Author’s Note

Author’s Note
From: Multiverse: The Secret Diary of an NDE Traveler

“Laugh as much as you breathe and love as long as you live.”

Many doubts surfaced when writing this book. However, this is a gift to my children, my family and my old and new friends, so I pushed through. I do not expect anything in return for writing about my experience, except perhaps a friendly conversation. While the events contained within are factual, I still had continual doubts of writing a book, especially about spirituality. Moreover, writing a book for my children, family and friends could also be misunderstood, especially in light of the controversial content. Yet, this book should be taken on face value. It is a story. The story is both simple and true. Whatever is a take-away from the story is left to the reader. Continue reading “Author’s Note”

Introduction

Introduction
From: Multiverse: The Secret Diary of an NDE Traveler

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.  Mahatma Gandhi

Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.  Nathaniel Hawthorne

I am determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I may find myself. For I have learned that the greater part of our misery or unhappiness is determined not by our circumstance but by our disposition.  Martha Washington

Our greatest happiness does not depend on the condition of life in which chance has placed us, but is always the result of a good conscience, good health, occupation, and freedom in all just pursuits.  Thomas Jefferson

The Navajos, or more correctly the Diné are a great people of knowledge who have lived in North America and in the Southwest for thousands of years. Diné is a culture that deeply honors kinship and spiritual aspects of life. Diné philosophy is about restoring and maintaining balance in life. Continue reading “Introduction”

Chapter 1: The Opening

Chapter 1: Path to Perniciousness
From: Multiverse: The Secret Diary of an NDE Traveler

There is no mystic secret
It is the betrayal of the stars
And the sun that rests over the mountain
Shows only phases of the aging moon

We are barefoot on the path of perniciousness
Uneven footing on rutted brown earth
Sweet whiskey of your soiled lips
Are memories as I lay down on the floor

Last night in the dimly lit bar room
Away from the January noon so long ago
You became unearthly bound
Beyond the stars and stratosphere

 I swear at the lies his injustice
Of drying marrow to the bone
I seek to set fire to this truth
Of infinite lies stretching with smiling stillness

For the seekers. From a reformed doubter. On the strength of memories and nothing more, I recall that I lived as a gatherer. I collect the mystery of life to share with you and others. From the very beginning, I forgot that I have always had memories to share. A strong recollection for this one story now leaves my lips. This story is for you, the traveler. These words will leave a unique taste, not unlike a grain of salt on the tip of your tongue. A careful shaman harvests the essential truths that arise like smoke in the moonlit sky. We each are shaman. Continue reading “Chapter 1: The Opening”

Chapter 2: The Whisper

Chapter 2: The Whisper
From: Multiverse: The Secret Diary of an NDE Traveler

Do you hear my whisper?

What does the wind whisper to you?
Listen to the song of the manzanita tree and the desert holly,
As we step down this trail,
Towards the late afternoon spring.

There is a lifting up, of an accord to heaven,
On this wash of red sandstone and hematite;
A distant drumming, together of our heartbeats,
One pulse as we walk along the mesa’s edge.

I catch a glimpse into your eyes,
As the peering sun squints between feathered clouds;
On canyon walls, I hear a subtle song reflected,
From a past long shared, in a distant foreign land.

The whisper of times spent wrapped together,
In a blanket near the fire, on a brisk winter’s evening;

And of moments that we danced slowly together,

In the soft hush of the spring morn.

You searched for me in rainbows that color the sky,
You watched for me in the thousand winds that blew,
You met me in diamond glints in the snow;
When you thought, I was gone.

Turn my way and know;
That I am here, and have always been,
With you.

Do you hear the whisper?

Day One. There is no shame in being a broken man. Loss fractures time. Shane fractured me. In being shattered, new hope can arise, given time and care. The clouds from yesterday’s storm have now begun to clear. Sunrays bounce off a crisp three-inch layer of fresh powder snow.

I am silhouetted against the bright blue sky. I stand in awe of the great mountain. Moments pulse in this holy place of the Navajo and Hopi. Northern Arizona is a place of crisp winter mornings, painted orange summer sunsets and soft evening autumn breezes. Gentle melodies rise from waves of purple three-awn and tufted green hair-grass. This is a place where spirit roams between the red sandstone and hematite canyon walls. Love nestles in these mountains. Stances of aspen stretch far towards vistas of rusty mesas. Time waves away. Rhythmic tics pace to an unfolding journey of truths.

I headed out along with Pepper, my new companion, in my patched-together robin blue 1982 VW minivan. Flagstaff and the San Francisco Peaks were now in the rearview mirror. I proceeded east on I-40. The elevation dropped from 7,000 feet to 4,000 feet in a matter of several miles. The tall ponderosa pines gave way to their scrubbier cousins, the juniper pine. Fields of juniper yielded to the brown-red sand of the high desert. I headed towards Winslow. Streaks of light pink on pale blue skies were the canvas for distant mesas. The absence of trees allowed wind to pick up strength. Scattered patches of snow lay on the desert floor. These were the remnants of a heavy evening snowfall in Flagstaff. This was my journey. A journey set to honor my friend. My first destination was the Hubbell Trading post with a later jaunt to Canyon de Chelly.

