suddenly, most of the children began to come over; their parents gave in so that they could swim during the long hot summer. I learned that prejudice is not a condition it is an obstacle.
Life is unexpected, things jump out at us from the Universe, like bridges that change our lives. We cannot plan for them, we cannot prepare for all of the possibilities. All that we can do is seek the purpose of the new path that we have been placed upon. My life has not been built upon a well thought out plan, but upon a series of unexpected turns, roadblocks, and detours. It has been built on possibilities, those bugaboos that jump out at you from behind the bushes and around the corners that we cannot see.
At no moment have we been misguided, nowhere have mistakes been made, and nothing has ever caused us to be anywhere but where we were destined to be when we were destined to be there. The opportunity is ours to embrace each moment, each day with all of its possibilities. We need to believe that although now is forever, it is a container that holds ever changing ever evolving contents. In as little as five minutes, an entire road may be closed and a totally uncharted one opened. Good, bad, or just plain boring, this is still now and the possibilities are still endless. We may be at a point where we have stopped for a while but we are never at the end. We are always on the road to success.
If we are walking down the street and a wall appears to obstruct our paths, it would not benefit us to stand there and yell at it for appearing. It would only cause unnecessary pain to throw our bodies against it. We need to let go and welcome the visit from God and check to see what His new plan is for us.
Life is experience and symbolism at the same time. Each experience represents something which is a part of our growth. The lessons never change, only the classrooms. A new man or woman enters our lives different face, different body and different voice, yet in a short time we find, much to our amazement that we are in the same relationship that we have been in time and time before. Astrologically nothing in life happens that is not promised within our birth. Our lives are either their fulfillment; or our charts are the images of our journey through symbols. We should take this even further to the understanding that when we come into each incarnationwe come with a vehicle. This vehicle is equipped with all that we need to travel and prosper on our journey. All of our possibilities are built in.
If we spend the time seeing the lessons, seeing the things that happen and the people that enter our lives we will find that there are patterns. The archetypal hero has many different challenges to overcome, many labors to endure. By looking within, by examining the lives that we have lived we will see our hero’s journey. One of my lessons is to be like the Buddhic monks who spend hours upon hours creating the most beautiful works of art in sand, only to have them blown away. The lesson of non-attachment has pervaded my life since the day that I was born. I also know that I must work hard for anything that I want and hard work will not guarantee my reward. I have to do for the sake of doing. These are patterns – my patterns. This is a part of the plan of my life. I also know that my life brings me constantly to the edge. If I am to be saved it will be at the 11th hour and so close to the end that only a fool would count on being saved. This too is a pattern. Understanding the patterns in our lives brings us closer to understanding the lessons and therefore reaping the rewards in learning them.
We are born into a family with its beliefs and its accepted boundaries. As we seek our place within that family we utilize those aspects of ourselves that make our fitting in easier. Those aspects of ourselves that do not fit, we put away out of sight, even from ourselves. Each of those aspects is an untapped resource that we have. It is just awaiting the arena to unfold. It is part of a possibility that has not yet become apparent. To expose those hidden parts of ourselves would not permit us to fit within our family structure. Those aspects of ourselves and of our paths that we hide from the light surface as dreams, wishes, longings and even doubts. They wait to be awakened by the Universe to fulfill their place in our life plan. The road ahead may seem clear, or paved with obstacles, but that is only its appearance, behind the corners, lie a million possibilities that we cannot even imagine. Tomorrow may be just another day, or the day that changes our entire lives. We cannot see all of the possibilities that are around us. Yet they are the things that life is made up of. They are the building blocks of our moments.
When things go well we don’t care about possibilities, and they go wrong we don’t believe in them. Yet the possibilities are all around us, remaining unaffected by our beliefs. They guide our lives. No matter how carefully we plan the future; it is possibilities that create it.
The journey of man from cave dweller to space traveler is a journey built on those possibilities. They fuel the adventure. It is not what we expect but what we do not expect that puts the life into living.
