Amelia continued packing her backpack. She checked her list to make sure she was not missing anything. She had looked online and printed out a map of the Appalachian Trail. From the parking ground to the Sage’s home, deep in the woods, was exactly 111 miles. It could take her 3 days to get there. She had her tent, extra clothes, and toiletries. She also had another sack of fresh grains and vegetables as per others who had visited the Sage. The Peruvian Shaman did not accept money. People who came to see him donated their time, food, or materials.
Morning came with the awareness that her mid-age-overweight body might not make it through the hike. Her body was stricken by arthritis but she moved through it and made sure to pack some Advil. She wanted answers to why she continued to lose so much. Once again, another business and relationship had taken her livelihood. Amelia believed the Sage would have the right answers. She knew he would enlighten her with awareness and bestow on her the gift of spiritual acceptance. She ate breakfast and headed the 55 miles to the parking ground below the mountains on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
She parked her blue Honda and trekked up the trail. With map in hand, she was excited to find the mystical wisdom from someone who was connected to Source. She was too closed to her situation and she couldn’t find the why’s and how’s. After several hours, her lungs felt like they were being poked with knives, Amelia stopped to snack and get water from a stream. She was exhausted. How was she to make this journey in 3 days? It was going to be impossible. By her calculations she hadn’t traveled 8 miles.
After an hour of meditation she had the strength to continue. Amelia moved past the pain and discomfort. That night she rested well, in pure exhaustion. She bathed under a waterfall. She ate lightly and sufficiently. The next morning her aches paralyzed her. She thought maybe it was time to just give up. She could camp there for another day and then head back home. But, her tenacity moved her with passion. She wanted answers. She was determined to see the Sage. She had a list of questions for him. She wanted to understand why she walked away from everything, again. She wanted to find out if she would ever repeat such challenges.
It took her four and a half days to reach the top of the mountain. There was no house or shack. There was a hut that blended with the forest. Had it not been for the smoke coming from it she might have overlooked it. She dumped her belongings in front of the doorway. She spoke softly, “Hello? Is anyone here?”
A little dark man with black hair and small black eyes stepped into her sight. He motioned her to come sit on the cushions in the middle of the hut. There was very little in this space. For a second she judged how anyone could live like this. Through her own resistance she began to talk.
“Oh, thank you. My name is Amelia. I have traveled a long distance to see you.” She began to pull out her list from her jacket. The Sage stopped her gesture. He motioned her to put down the list.
He spoke in broken English. His accent was thick, choppy, and Amelia explained that she also spoke Spanish. He sat on the cushion in front of her and said nothing else.
“Okay, well, I have recently lost my business to my husband…not to death…to betrayal…to alcoholism…(She took a deep breath and tears began to fall)… I handed everything to him. This is the second time in my life I walk away from everything. I have lost more than money. I have lost my trust. I have lost my will. I have lost my faith. I have lost my mind. I have lost…” The Sage put his hand up to stop the excessive chatter.
He grabbed her left hand and looked at her palm lines. Her hands were dirty and she began to talk about how they got that way, when the Sage once again motioned her to stop.
They sat there for a long while. She could hear the wind moving the trees outside. She could hear a stream passing nearby. She could hear her own breath and heart. Her chest was pounding up to her ears. She could feel the heat rising from her anger at being shut down. She felt the sting of rejection, the knife of betrayal, and the lost of herself.
She broke the silence again, “I have questions.” He motioned for silence.
After a few minutes he said, “Life.”
Amelia, confused, asked, “Excuse me, what about life?” He motioned her to stay quiet.
A short while later he looked into her eyes, while still holding her hand, “Let go.”
She asked again, “Let go of what exactly? I’ve let go of everything. I have lost everything. I don’t even know where to begin again….” Once again, he looked into her hazel eyes and held a hand up.
He then said, “Laugh.”
She looked at him puzzled and took her hand back. She was completely confused by these words. This man is known to give answers from the Universe to heal and get past traumas. All she got was Life, let go, and laugh. Was this a joke? Was this a Hallmark card? Seriously! Her anger rose and she felt the heat move her body into an inexplicable release. But she contained it. She was good at keeping things tightly inside.
The Sage got up and stood in front of her. He motioned a sign on her forehead. He stepped to the back of the hut and got a small sealed pouch. He said, “Keep it on you. It will give you answers.” Then he motioned her to exit.
“I’m sorry, I am a bit confused, are you sending me away? Is this all? I want answers or advice or suggestions on how to get past this hurt….” He held his hand up one last time.
“You have the answers. Life. Let go. Laugh.”
Amelia was livid. She stepped out into the wilderness again and said, “Geez, thanks for the almighty wisdom. I might have to let go of it all. She began to cry in frustration and then she giggled with deep exasperation.”
The Sage smiled and said, “There you go. You have already started to heal.”
Sometimes it’s the journey that heals us. Sometimes in its excruciating path we find the answers. You are your wisest sage. You are the mystical being. You are the One. You don’t have to go looking for answers outside in the world. They come through the experiences of Life. They arrive through Letting Go. And, they heal through Laughter. A wise man once said nothing. That’s all he had to offer.
~ Millie Parmer ~