No Peeking Allowed
Janey's sixth birthday. We skipped school. We did not brush our hair. We ate chocolate pudding with our fingers for breakfast and lunch. We dangled our feet in the air off Santa Monica Pier and had a dance party on the beach. Turning six was great fun for both of us.
In the afternoon we rolled down all the windows in the car and drove North on the Coast Highway into Pacific Palisades, turned right on Sunset Boulevard and headed about a mile up the road to the Lake Shrine Temple. Janey wanted to play “Our Game.”
She was “It.”
I was … well, essentially, I didn’t have a title.
She closed her eyes. “No peeking allowed,” I’d say. “Mommmmm,” she’d say; as if that was even an option.
I’d turn her around, this way and that, then hold her hand and silently lead her around the Lake. She’d tell me where we were on the path by what she sensed around and within her.
"Momma, we're near the roses," she’d say as we approached the entrance to the Windmill Chapel.
"We're on the grass by the outdoor temple where Julie and I play hide-and-seek."
"We're standing next to the waterfall."
We walked in silence as I searched for a port of call that would stretch her command of Our Game. Rows of thick black eyelashes buttoned up her baby blues to her every next step. She moved forward in absolute trust. In me. In the Universe. In not-knowing.
In all the sixes of years that have come and gone since that day, on all the paths I’ve tread since we played Our Game, there have been times when I was not at all sure where I was headed, and called up that day from memory, dusted off that story, and told it to myself over and over again. In The Great Economy of God, it is a lived experience that has had a rich life.
Now, in this dearth of assurance about many of the things we previously hung our hats on, when our confidence in the system, in our job security and healthcare system, in the “unmasked” among us, and in our own tired selves grows fragile, I share this story with you to use as you see fit.
Find a story of trust in the Unseen in your own memory and call it up when you feel the need. “Re-membering” a positive experience—reconstituting a complex structure, in this case, a memory--is a technique pioneered by Dr. Rick Hansen that can help you create positive connections in your brain. Have this experience, Enrich it—really feel it—Absorb it, then Link it to other positive experiences. (Getting Started, Rick Hansen, Ph.D.) Or take a little girl who believes in The Magic on a trust walk. It’s a gift that can last a lifetime.
Margaret Wolff is a writer, storyteller, art therapist, and retreat leader. Her work celebrates the ways in which the collective wisdom and storytelling reveal the truth and beauty of our inner lives and connect us—heart to beating heart—to each other.
COMING HOME: Finding Shelter in the Love and Wisdom of Paramahansa Yogananda (White Pearl Press, May 20201), is a curated collection of 14 modern-day stories of spiritual awakening that reflect “the most creative and transformative experience life can offer—developing an intimate partnership with the invisible God of one’s heart.”
Available wherever fine books are sold.