It was a blustery day. I popped a CD of Michael Hedges into the CD player, a guitar player Shane listened to when he painted. Old VW vans lack ample heating. My knuckles froze around the steering wheel. I looked forward to a hot cup of coffee. No stores, houses, or structures around. Barren land stretched out over the horizon.

At Winona, I turned down Indian Road 15. I pulled over to the side and re-checked my map. Back on the road and through Leupp. Then onward to Greasewood. Later, to Burnside, I made a sharp right on US 191. Forward to the Hubbell Trading Post.

My mantra — to honor all speed signs. Even in my old bus, I could exceed the speed limit in places. The Navajo Police are quick to give tickets — a sure revenue for this still deprived and battered nation. Thoughts jittered on worn roads.

I hastily packed and made a plan earlier that day. –take a few photographs, journal a bit, and pay homage to my dear friend Shane. The air-cooled engine of the VW bus provides a soothing steady rumble. Pepper relaxed into the warm reverberation of the engine.

I arrived at Hubbell in early evening. The corner of U.S. Highway 191 and Indian Road 264 is bleak. A large expanse of lonely desert stippled with dried brush. A silhouette of mountains hid far in the distant vista. The gravel crunched under my boots when I stepped from van. Winds gusted. The chill lifted from the land. Pepper kept to my side as I walked towards the trading post. This is where I first met Ajei.

Hubbell is a large structure built of chiseled red sandstone blocks, unevenly cut. Bars on the window kept the uninvited out. Recently painted windowsills and doorjambs were stark white against the jagged red sandstone.  A loud creak of the rusted screen door hinges announced my entrance. I turned the handle on the heavy entry door. It required a shove with my shoulder. I took a few steps on the uneven floor.

An unattended cashier’s station sat near the front door. Brightly colored Navajo rugs with strong angled patterns lined one wall. Bolted against the opposite wall were several standing bookshelves. A counter lined with several rows of jelly jars shoved against a portion of the third wall. Another counter sat slightly off-center in the room. A hand-painted sign was taped on the front of a counter in the middle of the floor, “Cold Drinks – Water – Coffee.”

I walked to the refreshment counter. “I’d like a hot cup of coffee, please.” The Navajo man behind the counter looked to be in his sixties. His black hair was shoulder length and was pulled tight and held by a white scrunchie. His pockmarked face was leathery. His extra weight sagged on his medium frame. Distracted by my request, he focused on cleaning up the coffee service area.

He turned around from the counter, leaving the small clean-up towel on the counter. He grinned, “Straight-up?” He brushed his hands against his jeans.

“Yeah, that’ll do.” I rubbed my hands together. Although it was much warmer inside than in the van from the old wood burning stove burning in the corner, it was still a bit chilly in the room.

I glanced around the room while the man behind the counter was pouring my coffee into a brown paper cup. The old trading post was well-stocked with Native American items. Some for sale, some for display. Several Navajo rugs hung on the walls– bright colors and intricate designs. Other items stacked on counters and hanging from shelves were the typical tourist crap. I turned back in Navajo man’s direction. “What’s your name?”

“Joe” he smiled. “Figures. I’m an Injun” he grinned even wider and handed me the warm cup of coffee.

I winced and wrapped my cold fingers around the hot paper cup. “How do I get a tour when I get to Canyon de Chelly?”

“Ask an Injun when you get there.” He snickered and turned back. He returned to wiping the counter.

A beautiful Navajo woman sat at a table next to the coffee counter. She wore a thin royal blue blanket draped around her shoulders. The blanket matched the blue and white earrings dangling from the lobes of her ears. The earrings softly touched her smooth desert brown skin. Her raven black hair cascaded far down her back, almost to her waist. There were two small feathers tied to her hair by a thin leather strap on one side. She softly smiled at me. I stepped closer to the table. I could feel her gentle presence. I introduced myself.

“Hi, my name is Ajei,” she replied. Her eyes were a gentle deep brown. I felt a great sense of compassion. She spoke softly and with clarity, “We each have a story to share. Our shared stories give purpose to each person on Mother Earth. The Holy People of our ancestors set knowledge and life activities into four cardinal directions.” I leaned in a bit.

“Your story will be like a sand painting of healing in four directions. The sand painting will provide you with four lessons that the winds will lift to the sky. The lessons are shared by the winds. And …” she paused. In a soft whispered voice, “…and these lessons will be told to you in four messages over this week. It will be your heart that knows.”

“Curious,” I thought. I waited for a moment.  I started to say something, but Ajei continued, “My message to you will follow your four lessons. And by year’s end, you will know to lift the four lessons to the wind and share them with the world.” She softened and looked down in her unfolded palms.

I drew back from her. A chill creeped up my back. I paused. Disturbed, I politely tipped my hat, “Thank you. I must be going now.” I swigged the last drop of coffee, crumpled the paper cup and pitched it into the trashcan. I closed the door behind Pepper and me. That is how the four lessons started.

