Some years ago I was driving with my boss from upstate New York to White Plains, New York to attend a regional meeting of the Alzheimer’s Association. We were representing their South Central New York Chapter where I worked. Being the passenger rather than the driver, I wasn’t really paying attention to which numbered road or highway we were on. It was a lovely day and I was sitting back and enjoying the scenery, having never driven this section of the state before. We were passing by what looked like some woods when all of a sudden my breath caught in my throat, a knot formed in my stomach, and a feeling of longing came over me so strongly that I can only describe it as extreme homesickness. Now remember, I had never been in this section of New York before, yet somehow I knew it as well as I knew the neighborhood where I lived now.
When I arrived back home a few days later, I told my sister about what happened and we consulted a Native American teacher that she was studying with. My sister and I had only recently discovered that my mother, who was adopted and never knew her biological parents, was very likely one of the thousands of Native American children taken from their tribes and adopted out into the white community. The teacher told us that I reacted the way I had because I had been there before in a previous life. She explained that our ancestral genes, our blood memory, if you will, never forgets where we’ve been and what we’ve experienced. She also said that it explained why we will sometimes meet someone for the very first time and instantly feel as if we’ve known them all our lives or, at the very least, have met them somewhere and sometime before. This is where we get the idea of soul mates from.
I took some time and sat in meditation, trying to bring up the image of the parcel of land I had seen from the highway. It looked very much like old woods or a state park of some kind. I imagined myself entering the woods from the road and walking through it. I instinctively knew every path, where the streams were, where the bridges were, and the location of a small cabin. I then went to the library to check out state parks in the White Plains area and, lo and behold, there in pictures that looked remarkably like the pictures in my imagination, was Saxon Woods. I called my mother and asked her if we had ever taken a trip there when I was a small child. She said no, we’d never been anywhere in that area.
Everyone at one time or another has experienced this sort of deja vu, this feeling that we’ve been somewhere before, or that we’ve met someone before, even though we know deep down inside that we haven’t. What if our teacher was right? What if this experience, this feeling, was the result of something that had happened to us in a previous life? And, what if who we were in that previous life was the one who was tapping us on the shoulder and whispering in our ear that we weren’t living our authentic lives now? It’s a fascinating idea! For a long time after that event all those years ago, I would catch myself from time to time looking in the mirror and asking the woman who looked back: “Who are you, really? What do you have to tell me? What do I need to know?”
So, dear friends, this is the idea I am leaving you with this week: “Who were you before you were you?” What insights or subtle shoulder tapping have you experienced in your life? Over on the Home Page, our assignment for this week is part make-believe and part “What If?” As always, have fun with it, and, remember: Whatever you do, keep writing!
Peace and blessings!