1979 was a very bad year for me. It was a year of seeing reality as I had never seen it before. I saw my place in the picture, and the responsibility that I had for being in that place. From where I sat I was living up to my mother’s expectations of failure. My life was not moving forward as were the lives of my friends. My daughter was six years old and I was not prepared for the responsibility. My ex-husband was fighting me over child support and in order to make my suffering greater he was refusing to see our child. I felt alone. Then one day, my boss went through my desk drawer and I felt so invaded that I quit. Honestly, I did not even know that I was going to do it until the words left my lips. Once done, I could not take it back although my boss gave me the opportunity.
I felt as though there were a brick wall in front of my life. I was not equipped to do the things that I needed to do for my daughter. I realized that I was not prepared to be the adult I was supposed to be. I was not prepared to be the mother and provider I was supposed to be. I felt so small and lost. Despair filled me, at 28 I had no options, no doors seemed open to me and a child depended on me for everything. I felt as though I were in quick sand I could neither pull myself out nor stop myself from sinking deeper.
My Grandmother pushed me to go and find a job, another any job. Feeling so frustrated that I had to punish myself; I went out on my birthday to make a fruitless attempt at getting a job fully prepared to come home having found nothing and prove once again my worthlessness. I walked by a Temp Agency and decided to walk in. After I filled out my application and failed the typing test the phone rang. An office in the building needed someone immediately, they needed a body and my poor typing skills were outweighed by their desperation. I had any job. This job changed my entire life. It led to my own business. This temp job allowed me to give my daughter everything that I wanted and to feel that I was not a failure. It was a twist in the road. Not visible from where I stood, a possibility that changed my life. This is how our possibilities I walked into a temporary agency looking for some work for a week or two and my entire life changed. Walking into that door brought me to a road that took me from rags to riches. This is how our possibilities work.”
My niece was a college professor in Iowa. The only person that she was comfortable relating to was her ex-husband. Although divorced, circumstances caused them to maintain their relationship. This environment, in which they both felt very out of place, left them dependent upon each other. She believed that this need for companionship was love. They had nothing in common; she had every reason to divorce him when she did. He finally met someone else and left her in a very deceitful manner, but because she was alone and feeling that there were no options left for happiness she wanted to get him back. Regardless of how I tried to remind her that he was not good for her, she just wanted him.
As the reality of a long summer alone in Iowa approached, she decided to do something that would take her to an environment where she did not feel his presence on every street. She decided to choose between spending a summer in Miami with me or going to Paris and learn French. I convinced her that summer in Florida was not a vacation, and Paris held such rich possibilities. So she applied for a grant and all of the pieces fell into place for her to leave for Paris. For the first few weeks her depression was upstaged by the beauty and excitement of Paris. But after a few weeks the pain returned. She began to feel the hopelessness of believing that her life would remain empty, and she would be a lonely old maid. Everywhere she looked she saw couples laughing, holding hands and filling themselves with the aura of romance that was the city. She became more and more resigned to a life that frankly, for her would not be worth living.
One night an old friend insisted that she come to a party he and his wife were giving. Although she was convinced that it would be another night of watching happy couples sharing what she would never again have, out of a sense of obligation and resignation, she accepted. Suddenly, she had a movie moment; a man appeared in front of her who was everything that she had ever dreamed the perfect man to be. The rest of the people in the room faded into the background and the two came together. It was love at first sight. Within six months she was married and living in Paris. It was a story that she herself would have never believed possible only a month before. She saw no way for anything in her life to change – but change it did. We do not see the steps that pave our destiny, we don’t plan them, we don’t work our plan – God’s plan works us.
Sometimes everything just seems lost, and sometimes we just get tired of looking. Perhaps we just need to rest; or we need to clear our eyes so that we may see what is coming. Whether it is a talent we didn’t know that we had, or an opportunity that we never thought we could have had; anything is possible at any time.
This means that however hopeless things seem, we should never give up and no matter how good things are we should never get too comfortable. All that we can do is enjoy the ride.