Guidance in the Periphery: Just Right for Right Now

It was bone-chillingly cold-colder still because I had not eaten in three days. I was alone in the desert night somewhere in the expanse between midnight and dawn. What had led me here? A quest for satisfying work–for what was big enough for all of me.

We all have times when we yearn for more fulfillment and the most satisfying life possible. If it is about our career, our reasons for staying put–the income, the stability, our retirement plans, having that high-profile position with a corner office (or being next in line for one), the cost of the children’s education or whatever is on our list–are no longer enough.

These questions were exactly how I found myself on a Vision Quest–a rite of passage associated with Native American Indians and other aboriginal cultures. In the intimacy of the Death Valley desert, I heard the gentle creek of the creosote bushes, saw an image of the trickster Kokopelli in the play of moonlight, and learned never to use a strawberry-scented shampoo unless I wanted night moths tussling in my hair while I, meanwhile, attempted to sleep.

So, two days of my solo had passed. I slowed from the lack of food. Body and mind dropping into a quiet place. This third day, I created a large circle, a medicine wheel, demarcated with large rocks. Before we had left on our solos, we were told it was of utmost importance to stay awake throughout that final night and to remain within our wheel–symbolic of staying with our life. I took this admonition seriously. An afterthought, I picked up handfuls of small, white rocks, sprinkling them on the edges.

Two unexpected things helped me that night.

When I couldn’t see the big rocks, my peripheral vision revealed the small white ones marking the circle. When I was just too tired to stay awake anymore, the cold kept me from sleeping. I stayed awake, within my wheel. I affirmed I was staying with my life. The help I got was in such unexpected ways and just right, just enough, for right now.

I came to know that this type of help always sits softly in the periphery. It’s invisible however, in the obviousness of the intent, direct gaze. When I soften and expand my focus, what’s revealed in the periphery is trusted and trustworthy. What’s there will be just right, and just enough for right now…

Soften your gaze. See what’s in the periphery that’s incremental, unexpected and welcome. It’s there, I promise.

U.S. Library of Congress ISSN 2164-7240

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