I write this on my way home from Roanoke, Virginia where I attended my very close friend's grad school graduation. Roanoke is a beautiful place with its rolling mountains covered in misty clouds. It was the first time I've been in a mountain range in quite awhile. Mountains are very healing for me.
One of the places my friend took me was an overpass that's well-known in the town. It's called simply "The Star" because of the bright neon star sign that can be seen by the whole town. You could not see the star last night though because of the incredibly intense fog that blanketed the area for an entire day. In fact, we couldn't see this massive glowing structure until we were right underneath it. My friend pointed to the overpass before us where all you could see was a dark wall of fog. Usually, she says, you can look out and see for many miles that stretch onward to the horizon. But not that night. That night we stared out at the inky blackness, swirling with grey mist.
We walked down a trail from the overpass that was so dark and fog-dense, I had to hold my phone towards our feet so we could see the path before us. The winding trail made me feel like we were walking through space, with spiraling galaxies of clouds making up some of the only textures we could see. We had to walk slowly and gently, mindful of every step but taking care to appreciate the scenery around us. The wind whistled through the trees with the occasional drop of water landing on our faces from the condensation on their leaves. It was so quiet, so still. "We're between the worlds right now", I thought curiously.
Walking back up the trail I knew we were close to "the star" because the fog became brighter, although you still couldn't see it's shape until it was right in front of us.
This little experience made me think of a few things. First of all, it reminded me of the curious nature of the soul and the importance of alignment and connection with the Divine Self. The Star is like that Divine Self, sometimes obscured in a dense mist until we seek it out and present ourselves fully right in front of it. As we make our way through the winding trails of our beings, sometimes pitch-dark, we must trust that every step is important in the process regardless of how much we can see before us. Do you know what your "star", your divine nature looks like?
On the other hand, it's also helpful to explore those parts of ourselves that may not feel so shining and divine. We walk the dark fog-dense path of the mysteries because some things just aren't visible until you put yourself right before it. But when we remember that star, that divine nature, we know that there's always a beacon guiding us back. The more you walk through the mist the more visibility is gained along the way. This paradox of the foggy night, the dark and bright complexities of the soul, are among the most fascinating of mysteries to me. They remind me of how important it is to walk with purpose, with desire, and with connection to our "star."
We are both the fog-dense darkness and the shining star. That's the beauty of this human experience. We get to be all of these things at once; the dread of night and the joyous awe of the brilliant dawn. Aren't we lucky?