(c) 2018 – 2019, Ron McFarland, All Rights Reserved

Chapter 3: The First Message

Chapter 3: The First Message
From: Multiverse: The Secret Diary of an NDE Traveler

Bending Light

Early light glints over the horizon,
It is the introduction of a new dawn.
The sun swells and the dark is coaxed away.
The long shadows of the night slowly roll up.

The crisp sun slips its fingers under the chilled Ponderosa pines.
The trees, mountains, and open spaces released from the nightly cloak of darkness.
Each day is another face of God.

I am but a soul made of red clay,
The ground is my spirit that I walk on.
My ancestors moved before me on this path.
They now step silently along in my exile to the forest
Clothed in Aspen and Ponderosa pine in the morning light.

Each day now holds my spirit.
The colors of sun paint the early autumn
Bled yellows, reds, and orange unto the canvas before me.
I carefully set each foot onto the path —

A corridor of gentle dancing shapes of light.
Each day aligns to a course for my journey.

The heart of nature I seek,
The soul of your presence, I long for.
It is here that I may find you,
My companion, my lover,
On this side of the escarpment, where solace is found.

Each day is of the bending light.

Day Two. I awoke slowly from another deep dream. Pepper pressed up against my back. Last night after my prompt exit from Hubbell, I headed north toward Canyon de Chelly. The canyon was only a 40-minute ride away from the trading post. I parked about 150 yards on a rutted path off the paved entry to the park. Once parked, I squeezed to the back of the van onto the small waiting mattress. As I sat hunched over, I kicked off my shoes. I unzipped and snuggled into the sleeping bag. I fell asleep quickly. I do not typically sleep hard, but for a second night in a row, I sank like a stone.

The winds of the prior day had quieted to a breeze by midnight. It was a welcomed and lonely silence. That morning, I stared up at the inside roof of the VW. I thought about the dreams of travel that I had over the past few nights. A dream can be a lonesome friend. It can direct you onto a new path. The traces of a dream can stay with you for the rest of your life. On the other hand, uncaptured, it can vanish without call. Dreams can be a great producer or a seductive liar. Dreams can free you or they can bind.

The early morning sun squinted between the shades. A sliver of pink light peered on the horizon. I could see my breath when I exhaled, but it seemed much warmer than the day prior. I snuggled deep into the warm sleeping bag. Another 20 minutes would be a perfect amount to coast. I closed my eyes.

A voice softly spoke. I startled. “Listen for the quiet whisper of the song or songs of the mountains. You will see it in the four directions. You will feel it in your weary bones in the small hours. This will be your first message.” I pulled the sleeping bag down from my face. I looked around and saw nothing out of the norm. Was someone talking outside? I rolled in my sleeping bag to one side and peered out the louvered blinds. Nothing. I rolled to the other side and pulled into a half-seated position to lift the shade. I saw the edge of the road leading away from where I parked. I rolled on my back. “God… I must be losing my friggin’ mind.”

The voice continued. I froze, stunned. The voice seemed to originate from inside the van as if someone was hovering over me. “I offer a glimpse into the holy lands.” The voice was paced and oddly familiar. It continued, “This quiet path unfolds each and every day, yet mostly goes unnoticed. Some do not even know of its existence. In each morning, pay attention to the lesson of the dawn. The white light will bring you clarity of decisions and the creativity for you to own each day.”

“Who is that?” Concerned. Was I losing it? I waited for an answer.

The voice continued. It was paced, soft, and clear. “Please take note.”

I thought of Ajei and her message from the day before. I did not want to miss the message. I pulled my journal and pen from my backpack and waited. The voice continued, “Lesson one is to focus on purity of your heart and mind in the feminine white light of the East, where the sun rises. In the break of dawn, take particular care for your creativity to flourish. Make excellent decisions, moment by moment, through the creativity of life. The light of the dawn is that which gives direction to your life. Seek happiness in the direction of your life.”

I laid back and read the transcribed message aloud, “Focus on purity of your heart and mind in the feminine white light of the East, where the sun rises. In the break of dawn, take particular care for your creativity to flourish. Make excellent decisions, moment by moment, through the creativity of life. The light of the dawn is that which gives direction to your life. Seek happiness in the direction of your life.”

I waited for a moment. Was there another message? Another sentence? A noise? However, nothing happened. Silence. Just the breathing of a resting dog. I waited. The, I laid back against my pillow and placed the journal on my chest. Was that Ajei’s voice? Was this the first lesson of the four from Ajei? Will I hear another lesson soon? What does this lesson mean? I shifted in my sleeping bag. I was mostly confident that it was not a hallucination. I was clear-headed.

“Okay.” I finally said aloud. “This is weird.” There were no additional sounds that morning. A breeze began to whip up again outside.

That day, I headed into Canyon de Chelly. I thought about the lesson that I received. It became my mantra for the day and through the evening. I headed to my van. Day Two slowly closed in splendid silence. My ashram is the solitary whisper of the gentle breeze and the starkness of this terrain. My heart, a large red and orange splash painted the sky and welcomed the arriving darkness. I said a prayer of thanks for the quiet of the evening and the upcoming early morning sun.

(c) 2018 – 2019, Ron McFarland, All rights reserved.