Riding home from the lush, green woods of northern Wisconsin, I settled in for the five-hour drive home. Somewhere between the open fields of wheat and corn, looking out onto old Indian lands, I started to doze off and heard my name.
In my half-sleep half-dreaming state, I looked over at my partner who was driving. It wasn’t his voice. He just looked at me and smiled before getting back to the drive, unaware of what I’d just heard.
I wondered but didn’t say anything.
Again, as I stood on the edge of sleep, my chest rising and falling with deep breaths, I heard it. No, I heard her. It was a woman’s voice.
This time I let myself enter the dream instead of waking up to investigate. I continued to breathe steadily until I felt my body sink further into the dream-space.
Then I was in a quiet café. There were no other patrons around. There was an old Native American woman behind the counter, the owner perhaps. She didn’t seem to be paying any attention to me.
Even as I watched her, I heard the voice again.
But the elder hadn’t moved.
"Are you calling me?” I asked, my voice cracking through the silence of the empty café.
She looked up at me with the widest expanse of wheat fields in her eyes. Without opening her mouth, from somewhere deep in her soul or her mind or her heart, she projected a voice. It was more like a gust of wind.
She said, “Can you finally hear? I’ve been calling you.”
We are often called: to places, to people, to creative projects and spiritual paths. But we don’t always hear the call.
Many things block us from hearing. Fear. Doubt. Overworking. Trying too hard to carve out the way. But the truth is that the way cannot be forced.
The way has to… emerge.
Luckily for us, it always does.
Iris Madelyn is a poet and expressive writing coach teaching people to write for healing and spiritual growth. Her work is forthcoming in the 2017 Life In 10 Minutes print anthology and has been featured in Slippery Elm Literary Journal, Writing & Healing Network, and the Journal of Military Experience & the Arts. Her new Writing To Heal e-course is available at IrisMadelyn.com/writing-to-heal.